This post gives a handy A-F framework to remember when planning or starting an international Oracle JD Edwards deployment project.
While global ERP deployments are similar to other large-scale IT projects, the international dimension adds an additional layer of complexity and risk. It can be hard to foresee local compliance or regulation issues without existing knowledge, and cultural differences can sometimes be an obstacle.
Successful international deployments require an experienced team to deal with the challenges that are unique to global ERP rollout projects.
This post gives a brief overview of some key challenges for teams to be aware of and a handy A-F framework to remember when planning or starting an international JD Edwards project. If you’d like to discuss any of the content in this article, please feel free to contact our team.
A is for Access
Give your key end-users the opportunity to contribute during the design phase. Allowing all stakeholders plenty of access will help in defining common processes, local differences and will facilitate buy-in.
B is for Boundaries
While it is important to gather as much input as possible when starting a rollout project, eventually the project leaders will have to make clear decisions on what the priorities are.
Project managers need to balance the needs of departments, Business Units and countries. Not only does this make requirement gathering more complex than on domestic ERP projects, but potentially makes it more political.
Given the range of stakeholders usually involved in international rollouts, strong governance and very clear processes on how to manage change requests are even more important than in domestic ERP projects.
C is for Change Management
This is not just an IT project. Remember when changing any operational system you are changing peoples’ job roles. Change can be frightening! When people are pushed out of their comfort zone, there is a risk that they will strongly resist the new system. Organizational Change Management is therefore not a nice to have, it is essential to project success.
According to a Panorama Consulting Report, organizational change management issues were identified as the #1 reason for implementation success or failure.
D is for Diversification
One of the most challenging aspects of international ERP rollouts is finding the balance between the benefits of economies of scale, and maintaining local responsiveness. To address this issue, a flexible configuration of the main model (company template) is required.
There are usually differences at country level for Legal Reporting, Tax Legislation and Bank Payments, so key users need to be involved in defining country specific needs. Local needs need to be considered when defining the company template and when deciding on the level of flexibility and freedom granted to local Business Units.
The goal is to achieve consolidation at a corporate level while still providing the necessary details at country level. For example, common charts of accounts can be defined to a certain level of detail while at the same time allowing local countries to define their specific accounts at lower level in the chart of accounts.
E is for Experts
International ERP projects bring a unique set of challenges so just relying on ERP implementation experience alone may not be enough. The right team is one which has strong technical skills, industry knowledge, international experience and understands how to manage cultural differences.
Companies will often look to partners who specialise in international ERP projects to bring in specific skills and knowledge which may not be available in–house.
F is for Focus
ERP rollouts take time. Changes are common, both internally and externally. To address this, organizations are advised to spend time defining a very clear project scope. This should be translated into clear goals, milestones and deliverables.
Although it might be desirable to change the scope along the way due to new insights, this is something management should be careful of. Changing the scope might not only be costly in terms of resources, but might also have a negative impact on the motivation of the project team. Focus and strong governance are essential to respecting timelines and budgets, and ensuring a positive project dynamic.