Tips for Garnering C-Level Support
We’ve found in both our Midwest Epicor Users Group (MEUG) meetings and in our clients’ inquiries that IT teams, CIOs and ERP users often struggle to move up to the latest version of their enterprise software. These businesses are losing precious time, customers and money as they continue to operate from E9, Vantage or even Vista. But their C-Suite just won’t delegate the funds to move on to a new system. As hard as it is to convince the C-level executives to support an ERP implementation, it can sometimes be even harder to get them behind an ERP upgrade. Isn’t the current system working well enough? Why waste money on an upgrade?
Business executives are often too focused on the dollars and cents to realize that a software upgrade offers both short- and long-term benefits. Furthermore, operating on a system for too long will put operations at risk. So how can you transform the C-Suite from upgrade skeptics to advocates? We’re here to give you the tips to do just that.
Get Managers on Board
As ERP Focus points out, the more people you have on your side, the more likely you can convert your C-Suite into ERP evangelists. Lobby your managers, seeking support from directors and senior managers for the proposed upgrade. Keep in mind: these are the people who are going to be using the upgraded system every day. Find out from them what their trouble points are in their interface, and ask for a KPI report to drill into current inefficiencies. This strategy actually serves a dual purpose: it strengthens support for an ERP upgrade and provides insight into specific problems that need to be fixed in the new version. This insight will offer more evidence of the need for an upgrade and ensure that the project team knows the greatest issues to address.
Gather Persuasive Data
Does this step sound familiar? That’s because it’s also a tip for convincing the C-Suite to implement an ERP instance in the first place. Business executives have one thing in mind: money. If you can’t prove that the cost of an upgrade will drive more sales and efficiency, you don’t have a chance of gaining C-level support.
The only way to win over executives and stakeholders is to prove that the ERP upgrade will generate ROI. Start by calculating the cost of the upgrade. Will you need to completely re-implement the system? How much will you need for consulting or training? Will you have to delegate time away from revenue-generating work to focus on the project?
Now that you know the cost, determine how the latest version will save your enterprise time and money. Run weekly reports to estimate how much time is wasted on tasks, data processing or correcting errors. Then, analyze how a new version will slash this time and improve processes. What are the particular areas of your business currently undergoing slow operations or constant troubleshooting? How will the ERP upgrade eradicate these issues? Additionally, how will continued use of the current ERP system threaten your bottom line and potentially jeopardize your company? The more hard data you can present to make your case, the more likely you’ll hear a “yes” from your C-Suite.
Choose the Right Project Leader
One of the many major responsibilities of the project leader is to maintain effective communication with the C-Suite. When assigning roles for your software project team, select a leader who can keep the lines of communication open within the project team as well as between the team and business executives. Besides keeping the project on track, the leader should know the company inside and out to convince key stakeholders and the C-Suite to back the ERP upgrade. This communication doesn’t end once these people give the okay to start the project. Team leaders must stay in touch with executives throughout the project to gain their input and manage scope creep.
The C-Suite can serve as a major obstacle to moving to a new version of your ERP software. However, if you give them a comprehensive, data-driven report on all the advantages an upgrade will bring to your business, they’ll have a hard time passing on the opportunity. This is especially true for Epicor ERP users. With each upgrade, Epicor improves their data analytics, business intelligence (BI), modules and architecture to stay ahead of digital trends and boost manufacturing and distribution performance.
Once you’re ready to upgrade your enterprise software, give Datix a call. A certified Epicor Platinum Partner, Datix understands the complexity of ERP projects. After 20 years of software consulting, we’ve mastered providing ERP solutions to manufacturing and distribution clients of all sizes. We help you throughout your software journey, from the first implementation to upgrades, customizations and integrations.
Don’t let your software collect dust and put your company at risk. Get in touch with Datix’s Epicor ERP consultants today to upgrade your system and your enterprise.