Your ideal ERP project leader: what their profile looks like

In the last 30 to 40 years, both vendors and customers have gained plenty of experience with the implementation of ERP software solutions. An interesting observation is that the success and failure factors have dramatically changed during these years. These factors have moved from hardware and infrastructure to more human aspects such as clarity about ‘the why’ of the project. 

Also important is the willingness and ability to change habits. Of course, this development also places entirely different demands on the profile of your internal project leader. Do you already have a clear idea of who your next project leader will be?

Which department is the motor behind your next ERP project? And what sort of person or character is your project leader? In early ERP projects, technology was the prime driver. Network printing and multiple-application use from a single PC were the primary focus. It was a time of hardware, cables and wall plugs. An era of processing power, storage capacity and backup equipment. Project leaders came from the IT department, and that made sense back then. 

But we’ve moved on. We’ve been through a period of enormous technological development resulting in a high degree of standardization. And of course, the introduction of the cloud puts a large part of these once-important aspects in the hands of your cloud provider. 

Today, your ERP project’s success or failure depends more on people than on technology. You may want to consider the following questions: 

  • What will your new solution mean to your business processes? 
  • Have you defined a comprehensible and attractive goal? 
  • Do you have a project name that every single colleague understands? 
  • How well organised is internal communication? 
  • Are your people willing to change and adopt the new working methods? 
  • Is your management a good example when it comes to being open to and accepting all these changes – or would they rather stick with the tried and true? 

In this arena, you would do well to have a project leader with good communication skills. Not in bits and bytes, like in the past – but in interpersonal communication. Someone with empathy, who understands your business at a high level. Someone who can identify and monitor the project risks. Someone who understands customer centricity. 

Unfortunately, you’ll rarely find these qualifications in your IT department.

So for your next ERP project, major upgrade or move to the cloud, you may want to find yourself a project leader with a high emotional quotient – someone who understands that change is one of the hardest things for a human being. You’ll see your chance of success increase considerably!

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December 15, 2022

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