Posted: 13 Apr. 2022 8 min. read

Four categories of ERP implementation readiness activities

How to get after them

Implementation readiness is the period of time and activities that occur before an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation (see this blog post for why implementation readiness is important). It’s a time to prepare your organization for the implementation across four key categories of readiness. There are several “bare minimum” activities across these categories that companies should consider as must-do in order to help drive a successful transformation.

Category #1: Opportunity identification, scoping, and planning

Organizations often have blind spots to processes or other areas that aren’t working as well as they should. Recognizing these opportunities and planning to correct them ahead of implementation can deliver quick wins that allow for early realization of the benefits of the transformation, which can, in turn, build momentum for change.

Bare minimum activities and outcomes:

  • Activity: Prioritize capabilities and process improvement opportunities with a deeper dive into the scope of the project.
    Outcome: This activity delivers a detailed list of processes that are in and out of scope for the transformation.
  • Activity: Develop a transformation roadmap and deployment plan.
    Outcome: This step provides a timeline for project milestones as well as dependencies on other inflight programs. It offers insight into blocks of time when it is appropriate to deploy the program and times when you don’t want to go live.

Category #2: Resource planning

Planning for the resources of the project team ensures that the day-to-day activities of your business are taken care of during the transformation project. Planning will help give you the ability to hire for important roles on the project team, where you may want experienced resources to be included, and backfill positions to keep up with business as usual.

Bare minimum activities and outcomes:

  • Activity: Clearly define the roles and expectations of stakeholders.
    Outcome: This step allows stakeholders to manage their time and ensure they can give the transformation the level of importance needed to ensure its success. It also allows leaders to define key competencies and required skillsets needed, so that they can be acquired or reallocated.
  • Activity: Procure the right resources to assemble the right team, whether that means having experienced resources on the project or adding experienced contractors.
    Outcome: Building a team with the right people in the right roles can increase success.
  • Activity: Determine how much of people’s time will be devoted to the project and allocate those roles to named resources. The core team, for example, may be full time throughout the project, but others may be needed only part time for different project phases.
    Outcome: Once you have the named resources for the project, you’ll realize the gaps that need to be filled and can fill those before the project begins.

Category #3: Data and technology

Many organizations looking to transform have issues with data. Examining these issues early provides an opportunity to identify and correct them.

Bare minimum activities and outcomes:

  • Activity: Do a Chart of Accounts and Cost Center/Profit Center rationalization to address any data challenges.
    Outcome: Cleanup of data quality issues before data is converted can eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies in data structure or an over-proliferation of data elements such as cost centers. To help ensure a smooth project define an approach to data clean up before the transformation.

Category #4: Governance and change management

Governance and change management are really the foundation of any large transformation effort. Without a vision, buy-in from leadership, and a defined governance model, it’s very hard to achieve optimal outcomes. The governance model should include the right stakeholders at each level of the organization who are working on a day-to-day basis to keep the project on track.

Part of governance is building a plan to carefully manage the transition, which increases the chances for success. For example, without the appropriate transition management, people may not use the new system; instead, they may go back to the old, comfortable way of working. Building a plan for how to manage the transition can increase adoption rates and improve the chances of the implementation being successful.

Bare minimum activities and outcomes:

  • Activity: Define the vision and guiding principles. Imagine the vision as a statement of where you want to be and the guiding principles as the roadmap for getting your business there.
    Outcome: This activity helps ensure everyone is on the same page and understands how to reach the end point.
  • Activity: Define the governance structure in detail.
    Outcome: This step ensures that the roles and responsibilities and the cadence and escalation path are included in the structure so that everyone in the organization is aware of when something should be escalated, and the path for moving it up the ladder.

How to prioritize

As you contemplate the implementation readiness phase of a major transformation, keep in mind that all organizations are different. Here are considerations to help prioritize the activities for this early phase to deliver a successful project:

  1. Time: Three to six months seems to be the sweet spot for implementation readiness. If you have less time or more time, you might undertake and complete a different set of activities.
  2. Resource dedication: Do you have the momentum and leadership support necessary within the organization to allocate the resources needed for these activities? If not, can you deprioritize some inflight activities to free up the resources you need?
  3. Value focus: Not all activities yield the same outcome for every organization. For example, if your organization has been through a large transformation in the recent past, you may already have the governance structure in place for this project. It’s important to focus on the activities that will give value for your organization.
  4. Vendor and partner collaboration:
    • Software vendor: Collaborating with your software vendor early helps build relationships that will smoothen the implementation journey. It’s also important to understand the product roadmap, see demos or examples of new features and functionalities, and explore what the company can offer for the future.
    • Business transformation advisor and system implementation partner: This partner can help bring structure, thinking, and expediency to the implementation readiness activities needed by your organization.

Large implementations aren’t easy. They have risks, are complex, and are fundamentally about change. Planning with proper implementation readiness will help you achieve better outcomes, lower risk, and improve the odds of a successful transformation.


Fahad Salah-Ud-Din
Senior Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Shiva Kumar Shivashankar
Senior Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP

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