How to Set Up a Transformation Office for a Successful ERP Implementation

April, 2024

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are complex and powerful software solutions that integrate and automate various business processes across an organization. They can provide significant benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity, data quality, and customer satisfaction. However, implementing an ERP system is not a simple task. It requires a substantial investment of time, money, and resources, and it involves a major change in the way the organization operates. Therefore, it is crucial to plan and manage the ERP implementation project carefully and strategically, to avoid common pitfalls and risks, and to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved.

One of the best practices for managing a large-scale ERP implementation project is to set up a transformation office (TO). A TO is a dedicated team of experts and stakeholders that oversees and coordinates the various aspects of the ERP implementation, from the initial planning and design to the final testing and deployment. The TO acts as a central hub of communication, collaboration, and decision-making, and ensures that the project is aligned with the organization’s vision, goals, and priorities. The TO also monitors and controls the project’s progress, performance, quality, and risks and provides guidance and support to the project teams and the end users.

This report aims to provide an overview of the purpose and objective of a TO, the roles and responsibilities of each of the members, and initial guidance on sizing of the team. It is intended for organizations that are planning or undergoing a large-scale ERP implementation and want to make sure it is successful.

Purpose and Objective of a Transformation Office

The main purpose of a TO is to facilitate and enable the successful implementation of an ERP system in an organization. The TO does this by performing the following functions:

    • Establishing and maintaining the program’s vision, scope, objectives, and benefits
    • Defining and implementing the program’s governance, methodology, and standards
    • Prioritizing, planning, and allocating the program’s resources, budget, and schedule
    • Managing and resolving the program’s issues, risks, and changes that cannot be handled by the PMO
    • Coordinating and integrating the program’s activities, deliverables, and dependencies across individual projects within the program
    • Communicating and reporting the program’s status, progress, and outcomes to the relevant stakeholders
    • Ensuring the program’s quality, compliance, and security
    • Supporting and enabling the program’s change management, training, and adoption
    • Evaluating and measuring the program’s performance, value, and benefits realization

The main objective of a TO is to ensure that the ERP implementation program is delivered on time, on budget, and on quality, and that it meets or exceeds the expectations and needs of the organization and its stakeholders. The TO also aims to ensure that the ERP system is fully integrated, functional, and operational and that it delivers the intended benefits and value to the organization.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Transformation Office

A TO is composed of various roles and responsibilities, depending on the size, complexity, and nature of the ERP implementation program. However, some of the common and essential roles and responsibilities are:

  • Transformation director: Seasoned leader who oversees the entire office. Responsibilities include:
    • Defining the overall transformation strategy
    • Aligning projects with business objectives
    • Overseeing change management initiatives
    • Regular executive stakeholder engagement
    • Budget and resource management for the TO itself
  • Change management lead: Dedicated focus on anticipating and addressing the impact on people and processes. Tasks include:
    • Communication strategy across the organization
    • Training design and deployment with the business
    • Resistance management and adoption tactics
  • Benefits realization lead: Tracks and measures the promised benefits of the ERP transformation. Duties typically involve:
    • Designing a benefits realization framework at the start
    • Setting clear KPI baselines and targets
    • Ongoing monitoring of benefits vs. targets
    • Reporting and communicating progress to stakeholders
  • Project interdependency/integration lead: Manages the complex web of connections between individual ERP projects and tracks their impact. They work on:
    • Identifying potential bottlenecks and conflicts
    • Facilitating coordination and prioritization
    • Providing visibility into cross-project dependencies
  • Technical/data lead (optional): Might be included if extensive custom development or complex data migration is involved. Focuses on:
    • Overseeing the technical architecture of the solution
    • Ensuring data integrity and migration strategies

Guidance on Sizing of a Transformation Office

The size of a TO depends on various factors, such as the size, complexity, and nature of the ERP implementation initiative, the organization’s structure, culture, and resources, and the ERP vendor’s capabilities, support, and involvement. However, there are some rules of thumb for sizing a transformation office. A TO should be as small as possible, but as large as necessary, to ensure the optimal balance between efficiency, effectiveness, and agility. A TO should also have a clear and well-defined structure, roles, and responsibilities, to ensure the clarity, accountability, and collaboration of the team members. Additionally, it is important have a diverse and complementary mix of skills, expertise, and experience, to ensure the quality, functionality, and value of the ERP system. Finally, A TO should have a high level of commitment, engagement, and empowerment to ensure the ownership and leadership of the ERP implementation project.

For a large program, consider this as a starting point, noting that the size of the team can flex up or down depending on how specialized each role is.

Screenshot 2024 04 19 at 2.15.44 PM - How to Set Up a Transformation Office for a Successful ERP Implementation

Apart from traditional hiring, explore opportunities for talent development and internal mobility to build a sustainable pipeline of transformation expertise within the organization.

In a mature organization that has already established their TO, the following enhancements to the key roles will help to provide more robust leadership to the overall program.

    1. Transformation director (TD):
        • Enhancements:
          • In addition to overseeing the office, the TD should foster a culture of innovation and collaboration within the transformation team.
          • Implement a regular review process to ensure the transformation strategy remains aligned with evolving business objectives.
          • Establish a feedback mechanism to gather insights from stakeholders at all levels, ensuring continuous improvement.
          • Spearhead the development of a risk management framework to proactively identify and mitigate potential obstacles to the transformation journey.
    2. Change management lead:
        • Enhancements:
          • Develop tailored communication plans for different stakeholder groups to ensure information is disseminated effectively and received positively.
          • Implement a robust feedback loop mechanism to gauge the effectiveness of change initiatives and adapt strategies accordingly.
          • Utilize advanced analytics to anticipate resistance points and tailor change interventions for maximum impact.
          • Foster a culture of continuous learning and development within the organization to support ongoing change efforts.
    3. Benefits realization lead:
        • Enhancements:
          • Implement a dynamic benefits realization framework that allows for real-time tracking and adjustment of KPIs based on evolving business priorities.
          • Leverage predictive analytics to forecast potential benefits and proactively address any deviations from the expected outcomes.
          • Establish a cross-functional benefits realization team to ensure alignment across different business units and functions.
          • Develop comprehensive training programs to build capabilities around benefits tracking and realization across the organization.
    4. Project interdependency / integration lead:
        • Enhancements:
          • Implement a centralized project dependency management system to provide real-time visibility into interdependencies and facilitate proactive resolution of conflicts.
          • Establish regular collaboration forums involving project teams to identify synergies and streamline interdependent activities.
          • Develop contingency plans for critical dependencies to minimize the impact of potential delays or disruptions.
          • Utilize advanced project management techniques such as agile methodologies to enhance flexibility and responsiveness in managing interdependencies.
    5. Technical/data lead (if needed):
        • Enhancements:
          • Implement a robust governance framework to ensure data integrity and compliance with regulatory requirements throughout the transformation process.
          • Leverage emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning to optimize data migration strategies and enhance the overall efficiency of technical implementations.
          • Foster cross-functional collaboration between technical and business teams to ensure alignment of technical solutions with business objectives.
          • Develop a road map for continuous innovation in technical capabilities to future-proof the ERP system and adapt to evolving business needs.

Additional Considerations for Transformation Offices

      • Skillsets:
        • Look for experienced professionals in their fields. Prior ERP project experience, especially in the specific industry, is extremely beneficial.
      • Reporting structure:
        • The TO will likely report to a program steering committee comprised of key stakeholders. Make sure expectations and communication channels are clear from the start.
      • Relationship to PMO:
        • While having a separate PMO makes sense, establish robust communication between them and the TO. Conflicts and resource constraints will happen; have a process for escalation and resolution.
      • Use of consultants: 
        • Depending on the internal capabilities, organizations may consider external consulting firms to supplement TO staffing -– especially for niche skills such as benefits tracking or specialized change management expertise.
      • Evolution
        • The TO’s structure may change as the ERP program progresses. Start with the core roles, then add resources as specific needs become evident.
      • Tooling
        • Consider using software tools specifically designed for transformation management. This helps with communication, benefits tracking, and overall visibility.
      • Holistic integration
        • Ensure seamless integration between the Transformation Office and other organizational units such as the PMO, ensuring alignment of goals and priorities.
        • Foster a collaborative partnership between internal teams and external consultants, leveraging complementary expertise to drive successful transformation outcomes.
      • Continuous improvement:
        • Establish a culture of continuous improvement within the TO, encouraging team members to seek out opportunities for innovation and optimization.
        • Implement regular performance reviews and feedback mechanisms to identify areas for enhancement and celebrate successes along the transformation journey.
      • Adaptive governance:
        • Develop an adaptive governance framework that allows for flexibility and agility in decision-making while ensuring accountability and compliance with organizational standards.
        • Foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among team members, enabling them to take calculated risks and explore innovative solutions to complex challenges.
      • Technology enablement:
        • Leverage advanced technologies such as cloud computing and advanced analytics to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of transformation initiatives.
        • Invest in training and development programs to build technical capabilities within the TO, enabling team members to leverage emerging technologies effectively.
      • Stakeholder engagement:
        • Develop a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy that encompasses regular communication, feedback mechanisms, and tailored engagement initiatives to ensure alignment and buy-in across all levels of the organization.

By enhancing the roles and responsibilities outlined in the Transformation Office and considering additional factors such as staffing, integration, continuous improvement, adaptive governance, technology enablement, and stakeholder engagement, the organization can effectively navigate the complexities of a large-scale ERP implementation and drive sustainable business transformation.


A TO is a key factor for the success of a large-scale ERP implementation program. It provides the vision, direction, strategy, governance, coordination, communication, and support for the project, and ensures its alignment, integration, quality, and value. A TO also facilitates and enables the change management, training, and adoption of the ERP system and ensures its benefits and value realization. A TO should be carefully and strategically designed, staffed, and managed to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness. A TO should also be flexible and adaptable to respond to the changing needs and expectations of the organization and its stakeholders.

By Ruth Steinberg, Principal & ERP Practice Lead, Avasant