A successful ERP implementation can transform nearly every aspect of your business. Yet, the process isn’t always smooth sailing. 

This is a complex effort that involves everyone across your enterprise. With so many moving parts, there are bound to be some obstacles in your way, but when you anticipate them ahead of time, you can minimize costly overruns. 

Today, we’re looking at some ERP problems and solutions. By taking a proactive approach, you can stay ahead of these issues and tackle them as a team. 

10 ERP Problems and Solutions

1. Weak Project Management​

From initial discovery and planning to post-implementation, your ERP project includes many different phases. To get through them all smoothly, you need a strong project manager at the helm. This leader should have the authority to secure resources and keep each member of the project team on task. 

If your project manager is unable or unwilling to assume this level of responsibility, it may be time to shift roles. When assigning a new person, keep their personality in mind. In this case, their ability to communicate with others is just as important as their technical competencies. 

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. Indecision Over ERP Selection

Before you can dive into implementation, you need to first select the right ERP solution. The only problem? There are hundreds of ERP vendors and many types of ERP systems and deployment models.

With so many choices, it can be difficult to identify the solution that will improve your business processes and help you meet your organizational goals.

An ERP consultant can help you clarify your goals and your digital strategy so you can differentiate between various solutions on the market and make an informed decision.

3. Under-Prioritizing the Planning Stage​

Once you know the ERP platform you want to use, you might be tempted to jump right into the project. Yet, you must devote plenty of time to project planning.

For example, designating process owners is essential. These employees will become involved during the process improvement stage, but they need to be assigned now, so they’re prepared to help improve the processes in their domain.

Without the right parameters in place, you might experience scope creep. It’s important to account for all project activities so you can avoid scope creep, cost overruns, and timeline overruns.

4. Failing to Achieve Organizational Alignment

You could implement one of the top ERP systems but still fall short of meeting your expectations. This happens when you select a system with features that don’t align with your company’s short-term and long-term goals.

We recommend talking to stakeholders across the organization to determine what they need. Where are they currently experiencing pain points, and what do they want the new software to do?

With this information, you can start thinking about overarching project goals and discussing these with the executive team to obtain buy-in.

5. Disorganized Data

Data migration is a necessary step in your ERP implementation, but it can be a complicated one. 

First, you must find your data. Then, you must cleanse it and transfer just what you need. 

The issue? Your data is likely scattered across multiple areas, which may even include different office locations. It might also be full of incomplete or inaccurate records.

It’s important to devote plenty of time and resources to data migration and cleansing to ensure your new system can provide actionable data insights. It’s never too soon to start this process.

6. Not Involving Employees

Focusing too much on the technical components and leaving employees to fend for themselves can stir up feelings of resentment and distrust.

It’s important to keep employees informed at every major milestone, communicating key updates and asking for their involvement. These are integral parts of organizational change management.

By keeping your attention on your team members from the start, you can address any anxieties they may have about the new solution. This way, they’ll be more willing to adopt it once it goes live. 

7. Underestimating Technical Issues

Now, let’s talk about the flip side. It’s also important to thoroughly understand the technical implications of your ERP system.

If you’re not implementing a cloud ERP system, you’ll need to assess the capacity of your in-house servers and related hardware. If they’re older, you may need to purchase and install newer ones. The same goes for your internal network, internet bandwidth, and any mobile devices that your employees use. 

If you’re still using legacy systems, you may need to upgrade them to make sure they’re compatible with your new ERP features. You may be able to minimize some of this effort by opting for an “as-service” hosting solution or a cloud option, depending on your requirements. 

8. Not Asking Vendors Enough Questions

During ERP selection, vendors will advertise and demo their software in a way that piques your interest.

If you don’t ask any questions, you may assume all demoed features will be released by the time your solution goes live. You might be disappointed to find that some are still under development. 

We recommend asking plenty of questions during the vendor discovery phase and never making assumptions. 

9. Signing a Vague Scope of Work

When you’re ready to sign with a vendor and begin work, the vendor should map out every project component along with a detailed price quote. This is called a statement of work. 

Before signing this document, read through it carefully and ensure it’s complete. If anything sounds vague, ask for clarification before moving forward. You should be able to clearly understand all the project deliverables as well as roles and responsibilities.

10. Failing to Continuously Improve

An ERP implementation doesn’t end on your go-live date. Your project team should be committed to closely monitoring the system post-implementation so they can correct any issues and address any new requirements. 

We recommend continuously establishing and measuring KPIs to make sure your system is delivering on expectations and still meeting your needs. Over time, it will inevitably become misaligned with your business needs. By continuously improving, you can maximize the system’s long-term ROI. 

Diligence is the Best Way to Ensure Problems Don’t Snowball

By keeping these ten ERP problems and solutions top of mind, you’ll be ready to face any issue that comes your way. Our ERP consulting team can help you avoid wrong turns and optimize every step of your project. Contact us below for a free consultation.

About the author

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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