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Topics: Change Management, Innovation, Lessons Learned
Implementation of new ERP in higher education industry
Does anyone have any advise, lessons learned, words of wisdom, list of resources for ERP implementation? Specifically, my organization is higher education, and we are looking to roll out an ERP to replace our HR and finance systems.
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Katherine -

Implementing an ERP is a significant change management exercise, so the usual good practices for successful sustainment of change will apply.

Beyond that, I would say that most ERPs have limits on their customizability (rather than their configurabilty) so when it comes to automating processes and points of integration, make sure that the "out of the box" capabilities are fairly close to your business model otherwise it can be a very painful exercise.

Finally, given the marketability of folks who can configure and maintain ERP systems, if you intend to have your own staff look after the systems after their initial implementation then make sure your compensation packages for these staff are competitive otherwise you might experience unplanned attrition!

Kiron
In my case, in more than one higher education in Argentina, we implemented SAP. Lessons learned: something obivious, take clear your internal process and evaluate if they match with the process defined into the ERP. If not then you have to do a gap analisys. Just to put it in the context of PMI all this work belongs to the business analiyst role and it is well documented inside the related guides. Adding to that I wrote papers that were published by the PMI and I perfomed conferences and workshop on the matter inside the PMI World Tour. But it does not matter, go for the PMI guides related to business analysis and you will find what you need to decide on the matter.
To echo my colleagues, enterprise resource planning solutions are often meant to introduce best practices into an organization. That means gaps should be filled by training staff up to the solution process, rather than customizing the software down to your organizational process.

Each ERP solution provider offers an implementaiton management framework you should use as a starting point for your planning.
Find any (scope's) contractual gap earlier. If something critical is not covered, go and amend it. After that, kick it off and onboard all of the team. The meaning here is to save team from frustrations (as part of the Change Management effort). If you're the PM, there will be some pains you must deal with.
Test, test, test... intensively and extensively. Before going live.

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