It might just be that you’ve heard of failed ERP implementations more often than you’ve heard of success stories.

That might indeed be because of the fact that we humans have a natural bias toward the negative and a natural predisposition towards skepticism.

This tendency, however, very much translates to other areas of our livelihood, and perhaps nowhere as evident as in business. As one can deduce from some of the highly publicized ERP failures, such as it was the case with Nike or Hershey’s, no company, regardless of size and notoriety stands above a potential ERP failure.

If there’s one conclusion to deduce from this, it is the fact that ERP implementations are serious feats, and that a half-hearted commitment to such projects likely would cause quite the disruption in your business’ inner workings without a good ROI.

How should you look at ERP failures?

Take it from a team of professionals and believe us when we say these things don’t just happen. They are not the result of bad luck as some ERP providers would have one convinced as soon as they would see the implementation not going according to plan. These are simply the results of one or multiple miscalculations.

Causes ERP failures

Think about it for a minute... In your experience, what is it that usually makes the difference between something becoming a success or a failure? If there are a few points popping up in your mind, then that’s probably your idea of a framework that has typically led you to success or failure.

This same approach holds true for ERP implementations - certain ways of approaching implementations end up attaining the desired outcomes, while others lead to creating more issues than the company’s technical infrastructure had in the first place.

How exactly does one steer away from a disastrous ERP implementation?

By making sure the following aspects have been thoughtfully dealt with from the very beginning:

  • A clear-cut strategy has been set that mirrors the overall needs of the company;
  • The technology you employ supports your business model, not the other way around
  • Your company’s representatives have reasonable objectives concerning the implementation process of your ERP

What typically complicates ERP implementations?

As it is with everything, some things present more of a challenge than others, and as far as ERP projects are concerned, an experienced provider would be able to tell you the areas you would need to pay special attention to from the start so that you can achieve a sound implementation.

Here are the top 3 challenges that can usually emerge as an ERP project is being set up

  • data migration - meaning the mapping and transfer of the data as well as the clean-up of whatever no longer has any relevance to the direction the business is going, and, thus, to its core operating model.
  • sloppy communication with the system implementer - meaning that there’s a severe disconnect between your staff and those in charge of the ERP implementation in terms of what needs to be accomplished as per a specified timeline and business requirements
  • unprepared or out-of-the-loop staff - meaning that the employees whose company is facing a digital transformation, for various reasons, are not up to speed with how the process is taking shape resulting in unnecessary slowdowns at best and major system failures and resistance at worst.

Do You Have a Clear Plan for Your ERP implementation?

The best you can do to ensure that you don’t accidentally impede your ERP implementation process is to have a clear view of how your business goals and the technology you want to bring onboard to support these goals are or will be aligned.

It’ll be a costly mistake to give the green light to a project under the assumption that these two essential components will somehow align on their own. They won’t unless you have set a strategy in place clearly pointing out what it is expected in terms of functionality from merging the two.

In addition to this, it would also be reckless on the part of the business owner to completely rely on the opinion of the ERP provider as far as the business requirements go. After all, you as a business owner are the expert of your company, not the ERP provider.