Posted by Steve Phillips, January 18, 2012
Within the ERP industry it is common to hear software-consulting firms say: “The system failed because our client did not take ownership of their project.” While this is often true, I find this statement a little perplexing…do senior managers in most companies spend millions of dollars on ERP with the goal of failing? Consultants sure make it sound like they do.
Second, where were these same consultants when the disaster was unfolding? Suddenly in retrospect, they seem to have all the right answers. Maybe they should have told their client the truth in the beginning.
After all, most firms sell their services to organizations under the premise “we will take care of you, so sit back, relax and enjoy the show”. However, once a project goes down the tube, now they are telling us something entirely different, which is…they never could deliver on their promises since it was really their client’s game to win or lose. There must be more to the story.
Of course, consultants cannot “make” companies take ownership or force them to do much of anything. Moreover, many are their own worst enemy. At the same time, I do not see too many software consulting firms rushing in to educate, teach them how to take ownership, or better yet, help them do as much as possible on their own. I wonder why?
Well, the first reason is obvious…it is called “grab the money and run”. What incentives do software consulting firms have to help their clients assume more responsibility? This only robs money out of their own pocket (fewer billable hours).
To set the record straight, not all software consulting firms are crooks. Many mention the concept of project ownership from the start. Nevertheless, the phrase has become nothing more than a punch line since most firms have no real strategy, focus or methodologies to put ownership in the right place (even when they know it is the right thing to do).
My hope is one-day sr. managers within ERP software companies and consulting firms will see the long-term strategic value of customers that are truly more capable, self-reliant, and is actually holding up their end of the bargain.
This may require vendors to look beyond the billable hours of the moment, not just talk about ownership… but start fostering it. I think most will listen if consultants can present a plan addressing how they will help make it happen.
In the meantime, I am not holding my breath. This is why organizations must get educated. They must understand what ownership looks like and the strategies and techniques to assume more control of their projects. When implementing an expensive project like ERP, the stakes could not get much higher.
In case you are wondering, my book…Control Your ERP Destiny is currently in the final stages of editing and design. It is planned for a March 2012 launch.
The book is the first of its kind to address specifically how organizations can take more project ownership to drive their success. How to reduce ERP implementation costs, mitigate risks, develop better business solutions, and leverage your software long after go-live.
In addition, the book is full of other useful project management tips based on my twenty-seven years of experience installing ERP systems as a practitioner in industry or as a project management and application consultant.
I wish all of you a great New Year.
View Original Post At Steve’s Toolbox Blog