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Challenges Faced in Global ERP Implementations -Like Crossing A Sea?

In today's world, many of ERP Implementations are large involving multiple regions, countries and businesses around the world.I am talking about large multinational corporations which have foot prints around the world either directly or through subsidiaries. Some of these corporations also have grown bigger through mergers and acquisitions.

Another characteristic is some may have many sub divisions which act as separate companies under single parent company.Many of my Oracle implementations have always been global implementations. Sharing some of the challenges faced in the order of severity.

1. Global business modeling: - Bringing them in single business model is never easy. Though the project is by the IT organization (implementation of Oracle) but it some times goes into BPR mode involving all the business leads in all regions/divisions to align business process

2. ERP landscape and strategy decisions: - These are tough decisions involve which legacy system to be retained or retired. For example a newly acquired business is not willing to change their system since they have already implemented another ERP System.

3. Continuing to above point, Single or Multiple oracle instances is always a big question.

4. Managing master data across multiple regions. I have seen establishing this as one of most difficult process.

5. There are external factors impacting schedules and budgets. There is new acquisition or new business/region in scope when the global modeling and design is over.

6. Diversity - Each region could be different by business and volume of business. For example North America region might have large order volume where as Asia order volume is less though majority of sourcing and manufacturing is done from Asia.

7. Just adding to above point the number of people involved can be different by region n business process. One region - it could be one person managing entire purchasing process

8. Regional Requirements: There are additional requirements and global business process will not fit because regulatory issues at some regions

9. Requirement complexities ,  the requirements also get complex which an overlap and map across multiple business functions and modules

10. Coordination and communication across all the regions is always difficult because of the locations, time zones. Adding to the above are cultural issues and language barriers

Well the list goes on. Also want to mention challenges (risks) project management angle.

a. Planning for long term with huge budget and the benefits are not immediate
b. Hitting unexpected economic situations, such as economic slow downs. If this hits during middle of the implementation. Risk of abandon/holding the project will be putting money and effort in the drain
c. Getting the resources engaged to work

So well you all read the pains, some of this pains were reduced from implementation level through below.

1. Having global design team (central) which will gather requirements from each region and own the solution design
2. Mapping regional requirements to create common global process and design.
3. The regional team or rollout team will be responsible for tailoring global design and roll out to meet regional requirements and deviations needed
4. Once Single or multi instance (it is whole separate discussion) decision is made, identifying business process which map across multiple instances.
5. Same goes with if some of the regions or businesses decide to retain existing ERP/legacy applications. Laying down business flows across systems and identify data exchange interfaces as applicable
6. Coordination is another topic which needs separate discussion. With global conference and screen sharing tools definitely help the discussions. Some amount of traveling is always needed. Setting common time for discussions is something needs to be worked depending on the flexibility by the teams. I worked late nights and early morning to fit other time zones
7. Handling complex business scenarios across cross tracks/business has been done multiple times by us by having cross track discussions and doing handover/take over process. These cross track flows will be taken till the end by having cross flow testing scenarios and requirement traceability tools so that they are not missed.

Though I have mentioned some challenges and how these were met. Every implementation is different and it has its own challenges apart from the above. 

It might look like crossing a sea which reminds me of inspirational quote from Holy Bible "Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters"


Thanks for sharing and it was very informative..I need more tips from your side

Great Article..It was very informative..I need more details from your side..include some tips..

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