JD Edwards Enterprise One, often abbreviated as JDE, is a powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that can help businesses of any size streamline their operations to perfection. With integrated financial management, supply change management, human resources, and customer relationship management modules, it’s possible to bring nearly every facet of your business together for maximum efficiency. It also integrates well with many third-party programs through secure APIs.
However, any large software implementation, particularly ERP implementations, has a high risk of failure. ERP Today, a leading enterprise technology magazine, estimates that 21% of ERP launches fail completely, 55% go over budget, and 75% are delayed. This is due to a number of factors, including a failure to plan for after-implementation maintenance and not properly assessing business needs. One overlooked issue is leadership buy-in, a critical element that can make or break the whole plan.
What Is Leadership Buy-In?
In short, leadership buy-in means that your leadership team understands the need for a business upgrade and is committed to this specific product. They can then rally the troops to complete tasks, clarify misconceptions, and provide their unique insights into the process based on their area of expertise.
Why Is Buy-In Important?
When leaders aren’t on the same page, disagreements about the scale and scope of the project can become a serious concern; this will lead to confusion amongst vendors, consultants, and middle management, not to mention the lower-level staff. Even if they do not outright express these sentiments to their teams, it will bleed into their overall approach to the project, which can cause delays and poor performance from the in-house teams working on the implementation.
Furthermore, leaders who weren’t fully committed to the project at the start won’t have the stamina to push through difficult elements and may continually suggest scrapping the entire thing at the first sign of trouble. This can prematurely end what would have been a successful implementation.
So how do you encourage buy-in? These are some of the most helpful tactics.
Explain the Value Proposition in Multiple Ways
The JD Edwards ERP is a complicated beast that can be customized in near-infinite ways. With so many modules and third-party integrations, you can run nearly your entire company from this same system; it will impact every level of the organization.
This is why you need to tailor your pitch to each leader, getting specific about how it will benefit them. Get a rough idea of which modules you’ll implement and when and then show the leaders of each branch of your organization why they will enjoy using the ERP. You should also use comparison information from other organizations like yours that use JD Edwards with hard facts.
Demystifying Technical Language Is Essential
Not everyone on your leadership team will be perfectly software savvy; their eyes might glaze over when you start talking about things like JD Edwards CNC and third-party APIs. As such, focus on the big picture and the overall results when seeking buy-in rather than throwing a great deal of technical jargon at the team right away.
Working with a good JD Edwards implementation team like getgsi.com can be very helpful here. Having performed hundreds of implementations, they know how to share information about JDE in a way that will make sense to a layperson, and they will be able to efficiently answer any arcane questions about specific areas of the program. They can also tailor their pitches to different audiences with in-depth knowledge of what certain departments can expect before, during, and after implementation.
Encourage Questions and Dialogue
Most businesses are not autocratic, and your leadership team will resent it if you make a unilateral decision without asking them first. As such, you must open space for your upper management to ask questions and even disagree if necessary.
While no one likes confrontation, airing these issues out ahead of time can be healthy for the organization as a whole; it ensures that your team isn’t secretly harboring doubts about the efficacy of your decision and subtly working against the implementation.
Before you start, ask your team to get familiar with JD Edwards and discuss its benefits, then turn to the opposite side: ask them to play Devil’s Advocate and explain why they think the project could fail. You can then counter these arguments or, if they are salient points, build workarounds for these issues into your plan. By showing foresight and encouraging problem-solving before the project has started in earnest, you help prepare your team for possible sticking points and reassure them that you can get through any problems together. It will dispel any doubts and help leadership teams see that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Sometimes, you’ll come across a highly resistant leader who is very against any changes in the organization. A good consulting team can help you reduce this friction and remind you that change can be very uncomfortable for many people, especially those who have become highly familiar with their current ways of working.
Your leadership team is the heart of your company, and you need to ensure that they are on board with such an arduous project. Having everyone work as a united front can help get you through tough times on an implementation, offering you a better chance of success.