In life, there are many things to search for but finding the path to ERP success can be one of the most difficult. This is no exaggeration. According to our 2013 ERP Report, only 60% of respondents would call their ERP project a success. That means that on any given day, 40% of organizations are struggling to find the path to success. That means that they could use some direction.

Let’s begin by defining success. Depending on your organizational goals and objectives, the definition of ERP success may vary. In general, though, a successful ERP implementation is one that achieves a decent return on investment and a high level of benefits realization.

Following are five fundamental tasks that will help your organization find the success it is looking for:

1.   Select ERP software based on functional fit. Don’t choose an ERP system just because it works for your competitors. Consider your organization’s unique business processes and make sure your ERP vendor can deliver a product that meets your organization’s requirements.

2.   Map future state business processes. Your organization should improve, optimize or reengineer its business processes before selecting an ERP system. Although not all processes will need to be improved, your organization should evaluate its current state business processes to look for inefficiencies and identify areas of improvement.

3.   Involve upper-level management. An ERP implementation without executive buy-in will not achieve the benefits your organization expects. Business benefits are achieved when end-users are motivated to learn about and effectively use new software. End-users will not take the implementation seriously if executives haven’t clearly expressed their support.

4.   Don’t cross organizational change management off the list. As tempting as it may be to save money by narrowing project scope, a lack of organizational change management will actually cost your organization more money in the long run. End-users need to be trained and communicated with throughout the ERP implementation in order to minimize resistance to change.

5.   Hire outside experts. Don’t wear your staff out by assigning them so many tasks related to the ERP project that they cannot perform their regular jobs. Consider hiring independent ERP consultants who can help you manage the workload and fill in missing skillsets.

Have you “climbed the highest mountain” and “run through the fields” only to find a low ROI and minimal benefits realization? Before blaming the software, take a few steps back and make sure your organization has conducted the five tasks above and addressed the non-technical aspects of implementation.

Learn more by downloading our on-demand webinar, Lessons Learned From Best-in-Class ERP Implementations.

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