Corporate Goals Ease ERP Efforts

Intel uses the concept of corporate goals as a way to crystallize what is important across the company.  Every year the CEO and his staff agree on the big items Intel wants to achieve.  These are defined and grading is agreed on.  This is a great recognition tool in that it focuses all needed areas of the company to achieve these goals.

From an ERP perspective corporate goals have several advantages.  When running an ERP effort that is one of the corporate goals then it tends to be a lot easier to get support from matrix groups since all groups want to achieve and support the corporate goal.  Generally, groups tend to focus on their own goals (since not all groups have a corporate goal for their activities) but the corporate goals break down cross group barriers and trump group goals.  In years past, ERP in overall or individual programs were not part of the corporate goals.  When this was the case, ERP efforts could be categorized as being IT or business focused.  Items such as ERP upgrades, hardware upgrades, etc. tend to be IT focused.  On the other hand business efforts tend to focus on delivering new functionality (e.g. implement a new Advanced Planning module) that will enable some new element in the business (e.g. a new division or warehouse or improve delivery performance).  When an IT ERP program supports a business corporate goal, then that tends to be a powerful catalyst in terms of ensuring executive and senior management support, resources, and support from other groups.  But the ideal ERP program has both an IT corporate goal and a business corporate goal.  When these rare conditions exist then obstacles are removed as if by magic.  Here the business is extremely motivated as are all the groups needed in IT.  The downside is the amount of visibility and scrutiny tends to be extremely high.  But all in all the positives outweigh the negatives in this “Ideal” ERP scenario. 

Whether a corporate goal or not, I would argue that an essential ingredient in ensuring an ERP effort is successful is to ensure both the business and IT think it is a priority.  This may seem obvious but it is not uncommon for an IT department to pursue a major effort that is not necessarily aligned with business priorities.  When this happens, the risk of failure increases dramatically.  At Intel, IT can get a major program included as a corporate goal and this in turn ensures senior business management support.  Although very powerful by itself the effort becomes even more powerful when the same ERP effort is also a business corporate goal.  We have examples of this alignment and it creates a positive environment for ensuring visibility and results.