It can take anywhere from 9 months to 5 years to select and implement ERP systems based on the size and complexity of an organization. Knowing that, it is amazing to me that so many companies wait until the very last minute – or past it, until they are really hurting before they come to us. There are many reasons why some organizations put off their ERP initiatives, in my years working for an independent consulting firm I have heard all kind of excuses to delay an ERP project, here are some of the most common ones:
The first reason is that ERP implementations are “hard”. I’ve met plenty of IT Directors and CIOs that have prematurely gray hair and a twitch from previous ERP initiatives. The news is filled with nightmare stories of litigation for millions of dollars over failed ERP implementations. In fact, we have clients that insist on extreme discretion because they can lose preferential status as a vendor if word gets out that they are undertaking an ERP initiative.
Companies also worry about the impact on their people. Early in my career, I worked for a Fortune 100 company that moved from completely paper-based operations to an ERP system. My regional center experienced about an 85% reduction in force – it was bizarre moving from 6 floors bustling with people down to one. The reality is that after 30 years, most companies are already using technology in some form or fashion, so massive layoffs are simply not as common. Instead, implementing technology can not only ease workloads by improving efficiency and productivity but can also be an opportunity to expand and enrich job roles.
The biggest reason, of course, is the cost – not just the money, but the time and energy required of internal resources. Selecting, purchasing, and implementing a new ERP system is a huge capex investment, meant to last at least a decade. As I’ve said before, if you make a mistake, it’s going to have long term repercussions so it is in everyone’s best interest to scope the project right from the beginning and avoiding the additional costs of a troubled implementation.
So how can leaders get the confidence to jump in? Consider that ERP initiatives are an opportunity to get past the pain caused by the limitations of your current system. The new ERP solutions enable not only improved efficiency and productivity, but better decision making through cross functional visibility, mobility, B2B and B2C.
Panorama’s philosophy is that ERP initiatives are not only IT projects, but business transformations, because ERP systems touch every aspect of an organization. We’ve found through our experience and via global surveys, that it is a focus on PEOPLE and PROCESS that makes the difference between failure and success. There is no time like the present to use an ERP project to address your people, process, and technology, and take your company to the next level.