IT versus the business: Why leadership of your cloud ERP project matters

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Have you ever noticed that at the end of any race,  say the Indianapolis 500 or the Daytona 500, the person receiving the winner’s trophy, spraying champagne, and having his picture taken with the models is not a member of the pit crew?

And what does this have to do with ERP industry trends?

Picture a race car team as an interesting analogy to an enterprise ERP implementation team. Here are a few of the elements as I see them:

  • The race car is the business
  • The driver is the business leadership
  • The pit crew are your IT team
  • The crew chief is the IT leader
  • The driver winning the race or, at a minimum, finishing the race in a competitive position without crashing or suffering damage is the successful launch and operation of the ERP system.

Now imagine the pit crew and chief preparing a car for the race without consideration of or feedback from the driver. Can the driver reach the pedals and the steering wheel? How’s the view out the front of the car? Are the mirrors angled properly to see what’s behind you? Are there gauges, and are they accurate and comprehensible? Does the driver understand what the switches and buttons do?

Imagine a race car setup that doesn’t plan for any of these requirements and you get an idea of how well ERP projects turn out when they are run by IT departments that do not collaborate with the business.

See also: A hidden cost of cloud ERP: Changing project risk

Who owns ERP?

Sometimes industry trends develop slowly over a long time and are not immediately apparent. But then they hit you all at once. What jumped out at me recently is the  long evolving change in “ownership” of ERP selection and implementation projects.