ERP Project Managers: Do They Need an Understanding of Dynamics Yes or No?
Managing financials, reporting, operations, and human resource activities is a complex challenge in the modern business world. While many companies have some manner of accounting or operational system in place, standard software can’t link data together or offer insights for business growth. That’s why so many organisations implement an “ERP” or Enterprise Resource Planning system instead.
An ERP project manager unifies essential information in the business and uses state-of-the-art software to improve collaboration, enhance company productivity, and assist the organisation in making informed decisions.
With so many different ERP solutions on the market, from Microsoft Dynamics/AX to SAP and Oracle, many business leaders find themselves wondering whether they need an ERP project manager with specific experience of Dynamics/AX or just one who understands the nuances of business transformation.
With this in mind, we wanted to take a look at this question in more detail and from both a client and candidate perspective. So, let’s get started.
From an Employer Perspective: Choosing the Right Candidate
While there are managers out there who believe Dynamics/AX, knowledge is essential in the right Project Manager; many think that it may not be a necessary part of the job description.
Though specialist knowledge provides project managers with a natural access point into using a particular software to support their clients, it’s not the most crucial skill that companies are searching for. Too much knowledge of Dynamics/AX can sometimes push a project manager to act as a consultant and attempt to convince clients to use out-of-the-box Dynamics solutions.
However, a successful ERP implementation doesn’t come from forcing the project to match the software. Instead, the right ERP project manager needs to be able to interact with the various elements of the business, discover their unique needs for transformation, and implement strategies accordingly.
As useful as Dynamics/AX knowledge can be, it becomes a problem when a project manager’s understanding of a specific tool clouds their judgment and encourages them to guide their clients in the wrong direction.
From a Candidate Perspective: Adapting to the Role
For candidates, specific knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics/AX may be helpful when choosing the ideal role or building confidence for a new position. However, many candidates also know that as a project manager, they’re not there to advocate for a certain software. Instead, their role is to examine the details of the project, communicate with consultants and developers, and implement something that solves problems for the business.
As would-be project managers work on their career plan, it’s helpful to develop a knowledge of the architectural principles of ERP programmes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean focusing exclusively on a single system.
Project managers who understand the strengths and weaknesses of each ERP system can listen to the requirements of their clients, observe the business, and choose a plan that adheres to each company.
Which Skills Do ERP Project Managers Need Instead?
Rather than focusing on proficiency with Microsoft Dynamics/AX today’s employers and candidates need to explore the other skills that make a project manager effective. An ERP employee needs a CV that goes beyond a specific system and demonstrates additional talents, such as:
- Intuition: An ERP project manager can learn everything there is to know about Dynamics/AX, but they also need the intuition to determine whether certain implementations are right for their client or not. The best PMs don’t push an out-of-the-box solution; they get to know the individual needs of each business and base their recommendations on what will meet their clients needs and business goals.
- Communication: When it comes to implementing any complex IT project, communication is crucial. Exceptional ERP project managers can explain the reasons for specific transformations in the business in easy-to-understand language, addressing use cases that exist within the company. These PMs also know how to listen to the consultants and IT teams in their group and take their thoughts into account. Some project managers will even be able to handle conflict, by bringing people together in calm, detail-focused discussions.
- Knowledge sharing: Though a project manager doesn’t need a wealth of experience with specific software like Dynamics/AX, they do need to understand the basics of ERP implementation. With their prior knowledge, ERP project managers can work side-by-side with other team members, offer mentoring, and ensure good adoption throughout the workforce.
All ERP employees need a fundamental knowledge of the tools available to transform a business. However, they don’t let this experience guide their decision-making process. Instead, they use their communication skills and intuition to determine the right path for a company. Then, they help the other members of their team embrace new strategies and methodologies with the proper support.
Success in the ERP space goes beyond the understanding of a specific programme. Microsoft Dynamics/AX is just one tool in a PM’s vast toolbelt.
Until next time.
Adapt provide enterprise application talent solutions which deliver positive commercial outcomes. If your business outcomes depend on specialist talent in Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM or Salesforce, we will work with you proactively to deliver the people you need, when you need them, for the best long term results.
We are truly independent. We are called Adapt for a reason, we think the recruitment world is changing and recruitment needs to too. So we do things our way – focusing on outcomes which actually interest our customers.
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If you are looking for the right new team member, for your company or, want to take your career to the next level call us on +44 161 791 1723 or email us here