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Running Critical Enterprise Applications Efforts During COVID-19

An enterprise application selection or implementation has most likely been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Do not hit the brakes; stopping and restarting projects increases the risk of failure. Slow down or speed up? Which is the right strategy for your organization?

Every organization is trying to adjust to impact of COVID-19. Like many others, your first thought will be to pause all projects until everyone returns to work. Pausing is the right approach for projects that require physical presence such as infrastructure changes and perhaps for low risk, low-value projects, but it is not the right approach for strategic projects such as ERP implementations.

Strategic projects are not like a Netflix film that can be paused and picked up where you left off. Strategic projects are more like a binge-worthy Netflix series. Each day, week, and month of delay results in the loss of knowledge, and if you wait too long it will be like restarting from the beginning. Also take into consideration the vendor you have engaged. There is no guarantee that the vendor’s resources will be available when you want to restart your project. Furthermore, your competitors may be (re)starting at the same time, putting pressure on consultant availability and potentially increasing your costs.

If you decide to slow down the implementation, here are several ways in which to keep the team engaged, particularly if key decision makers are not available:

  • Focus on tasks such as the preparation of training materials and other documentation.
  • Implement critical enterprise applications using best-practice workflows. When the key stakeholders are once again available, the workflows can be demonstrated and tailored to the needs of the organization.
  • In general, review your project plan or requirements list for items that will move the project forward without the need for key stakeholders and will cause little rework when the stakeholders re-engage.

Our recommendation is to get a jump on your competitors by retaining your staff and assigning them to accelerate your project. One of the challenges of a strategic system is that your key stakeholders are forced to balance needs of the project with their “day” jobs. When the business is slow, the stakeholders can apply all their attention to the project, allowing you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time and saving you time and money. When business starts to resume, you will be ramping up using the latest technology and a sole focus on building the business. Your competitors will be stuck on older systems or dividing their attention between rebuilding and restarting their implementation project. Either way you win.

Source: SoftwareReviews Enterprise Resource Planning, Report Published April 2019

Our Take

Don’t put your business or critical enterprise applications efforts at risk by putting your strategic projects on hold. If your key stakeholders are being reassigned to meet the emergency, then find ways to continue the project at a slower pace. However, if you are facing laying off staff, repurpose them to accelerate your implementation and get out in front of your competitors.

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