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DiscussionWhen an ERP implementation is headed for failure, the warning signs are present early in the implementation process. Unfortunately, this is when warning signs are most likely to go unnoticed. Often, it’s not until a week before go-live that organizations realize they should have set more realistic project goals. If your organization can maintain realistic expectations throughout implementation, you will be more likely to achieve expected business benefits and a high return on investment.

Following are four tips for setting goals and expectations when implementing a new ERP system:

1.   Communication is key. Ensure that your project team has a clear understanding of expected timeline, budget, business benefits and ROI. Regularly meet with executives to keep them up to date on issues that might affect expected results.

2.   Regularly adjust expectations. Monitor the project and adjust expectations as necessary. Your organization should reevaluate goals, adjust project timeline and alter resource allocation as needed throughout implementation. This ensures that future milestones are not adversely affected by delays and missteps at the beginning of the project.

3.   Don’t cut back on ERP success factors. Organizational change management and business process reengineering are critical ERP success factors that your organization should account for when developing project strategy, budget and timeline.

4.   Refer to benchmark data and expert advice. Benchmark against organizations of similar size within your industry to ensure that your expectations are realistic. Objective project assessments from an independent third-party can go a long way, so be sure you find a consultant who can provide this type of oversight and validation.

Setting realistic expectations requires an investment of time, resources and money, but the payoff occurs when your organization achieves all its expected benefits and experiences ERP success.