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We’ve all heard stories about the challenges and risks of ERP implementations – the success stories, the failures, the advancements and a variety of other pros and cons. However, there are a handful of things you may not know about ERP software. Here are five in particular:

1. ERP systems don’t need to be unpredictable. Our 2016 ERP Report shows that most ERP implementations cost more than expected, take longer than anticipated and fail to deliver expected business benefits. However, some enterprise software initiatives turn out better than expected. These organizations aren’t just lucky – they manage and control their initiatives more effectively than others.

2. There are plenty of ERP software options available in the market. As our recent Clash of the Titans report shows, the top tier of ERP systems has evolved to include not only SAP and Oracle, but also Microsoft Dynamics and Infor. This suggests that more systems are capable of handling the size and complexity of everything from small, single-location organizations to large, multi-national organizations. In addition to the Tier I ERP systems, there are a variety of Tier II, Tier III and industry-specific solutions available in the market, which provides exponentially more options than were available just five years ago.

3. ERP implementations don’t need to be as difficult as you make them. Most ERP failures are self-inflicted. Too many project teams and ERP consultants overlook important details, focus too much on software configuration, don’t spend enough time on business process reengineering or organizational change management, and make a variety of other mistakes that are avoided with experience. Things like a proven methodology, toolset and experience base can all make your ERP implementation much simpler than most.

4. ERP failures rarely have anything to do with the actual software. When projects do fail, causes of failure rarely have anything (or very little) to do with the software, the way it is configured or defects in the system. Instead, projects typically struggle due to lack of organizational change management, too little focus on business process reengineering and a plethora of other mistakes. So, instead of emphasizing a project team’s technical or functional experience with a system, it is more important to choose your project and consulting teams based on business, organizational change and project management acumen – skillsets that most organizations tend to underestimate.

5. There are strategies that can make your ERP implementation successful. As outlined in point #1, ERP success and failure is not left to chance. Instead, successful organizations understand important concepts, such as understanding short-term versus long-term costs, developing realistic plans and budgets, investing in critical success factors and aligning their ERP initiatives with their overarching enterprise and IT strategies. Look for a proven consulting partner – not just a reseller or VAR that specializes in your chosen software – to make your project successful.

Already knew all these facts? Now, it’s time to apply them, and make your ERP software initiative a success.

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