On the heels of Monday’s post, Five Critical Success Factors for ERP Implementations, we thought it would be pertinent also to present a list of some of the critical errors organizations (or consultants) can make in an ERP implementation. Bear in mind, that this is in no way a complete list — the errors made in ERP projects are as unique as the organizations who implement (or fail to implement) the solutions — but it will hopefully give you a good overview of some of the chief ones we see:
1. Lack of resources. ERP implementations are all too frequently derailed by organizations providing too few dollars, people and hours to adequately select and implement the system, communicate with and train the users, and oversee the business process improvements. A solid business case can help organizations understand the resources they will need to dedicate to the project to avoid ERP failure.
2. Rushed implementations. An ERP system can be “installed” in a matter of weeks; what takes time is choosing the right software, changing the business processes to gain the most operational leverage and ensuring that people are going to use it in way that best benefits the organization. Organizations that think of ERP implementations as a task that will take the IT department no more than a few months to deliver are missing the point of an ERP system, and will likely rue the day they ever embarked on the project.
3. Choosing the wrong staff members to lead the project. We get it: people have enough work on their plates without adding an enormous ERP implementation to the mix. But organizations that don’t carefully select the top people to manage the myriad tasks of an ERP implementation (and backfill their positions to allow them to better focus on the task at hand), run the risk of ERP ruin. ERP is a company-wide initiative and thus, organizations must harness the collective insight and intellect of key stakeholders from across the company to make it work.
4. Not having a proper escalation and decision-making framework. ERP initiatives require an incalculable amount of decisions, and organizations must have the proper methodologies in place to handle the thousands of wants, needs and requirements they will have to weigh. This process is key to ERP success, and must be determined in the initial stages of the project.
5. Ignoring the needs of the end-users. Without adequately supported, trained and educated end-users, even the greatest ERP system on earth will wither on the vine. Efforts must be made to engage and align end-users from day one of implementation. Ignoring this critical task is a surefire way to fail.
So, why are errors so common in ERP implementations? It’s simple: businesses that implement ERP aren’t in the ERP business. It’s a project of such extreme magnitude and importance, yet its management typically is foreign to even highly experienced executives. This is why Panorama exists. Find out more about our ERP service offerings or contact us to discuss your organization’s specific needs.