Successful ERP Implementation in Local Government
Local governments are turning to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to provide business support and reporting. ERP implementation may become a necessity to compensate for reduced funding and government that is more efficient.
Government environments face unique and complex challenges in the successful implementation of integrated systems. Public sector structure, mission, accountability, and independent tactical delivery of services create challenges. Few organizations in the private sector experience similar complexity, diverse service provision, revenue generation, auditing, and transparency requirements inherent in local government.
ERP implementations are complex, highly visible, and vital to an organization’s success. It is easy to be buried drafting requests for proposals, evaluating responses, and installing technology. Government leaders, both administrators and elected officials must keep an eye on the big picture as well, and this means paying attention to external factors that will affect the project. Some of these key areas are:
Funding – An ERP project is a multiyear undertaking, crossing budget cycles. It is essential that funding be committed for the duration of the project. Issuance of a bond or other dedicated financing vehicle may mitigate potential shortfalls.
Leadership Changes – In government, there may be an election or other reasons for change in leadership over the course of the project. The project design should consider such timelines, completing major system components before a potential administration change.
Statutory Considerations – Some laws may have been on the books for years and may need review. Validation that the system design meets the current and planned legislation is mandatory.
Union Contracts – ERP implementation may quickly become a focus for employee unions. Considering the existing contracts and planning for future renegotiation can be vital to a successful implementation.
Government organizations with leaders willing to make tough decisions and make it clear that failure is not an option will reap benefits. Some major considerations are:
A successful ERP implementation in local government begins with the recognition of the complexity of the environment. Strategies for elimination, avoidance, and risk mitigation must be developed in project planning and design, not during and after implementation.
Additional information about this and related topics may be found at http://www.ciber.com/erp/lawson/