A successful ERP implementation can unlock hidden value within your organization. With the right solution and careful planning, you can boost operational efficiency, increase data visibility, and improve the customer experience.

However, it’s important to approach this major transformation with care because many ERP implementation challenges await.

Today, we’re sharing a few of the most common challenges of ERP implementation and the best practices you can use to overcome them.

Top 5 ERP Implementation Challenges

1. Navigating the Project Planning Stage

As soon as your project gets the green light from upper management, your first thought might be to jump directly into software selection. You’ll plan as you go, right?

Horror stories from our computer software expert witness practice have demonstrated just how often companies fail to devote adequate time to project planning.

Without a detailed plan in place, organizations are bound to experience ERP failure. Largely, this is due to what is known as “scope creep.” This can occur if you add more and more processes and functionality to your project scope. It can be time consuming and costly to rework your budget, timeframe, and resources to support the additional work.

In addition to developing a project plan and assembling an ERP project team, you must focus on business process management during the project planning stage . This typically involves looking at your current workflows and identifying pain points and process improvements. Then, you can build a list of business requirements that will guide you in selecting the right ERP solution.

A Failed Payroll System Implementation

Panorama’s Expert Witness team was retained to provide a forensic analysis and written report to the court regarding the failed implementation of a major software developer’s ERP/payroll system.

2. Selecting the Right Technology

With the right foundation in place, you can begin ERP selection.

You’ll soon discover that there are hundreds of different platforms and just as many configuration options.

Overwhelmed, many organizations simply select the solution with the most bells and whistles, even if it includes features they don’t need.

Our software litigation experts will tell you to be wary of selecting a solution based on a slick vendor presentation or because you know a company that purchased a certain platform. Instead, think about what functionality your team actually needs.

This goes back to the project planning phase we discussed earlier. When you know your business requirements, you can select a solution based on this information rather than outside influence.

3. Prioritizing Data Management

ERP software consolidates and centralizes all your business data into one location. However, this visibility is useless if the data isn’t reliable.

Data quality is critical, but addressing this ERP implementation challenge is easier said than done.

Data is usually spread across disparate systems, meaning it’s stored in various formats and ripe with duplication and other inconsistencies.

This is why it’s important to allocate plenty of time to the data migration phase. During this time, you should focus on preparing your data so only clean, useful, and accurate information moves data into the new ERP

4. Ensuring System Usage Among End-Users

While technical ERP implementation challenges can occur in an ERP project, most issues are people-related. Specifically, you may encounter some difficulty in convincing your workforce that this is a beneficial change.

As you overhaul current practices and business operations to make room for new ones, you’re asking employees to shift their mindsets. This can be a jarring proposition, and you will encounter pushback.

Developing an organizational change management plan before software selection can lay the groundwork for continuous communication, resistance management, and employee training.

By focusing on the people-side of the change, you can avoid costly downtime and maximize the return on your software investment.

5. Optimizing Project Management

From the initial discovery phase to ongoing post-launch updates, an ERP implementation project includes many stages that each bring their own set of challenges. As such, you’ll need a competent project management team at the helm.

The right project manager can keep everyone on task, on time, and on budget. They can also make sure that all stakeholders are actively participating in project design and development activities.

This type of oversight requires both people skills and project management skills. A project manager should be able to communicate easily, listen well, and make informed decisions that keep your company’s mission top of mind.

Lay a Strong Foundation

When implementing an ERP system, it can be difficult to anticipate everything that might go wrong.

However, the planning is worth the effort. When you plan for ERP implementation challenges, you can face them with confidence when they arise.

Our ERP consulting company can help you develop a project plan that prevents ERP failure. Contact us below for a free ERP consultation.

About the author

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As Director of Panorama’s Expert Witness Practice, Bill oversees all expert witness engagements. In addition, he concurrently provides oversight on a number of ERP selection and implementation projects for manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, and public sector clients.

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