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When the CIO Holds the Key to Business Transformation

It’s not every day an organization goes through a system selection process for a new ERP. The process for making a change to one of the most mission-critical technology investments can be long and complex, and it’s often the responsibility of the CIO to get it right. Selecting the right system isn’t where the work ends; moving employees through change and helping them adapt to the new way of working is a key to success that leaders often neglect. Here are five system selection success factors every CIO should consider.

Establish a steering committee.

Every business function in the organization is impacted by a new software decision, so having an executive steering committee is critical. An executive steering committee understands the business vision, provides direction, understands key processes, and is essential to gaining alignment. Strong leadership and governance from the top are necessary when making such a big decision, and having a steering committee that makes executive decisions keeps projects on track, budgets in check, risks mitigated, and conflicts resolved. An ERP most immediately impacts Finance, HR, IT, and reporting so it is most common to have senior members of those departments as part of the steering committee. This may include the CFO, CHRO, and CIO.

Become familiar with the differences between your differentiating business processes and standard industry best practices.

Another reason a steering committee is beneficial is to help guide the process of inventorying business processes and matching them to the strategic plan. This overlays the differentiators and strategic plan in order to employ the 60-30-10 rule; 60% standard configuration, 30% unique configuration, and 10% special or extended configuration. This ensures time, energy, budget, and resources focus on priority initiatives that have the greatest impact.

Understand your organization’s ability to change.

Transformation brings big changes to organizations and there are multiple factors to consider when looking at your organization’s ability to change. The first is competing enterprise projects. Change is hard, and many changes at once is even harder. Think about priorities to avoid project overload. Awareness into how much change people are experiencing is the first key. Second is to understand organizational change agility and maturity based on other projects. The more understanding you have of how employees react to change, and the faster they can adapt to change, the quicker you can execute your strategy and start seeing the ROI of your software investment.

Maintain an objective approach.

It’s almost impossible for leaders to erase all bias from decisions. Whether you are familiar with a certain software, have heard nothing but great things, or have been rooting for it from the start, making the right software decision must have objectivity in the approach. To stay objective, use a rigorous and documented process in your pre-selection and software selection activities. When working with solution vendors, keep your messaging and communications consistent and make your scoring criteria transparent. Adopt the guiding rule that the process is as important as the selection, which ultimately becomes the cornerstone and starting point of enterprise adoption.

Be a change leader.

Leading through change is difficult and there isn’t always a clear path to success. A change leader is someone who commits to supporting the change and helps people navigate through it. Change leaders must stay active and visible through the project and inspire others to be adaptable and flexible, knowing the change will ultimately be better for everyone and the organization.

As CIOs and their teams begin transformation efforts, these success factors will help make the process, from pre-evaluation to post-implementation, smoother. To learn more about software selection, watch Avaap’s webinar A Fresh Perspective on ERP System Selection available now on-demand.