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You Must Have an Executive-Level Champion

A champion is someone who not only believes we can do this, but believes we must do this and is willing to drive the effort to completion. Our champion, Vice Presi­dent David Wilson, saw this as not a new system need, but something we had to do to stay competitive. This driving force pushing for enabling us to better function on a worldwide basis as a single entity kept everyone on track and focused on completion.

People Make the System Work, Not Vice Versa


One of the key reasons this implementation worked was the fact that every stakeholder up to the cham­pion level was involved and supported this initiative. Frequent communication and update sessions were held on a global basis, especially frequent in the final months before cutover. Teams met regularly to pro­vide status updates and cross-pollinate ideas. This helped to highlight to the masses that management wanted this to happen.

There Must Be Heavy Emphasis on Business Process over System Functionality


The system is only a tool and you cannot allow it to overtake your fundamental business processes. First, decide what you want to do, and then find a system that best matches what you want to do. In some areas we found the tool of choice did not or could not do what we wanted, and we had to use third-party solutions or rewrite business processes to work around the issues.

Make Sure the Solution Works before You Implement


Testing, rehearsals, and "day in the life" activities are critical to ensure not only that the system works with regard to functionality, but that it can handle the vol­ume of activity on a day-to-day basis. Several rehearsals, sign-on days, and "day in the life" simulations uncov­ered many system performance issues as well as func­tionality and data issues.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate


Not enough can be said about communicating what the project is about, why it needs to be done, what the progress is, and when things will change. This commu­nication needs to happen not only between team mem­bers, but to the user community as well. Regular and timely communication updates to the masses are key to keeping implementation activities in front of everyone's mind and aids in cooperation, which enhances the suc­cess of your implementation.



All things considered, what made this seemingly impossible implementation successful was the combined teamwork between both the business and CIO. Without their com­bined expertise working together, a project of this magni­tude would have never come to completion. Additionally, directly involving future users in the process by utilizing ETMs helped bring the whole project closer to home with the user community as well as allow them direct feedback in the implementation process. The result of these combined efforts was a cutover day that was rather uneventful.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4  

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