Hello again. Thanks for reading. Before you do – recall that our team is product-agnostic. We do not sell software. Just good advice.

Today’s theme: if you’re upgrading your ERP or business software this year, it’s time to plan!

Mid-January. Cold really sets in. It’s dark earlier. And the finance department engines are revving… year-end close, budget refinement and, in some cases, initial commitments are made for a big system upgrade project targeted to complete before year-end.

Knowing the full scope of what’s ahead, and how to manage it, is vital to your upgrade project. Early year is the best time to jump on it. It’s common for us to meet CFO’s in June, seeking to be done – unrealistically – by December 31 – not a recipe for success. Starting your upgrade processes now increases your success odds, and allows you to undertake a prudent amount of planning and strategy BEFORE you deal with requirements, vendors, demo’s and all the challenges of any implementation process.

To that end, if you’re serious about undertaking a systems upgrade project to be completed by year-end, our team can’t be emphatic enough that you consider a few key points before you get too far along:

1. People – reality check – do you have the right team to get the project done this year? If not, what are you going to do to mitigate this issue? Do you know enough to know? Has anyone in your team been through this before?

2. Process – reality check – have you mapped out the steps that have to occur, with contingencies, to accomplish the full upgrade cycle? You should start with a full reality check of all key project elements, along the lines of assessing the who, what, when, why and how. Know your risks, and how to manage around them.

3. Technology – reality check – have you considered data-related matters (e.g.; migration strategy, reporting elements and needs, integrations with 3rd party apps and data sources, etc.), as well as the impact of new software on your existing on-premise and cloud environments? Are you comfortable with the manner in which you’ll select your new technology – rather than relying some ad-laden “software selection” website recommendation to steer you in a direction? Just checking…

These points are initial triggers to remind you of the need for a serious diligence process before you get vendors involved. Too many ERP, CRM, HCM and other software upgrades fail for reasons that fall flatly on the client – not the vendor. We’ve seen many software implementation disasters that we’ve been retained to clean up, or restart. Don’t become such a statistic. Try doing it right, the first time.

If we can help in any way, I’m happy to discuss how – with you. More importantly, please recognize this posting as a reminder that you really need to plan for these projects in all respects, and that they can succeed with the right combination of leadership, governance, execution, and communication. Good luck this year – and know that we’re here to help at any stage.