What is the best team structure for ERP implementations?

Implementing an ERP system is an extensive process that often impacts every department within an organization. Depending on the size of the company, deploying an ERP solution may require months of planning for a successful launch.

Without proper planning, ERP projects tend to fail. This process requires an effective team structure with carefully defined roles and responsibilities.

Increase the chance of a successful ERP implementation with this guide to the best team structure.

Categorize the Scale of the ERP Project

The structure of the implementation team depends on the scale of the project and the size of the company. Smaller companies rely on fewer tools and contain fewer departments compared to larger organizations.

Multinational companies often need a steering committee to guide the project, along with multiple implementation divisions consisting of dozens of executives. A small business does not need a committee, nor does it need to fill the same roles. Keep these details in mind to develop an effective team structure.

Project Oversight Committee

An oversight committee or steering committee is used to oversee the overall implementation process. The committee consists of senior executives and decision-makers, such as CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and various VPs.

In some cases, a formal committee is not established. The typical responsibilities of the committee are simply handled by executives at the highest level in the company’s organizational chain.

For smaller businesses, these roles are filled by the business owner and upper management.

The decision-makers are not directly involved in the process. However, they should receive periodic updates from the project team and provide the support and resources needed to complete the implementation.

Project Owner or Project Champion

As with a committee, a project owner is not directly associated with the implementation of the ERP software. The project owner or project champion is the person responsible for ensuring that the team meets the goals of the company.

The project owner may also assist the implementation team to address any unforeseen issues or obstacles during the process. If the company establishes a committee, the project owner may also act as an intermediary between the core team and upper management.

The Core Implementation Team

The core implementation team is the group responsible for planning and deploying the ERP software. This group works directly with individual departments and workers to ensure a smooth transition to the ERP system.

The core implementation team consists of the following roles:

  • Project manager
  • Superusers
  • Functional team members

Establishing multiple teams is often necessary when dealing with deployment across multiple sites. Multinational organizations and companies with multiple locations need teams at each site to deal with the implementation process hands-on.

Project Manager

The project is responsible for every stage of the implementation process. The manager works with the project owner or steering committee to define the goals and the scope of the project. Other key responsibilities of the project manager include:

  • Selecting members for the team
  • Delivering updates to the project owner
  • Comparing and selecting ERP vendors
  • Developing a project plan
  • Coordinating with team members

The manager keeps the project running on time and ensures that the process is meeting the goals outlined by the committee or project owner.

If multiple teams are used, the responsibilities of the project manager may be divided between multiple project supervisors. The team at each site should have its own supervisor while a single project manager oversees the entire project.

Super Users

Super users are individuals who receive in-depth training to fully understand the features and functions of the ERP software. Smaller organizations may have a single super user who learns the new processes for each department.

Large organizations often require multiple super users. For example, each department may have its own super user who knows all the ins and outs of the new software and how it impacts their daily operations.

The super user is the go-to person for implementing the new software. He or she can describe the features to the end users and assist with training.

Functional Team Members

Functional team members are the ones who use ERP software for normal business tasks and operations. This may include department heads, supervisors, and managers in each area of the organization, such as financing, human resources, and operations.

Functional team members assist with defining the needs of their own core areas. For example, a team member who represents the finance department should understand the daily procedures of that department. They help ensure that the ERP software assists with those procedures.

In the end, the functional team members are the employees who will spend more time working directly with the ERP software. While the super user may assist with training, the team members are responsible for training staff within their own departments or core areas.

Report Writer

Some organizations may also require a report writer for a successful ERP deployment. The writer compiles reports related to existing business operations, helping with the transition to new software.

ERP software provides a central database for storing information collected from each department. This may lead to changes in the way that your organization compiles reports.

The report writer is responsible for analyzing existing report procedures and implementing new report procedures using the selected ERP system. In some cases, the duties of the report writer are handled by a super user or members of the IT department.

Last Thoughts on Setting a Team Structure for ERP Implementation

The structure outlined above provides a general outline for a typical ERP deployment. However, the team structure used for the deployment of your ERP system should reflect the specific needs of your organization.

Remember to define the scale of your project. If your company has multiple sites, establish teams at each location. Select a project manager to oversee the entire project, and designate a project owner to take responsibility for the success of the project.

If the process of selecting a team and implementing an ERP system seems too daunting, consider working with ERP implementation consultants. Consultants can assist with any step of the process or handle the entire deployment.


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