We return to our preferred topic of ERP integration to discuss the role and importance of individual and organizational collaboration when implementing and integrating ERP systems. ERP integration is a key business strategy designed to strengthen long-term enterprise success. 

Companies often choose to adopt ERP systems because of the apparent value of the integrated nature of the ERP system itself. In reality, ERP systems will also need to be integrated with external systems in order to achieve the full value of ERP integration. For this reason an ERP integration architecture or middleware framework is needed to accomplish integration. But technology is not enough. 

Effective ERP integration is needy upon effective organizational collaboration. IT governance and strategic enterprise policies must be aligned with the need for effective collaboration culture and methodologies during ERP implementation and on an on-going basis as continual integration approaches are pursued. 

Many enterprises will fail to gain the full benefit of ERP implementation due to lack of effective integration governance and incomplete collaboration. Integration across organizational departments plays a big contributing role in the success of any ERP system and collaboration is the core ingredient for successful integration governance. 

Many have suggested that collaboration and communication between departments are core processes in ERP implementation that may lead to either success or failure. Ongoing communication and knowledge sharing contributes to effective IT governance and are essential elements for integration governance specifically. When inter-departmental communication and collaboration are lacking, integration projects are less successful and may even fail. 

What qualities and characteristics does it take at the individual and enterprise level to be collaborative? Look for these seven qualities: 

Collaboration flourishes when individuals are open-minded, strategic, respectful, communicate effectively, and remain patient with individual competencies. Organizational traits that facilitate collaboration are an orientation towards and expectation for compromise, teamwork, and trustworthiness. 

CIOs and IT leadership should take steps to instill these seven qualities. HR and recruiting leadership should test for these qualities when hiring: open-mindededness, strategic thinking, empathy and respect, effective communication skills, and patience with the professional needs of other competencies. Training programs can also be developed to enhance these characteristics and teach governance approaches and methods that reinforce these individual attributes. Executive level leadership needs to instill the organizational qualities needed for collaboration as well: an attitude and expectation of compromise, dedication to teamwork, and an unquestioned organizational commitment to integrity and ethical behavior leading to trustworthiness.

Organizations that pay serious attention to the need for a collaborative way of working will find that their ERP integration is more effective at the time of ERP implementation and across the ERP lifecycle as new systems are introduced and integrated across the enterprise.