An Ounce of Prevention: Making the Most of a Public Sector ERP Acquisition


In these challenging times, public sector and government organizations confront high and growing constituent expectations, statutory requirements from every level that drive up costs and flat or declining budgets. In this environment, effective use of technology is imperative.

While common in private sector enterprises, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have been slower to adapt to the unique needs of government agencies, needs that include integrated accounting across disparate databases, sophisticated budgeting, quality reporting and grants management. To meet these challenges, public sector organizations need business systems that are simple to use and that streamline operations across the organization to increase efficiency and cut costs.

When a local or state government agency finally selects and funds an ERP software solution, calculating return on investment (ROI) must begin immediately. But all too often, what begins as an exciting vision of anticipated benefits is sidetracked by a number of unwanted implementation issues that delay full deployment and erode ROI. After all, every day that new software is not employed is a day the investment is not going to its intended use.

The three most common issues that bedevil public sector ERP acquisitions are vendor protests, insufficient accountability and unmet business needs. In most cases, these issues can be traced to a poorly planned and executed selection process. This ISG white paper explores how public sector procurement organizations can apply an “ounce of prevention” to address these common issues and realize immediate benefits from their ERP implementations.

About the author

John has more than 30 years of experience in enterprise application software procurement, analysis, design, project management, development, quality assurance and implementation. For the last sixteen years, he has been helping public sector organizations develop their business case, author and procure their request for proposal, gather requirements, evaluate and select their enterprise-resource planning vendor and manage on-going enterprise software projects. He has hands-on experience with Workday, Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise and SAP, and has worked with or evaluated many other enterprise software packages. He is a proficient and organized technical writer and presenter, with skills in both the software/technical and management/marketing fields. Building on his experience as a project manager, he maintains his certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).