Why a Project Manager is Crucial for Successful ERP Implementations?

Are you planning to implement or launch a new software / system? Or are you planning to do a major system upgrade?

If your answer is yes to either of the above, then this article may be something useful for you – especially if this is your first ERP (or system) implementation.

I recently met with a new potential client and, after doing the basic business analysis, I realised that there was a genuine need for a project manager. The business owner insisted that the processes were not complicated (and I probably agree), however, the implementation is usually not as simple as they looked.

With that, I drafted out clear reasons for having a PM and I thought I share them with you today.

1. Process Clean Up

The first and most important reason you need a Project Manager is because you will very likely end up having to clean up your existing data (and processes).

What do I mean by that?

You see, I’ve worked with clients who usually wants to get the project done as soon as possible. And that’s pretty normal. However, from experience, many projects are delayed because the client don’t have quality data required by the system.

For examples, let’s say we want the latest stock count from the client. Some clients would assume that if they have 80-90{528a46749d196be7df21540ff140c83acfb7bfa395f69b6580b6b804895671bc} of the information, that would be sufficient. Unfortunately, that’s not enough.

You need to understand that, when we are uploading data into a system, the system can’t tell what “roughly 30 units” means. In fact, the system needs an exact number as a record. So, is it 29, 30 or 31?

And this gets slightly more complicated if the goods have variations (from the original product). And if you don’t have the level of information that is accurate and reliable, then you’ll probably have to re-do your stock take.

2. SOP Processing

When you are implementing a system or digitising your business, you are essentially improving the process flow so that you can reap the benefits of the system (read more here).

Hence, expect to be reevaluating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of your company.

The fact is, many processes will change and some will be more drastic than others. And in order to manage this process, a Project Manager is required overlook the changes. For this to work, the project manager will also need to work closely with the system provider me as well as the subject matter expert from your company. And that’s before the team can implement these new SOPS in the system.

The PM will then have to coordinate all the approvals (if required) before all these changes can start and to communicate them to all affected parties (once finalised).

While the system consultant will be giving suggestions and recommendation, project managing the information is not within their work scope (unless agreed).

3. Documentation

By the end of the project, the system consultant will likely have the most information about your business processes compared to any single individual member from the client. And that’s the nature of a consultant’s job, to understand clearly all your processes before implementation.

However, once the project is done and the implementation complete, the knowledge is usually not retained in the company. Hence, you need the Project Manager to orchestrate and document the work (or the SOPs) for future and internal purposes.

Remember that creating flow charts, diagrams and any form of illustration will require time and management.

4. Volume of information

More often than not, if your business has been around for more than 10 years or have been through some accelerate growth, the processes are usually not clear. While the business owner might think that it’s an easy tasks, you really cannot underestimate the amount of information required to manage this project.

And that’s another reason why the Project Manager will play a crucial role and managing all these information.

5. Coordination and Time Management

The Project Manager will need to keep track of the multiple tasks that will come from the many individuals. And let’s be clear, the coordination is more critical closer to the implementation dateline.

Hence, many will not appreciate the PM’s role until later. Unfortunately, the PM would also need time to learn about the business.

More importantly, with all the points mentioned above, you really need a PM to delegate responsibilities (and tasks) very clearly so that there is clear ownership. The PM is the main point of contact too so that when someone needs certain information or action, the tasks can be distributed quickly.

At the same time, when things don’t get moving, we know who to contact immediately.

6. Disciplinarian

Where required, the Project Manager will also become the disciplinarian for the project. And even if the person may not be the disciplinarian, he/she will be reporting the issues to someone with the right authority to the right action.

7. Ad-hoc Work

Lastly, most project implementation requires some buffer of resources as there’s always some ad-hoc work. This is the nature of projects and we really need to be prepared for that. The fact that your company is very lean may not be a good things without a Project Manager.


Let’s be honest here, there’s a reason why Prince, Green Belt or Black Belt Project Managers get certain recognition. It’s clear there’s a value in this role. Hence, don’t overlook the importance of this role as a good Project Manager can help save millions.

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