Who exactly are the Subject Matter Experts in Enterprise software implementation?

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The Project team on the customer side is known by different fancy titles like Subject Matter Experts (SME), Site Champions, and Project Champions.

So, who exactly are the Subject Matter Experts?

Let us first consider an example to make our life easier!

Imagine you are building a new house. You have a big family. The family members have specific needs and expectations from the new home. You will meet the Builder to discuss your needs for the new house. Unfortunately, you cannot get your entire family. So, you selected the responsible family members to represent the interest of the others. These selected family members will work with the Builder to share information about the needs and requirements of the new house. They will review the design and provide feedback to the Builder. They will visit the home during the construction to ensure the development is as per the approved design.

In the enterprise software world, these selected family members are called SMEs.

During the implementation, set staff members representing their department’s interests are called SMEs. In a typical implementation, Finance, Procurement Manager, Manufacturing and Sales Managers form the SME group. The SMEs are responsible for:

  • representing their department
  • provide information about current problems and needs
  • illustrate expectations from the software
  • confirm requirements
  • confirm the solution proposed by the Enterprise software vendor
  • test the solution
  • assist in change management
  • assist in training
  • assist in handover to BAU
  • support continuous improvement

As you can see, it is quite a demanding role. So, as a Project Sponsor, get the best of the best to fill these roles. SMEs form the backbone of the Project team. So, take time and handpick resources that can make the difference!

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