Moran Technology Consulting

Maximizing ERP Lessons Learned in Higher Education: The Role of Governance

This article is part two of a ten-part series that will focus on lessons learned from decades of project and program management within higher education.

In the dynamic landscape of higher education, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) projects play a pivotal role in driving operational efficiency and fostering innovation. However, the success of these projects hinges not only on technological prowess but also on effective governance structures. Here’s how higher education institutions can maximize ERP lessons learned through robust governance practices:


  • Projects require frequent governance, challenging existing structures that aren’t designed for implementation activities.
  • Comprehensive structures contained within the program offer the best opportunities for quick decisions and issue resolution.
  • Provide a clear pathway for decisions by developing a decision matrix that empowers the project team.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of implementation and software partners in the governance structure. Their experience with other clients is vital.


  • Engage decision-makers at the steering level frequently, making them champions and educating them on the project’s scope, schedule, and budget.
  • Sponsors should provide directional support and assist with complex issue resolution, leaving day-to-day management of the program to project team members.
  • Executive sponsorship should rest with the individual(s) ultimately responsible for the project’s success.

Ongoing Governance

  • Transition from project governance to ongoing support before deployment.
  • Explore structures fostering business and technical partnerships responsible for support, maintenance, and continuous improvement.
  • Adopt the rule of thirds for developing staffing estimates for the initial support organization. If the project required 100 full-time resources to deliver, 33 resources for on-going support is a reasonable place to start. These are not necessarily all new positions and may include the reallocation of technical and functional legacy support resources.
  • Allocate resources equally to business, technical, and project management functions.

By implementing robust governance practices, higher education institutions can effectively steer ERP projects towards success, ensuring alignment with organizational objectives and maximizing return on investment. Let’s continue to evolve and innovate in the realm of ERP governance, shaping the future of higher education.

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About the author:

Christopher (Chris) Mercer has over forty years of experience in higher education, including the last twenty-five years consulting as an Executive Program/Project Director/Manager and other leadership roles.  Chris has managed or been engaged in more than four dozen programs\projects during his career.


Moran Technology Consulting is an experienced and proven consulting services provider to higher education. MTC offers a full range of IT and management consulting services. Our consultants have worked with over 320 institutions and conducted over 850 projects across 40+ states and 12 countries.