When it comes to implementing new ERP software, it’s hard to know what to expect and you never know when a guy in a Michael Myers mask is going to come around the corner with a chainsaw (you never know if and when your ERP project could go completely off its projected course). Most executives worry about not realizing the potential benefits of their ERP implementation. When executives make an investment, they expect to get that investment back in the form of increased efficiency and ROI.
According to our 2015 ERP Report, most ERP implementations fail because they cost more than expected or take more time than expected. Also, the majority of projects fail to deliver the expected business benefits. This is where it is nice to have the pros take over. They can show you the tips and tricks to ensure that your ERP implementation is a success.
Here are a few tips to ensure maximum benefits realization from your ERP software:
- It’s okay to shoot for the stars. Rather than operating out of fear – whether it be fear of the project failing or fear of losing your job – try aiming for something even higher, such as delivering a set of business processes and related ERP functionality that will take your business to the next level. This mentality can and should affect every aspect of the project, such as where you focus your time and resources, how to bridge the gap between new technology and your employees and other critical mindsets that will ultimately make your project more successful.
- Put your focus on your people, not your technology. Don’t get caught up in the technological aspects of the implementation. ERP vendors invest billions of dollars per year in R&D to make the cool bells and whistles even cooler, but at the end of the day, the success (or failure) of your project won’t have anything to do with these technical features. Instead, it will come down to how well you handle business process reengineering and organizational change management – the two most important success factors for any ERP implementation.
- Don’t underestimate the cost, time and effort required for your ERP implementation. While it is important to not become too focused on implementation time and duration, you also have to remember that you will never achieve your expected business benefits and ROI if you don’t make it through your ERP project alive. When developing your project plan, don’t take your ERP vendors’ proposed project plans and estimated costs at face value. Instead, benchmark to other organizations, get someone – other than the vendor – to estimate your project’s time and cost and develop a plan and budget that makes sense for your organization. Setting realistic expectations early is the first step toward a ROI-driven and successful ERP implementation.
- Understand where the finish line really is. Just as marathon runners know that they are in for a 26-mile haul versus a 400-meter sprint, successful ERP implementers know where the finish line really is. Most organizations go into their ERP implementations with the expectation that they are going to implement everything that their new ERP systems have to offer. However, due to inadequate and misestimated time, budget and resources, most organizations end up quitting the race early and never realizing that expected functionality.
- Focus on the long-term alignment between your business and your new ERP system. To take point #4 one step further, successful organizations don’t ever really “end” their ERP implementations. Instead, they focus on ensuring alignment as their businesses evolves over time. The organizations that don’t institute this depth of focus end up experiencing misalignment between their business operations and technology – ultimately leading to a premature need to replace their systems. One of the ways we help our clients create this actionable philosophy within their organizations is to implement an ERP center of excellence that focuses on continuously improving and keeping their ERP systems aligned over time.
For more tips for ERP success, download our white paper, Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation.