ERP implementations have often been a mystery to many. Despite how long ERP systems have been around, ERP consultants, system integrators and implementing organizations have yet to crack the code on how to make their initiatives successful.
Much of the problem lies with inaccurate assumptions that propagate themselves over time. The same ERP consultants and system integrators that have failed in the past are the same ones reassuring organizations that they can make their implementations successful.
The good news? There are plenty of organizations that have dispelled these myths and experienced successful ERP implementations as a result. Many of our clients have learned that the following five myths are NOT accurate and are more likely to lead to failure:
Myth #1: Your software selection consultant can’t also implement your ERP software. Some organizations still take the old school approach of segregating the consultant they use for software selection from the one used for implementation. This made sense back before independent consulting firms, but now having separate consulting firms handle different phases of your project leads to higher implementation costs, longer timelines and overall higher costs since it requires new teams to relearn your business each time there is a change. There are higher caliber consultants focused on the business aspects of successful implementations in addition to the technical (see myth #3 below), so be sure to carefully consider those alternatives.
Myth #2: Your ERP implementer needs to be a VAR or software vendor. For a long time, ERP system implementers have assumed that they had to find a system integrator or VAR specializing in the chosen software. However, this myopic view has led to many failures in the past – largely because a system integrator’s competencies in the functional and technical aspects of the software solution are least likely to determine the success or failure of a project. Instead, be sure to look at your entire portfolio of options before backing yourself into a corner with a partner that may be brilliant at configuring and implementing their software, but not so good at making the software work for your business. Companies such as Panorama provide the best of both worlds: a broad base of experience combined with resources that specialize in the various ERP systems available in the market.
Myth #3: Technical proficiency is the most important aspect of implementation. Despite the relative unimportance to overall success, organizations have historically dwelled too much on the technical competencies of their implementing partners. They looked for system integrators and consultants that were technical whizzes and knew the software better than anyone, but couldn’t reengineer a business process, manage a project or manage organizational change to save their lives. As we see with our own implementation clients and expert witness engagements, business competency is far more important than technical specialization. Instead of focusing too much on technical knowledge of your chosen ERP system, be sure to look for consultants that take a big picture view of successful ERP implementations, including business process reengineering, organizational change management and project management.
Bottom line: there are far more options available in the market today than there were in years past. There are consulting firms with the ability to provide viable options that increase your odds for success rather than trying more of the same tactics that have led to so many failures in years past.
To learn more, download our white paper, Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation.