Urban myths and other misconceptions can kill a digital transformation initiative. Even worse, ironically the enterprise software industry fuels misinformation in its quest to sell more software.
Talk to any organization that has implemented new enterprise software, and you’ll find that they all have most likely stumbled on some of the same common challenges. Some of these mistakes are predicated on things that “sound good” at the time, or represent what people want to believe to be the case with their ERP implementations. After all, who doesn’t want to believe that their implementation will be cheap and easy?
The good news is that we’ve studied hundreds of implementations over our 12 years in business, in both our own digital transformation experience with our clients, as well as our research into what others have gone through. There are some elemental truths that dispel many of these common myths. Here is a countdown of the top 5 urban myths to avoid in your digital transformation:
5. Your project can be implemented quickly, inexpensively and easily.
This may be the most common trap, but it is also one that organizations are beginning to figure out. These projects are never easy – and they are not supposed to be thought of as being easy. It is important that you realistically estimate how much time, money, and resources will be required for your project, which may mean adding several doses of reality to the project plan proposed by your ERP vendor or system integrator. It will also require you to plan for things outside your vendor’s purview, such as process mapping, organizational change, and data migration.
4. Organizational change, training, and communication won’t be a challenge for you.
Most organizations seem to understand that organizational change management is a common challenge with ERP implementations. However, many of these same teams think that they are different or that this risk doesn’t apply to them. Maybe they think that their team is ready for the change, so getting them to adapt won’t be a problem. Or perhaps they think that they will simply mandate the change and things will be fine. Whatever the case, it is important to recognize that no matter what your organization does or what your team looks like, organizational change management is going to be a challenge.
3. Your assigned VAR, system integrator or consultant must be the ones to lead your implementation.
Companies often paint themselves into a corner with their ERP vendors or system integrator during implementation. In other words, they assume that there is some sort of requirement to use whatever third-party that they might be interacting with. But, it’s important to recognize that this is your project and that you control the tempo of the game. This includes which outside resources you use, what methodologies you use, and how you manage the overall implementation. This also means that you may want to hire a competent and proven third-party implementation consultant, such as Panorama Consulting, to manage your project. Your outside vendor most likely has good inputs to consider, but they should not be the end all, be all in your process.
2. There is no need to document your current state business processes.
This is a common fallacy, based on what we want to believe, regardless of whether or not it’s aligned with reality. It’s also fueled by software vendors who overstate the capabilities of their software by suggesting that you shouldn’t spend time worrying about your current business processes. It may not be a strength of your software vendor or integrator – and it may not be something they are interested in helping you with – but understanding your current state business processes is a critical part of the business process management that needs to happen on your project. This will also aid your organizational change management efforts.
1. Software best practices will make your implementation easier.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just flip the switch on your new technology and experience smooth sailing from there? The simple fact is that modern day ERP software is too flexible to contain “out of the box” functionality to speed up your implementation process. If anything, the robustness and complexity of today’s leading software options are actually making implementations more difficult; not less. Be leery of suggestions that offer “industry pre-configurations” or “out of the box functionality that will make things easier for you”. This is a very dangerous assumption that can lead to significant downstream implications throughout your project.
These aren’t the only five to consider, but they are the most important ones based on my experience. Which of these have you experienced, or what other traps have you fallen into? I’d love to hear your comments below!
These are just a few of the dozens of warning signs that you need to watch for in your project. If you’re worried that your project is already off track, then don’t worry: contact me to learn more about our ERP project recovery services to help get your project back on the rails.