One of the supreme challenges in major systems integration, in fact most projects, is to get senior management to focus on it. You know, dedicate a little of their most precious of resources, their time. Initially they’re excited, full of ideas and suggestions, eager to get the ball rolling on the project. Ready for action.
Over time this dwindles, projects need careful planning, hands on leadership and intricate management. During this period, they may read the wonderfully structure and carefully designed project status report. If you are lucky they may attend the “mandatory” Steering Committee meetings.
Typically they are usually not actively involved nor interested until after during or after the implementation. This is when they can tell you what should have been done differently.
From my reviews of major systems integration projects across a wide array of organisations, there have been a plethora of quotes, what executives have said in hindsight, after the event, once the system has been implemented. Often, these are the same executives that pushed for action (rather than planning), resisted allocating business resources to the project (the business will provide support whatever happens in BAU) or paid little attention to what was happening throughout the project. Ask any project manager and you will get many more examples.
If senior management want to achieve the expected results of a project, they must participate and provide strategic guidance in order for the project to achieve its potential.