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“Family Vacations and ERP” by Denis Torii

by Debbie Wilson  |  November 1, 2019  |  Comments Off on “Family Vacations and ERP” by Denis Torii

Guess I should have learned with National Lampoon’s Vacation (the old movie from 1983 with Chevy Chase). Family vacations can be hectic. A couple of weeks ago, I took some family time, going around California to visit Disneyland and some other places. While I have many good memories of those days (“vacation time can never be bad, even when things go wrong” – that’s my motto), we certainly went through some unexpected happenings.

To list a few:

Unplanned changes – while I had planned what to do in each day of the trip, a couple of unforeseen circumstances made us adjust many things on the fly.

Budget Overrun – no need to explain that. Shopping anyone?

Missed Expectations – one thing I learned was that booking hotels through third-parties not always gets you the room you were looking for, even if you paid for it upfront. And it makes it worse when this is the hotel you were waiting to close the trip on high style.

OK, I won’t say our trip was even close to the mishaps (funny though) from the movie. But when you plan it with such anticipation (I think we started looking at it at least 6 months ahead of it), you’d expect that these things were put into a minimal level.

But when I start thinking about the phone calls we have with many Gartner customers, I can see the resemblance between ERP initiatives and my crazy vacation time. While I don’t want to say that ERP deployments are as fun as vacation time, it surely can be fun. And as most of us know from the past, things can be hard around those things called “ERP Projects”.

Project issues exist since the early ages of IT projects, but there seems to be no shortage of common pitfalls that enterprises still fall into when dealing with ERP initiatives. Unplanned changes can be a result of deficient planning, but also a result of the proper alignment of expectations between IT and the business. Those usually lead into budget overruns, as teams take more time than expected to align scope, goals and resource needs that could have been planned for before starting the engagement. And of course, all that leads into missed expectations, as in most cases, which in terms of enterprise benefits realization is so frustrating to all in the company.

So, where does it all start? How do you avoid the risk of those things happening (this is me recognizing that thing will go wrong eventually…)? Where does it make sense to focus prep effort?

It all starts with changing the mindset – don’t try to find the easy way around it:

  • Work along with the Business Stakeholders to understand what your business goals are and match those against your current ERP applications plans. I’m not going to repeat the benefits of having an ERP strategy, but yes, it’s one of the best ways of starting that alignment. Don’t believe in “IT knows it better”.
  • Don’t be afraid to say your enterprise is not ready – the worst situation is to think that people will get ready as the pressure to deploy the project that just started comes. Preparation is far from easy but dealing with a wrongful project can be even harder to manage – sometimes, when that happens, the only solution is to take two steps back and restart it. Bad idea. Assess readiness and don’t take a simple “we’re ready for ready for it” as an answer.

So, for my next vacations, I’m pretty sure I’ll use some of those lessons learned to enhance my vacation plans. What about you? Do you have your lessons learned from previous ERP implementations? Are you planning to apply those and change the outcomes (or lack of) now? Give us a call if you need help…

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Category: applications  erp  

Deborah R Wilson
Managing Vice President, ERP Strategy Team
12 years at Gartner
20 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a recovering Gartner research analyst, leads the Gartner ERP strategy research team. Read Full Bio




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