There are a lot of key players in an enterprise resource planning implementation. When a software suite covers much of a company's business operation, there are many people that will want input on what is being put in place. As a consequence, there will likely be a lot of chatter as a manufacturer develops an implementation team to select and install the program. Realizing the benefits of a new ERP system, such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, means talking to a lot of people in the firm to ensure the overall success of the operation. At the same time, knowing who the stakeholders are can help filter out the noise and help ensure that a successful strategy is deployed.

A matter of representation
Stakeholders are often seen as the people most likely to not to be directly involved with the implementation team, but are still using the software directly and indirectly. As Galena IT describes it, a stakeholder is an organization or person that has influence in a company. They have the ability to request project changes and can affect operations that impact the business overall.

Stakeholders are also the people most directly impacted by the transition. They include individual employees that have a voice among others in their departments, managers, suppliers of parts and raw materials and customers. Groups of employees can also qualify as they are likely the end users of the software overall. All in all, they represent specific interest groups that are affected by an ERP implementation and they have a stake in the outcome and performance of the project, according to consultant Fabia McLean Bourda.

These stakeholders serve several roles that give them a specific vantage point in terms of affecting the installation. For example, they can be the people that implement the changes needed to complete the installation. They can also release the money and technological resources necessary to finish the job, as well as approve any changes. This makes them powerful enough to bring down the entire transition if the team responsible fails to work with them.

Identification and involvement
With this much influence to bear, the ERP implementation team should go out of their way to appease them. The first step is to identify the stakeholders in an attempt to engage with them. Lumenia Consulting points out that this requires special analysis of the ERP solution itself, even if it's an update to a Microsoft Dynamics implementation. Companies should be able to determine how the new software will directly affect the entire operation. From there, companies are able to see that transitions will affect not just employees and management, but customers, unions, suppliers, regulators and distributors.

After the stakeholders are identified, the ERP implementation team should figure out their overall involvement. Some, like the employees, should have a direct line on engagement with the implementation. Other groups such as customers and regulators will probably want to know information that may affect them directly. From there, a plan for managing all the stakeholders can develop, making the transition more seamless.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.