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ERP Implementation Failure: The Good  (part 2)

ERP Implementation Failure: The Good (part 2)

ERP Implementation Failure (cont.) - now let's review THE GOOD

In part 1 of this ERP implementation failure blog on the subject, we looked into THE BAD and THE UGLY side of what can go wrong.  Now let's look at THE GOOD side of what a successful implementation looks like and what to do to prepare for success. These findings have come from over 20 years of experience working with ERP customers who had failures and successes with ERP implementations.  We also work closely with the ERP consultants "the ERP heroes" who are key to helping businesses with a successful ERP implementation.

ERP Implementation to avoid it!

There are several things that usually need to happen to ensure a successful implementation. In our experience, finding the right ERP consultant that has experience with your type of business and industry.  Here's a list of some other things that we've found over the years that will help you prepare for success.  We hope this helps you avoid being held back by fear of failure and to avoid becoming another ERP implementation failure statistic!


  • ERP consultant selection:  Most companies who try to implement themselves with their own IT dept. or Are you working with an ERP consultant?  Do they have enough experience with your existing and new ERP?  Do they have experience with your type of business and solutions?   What ideas and suggestions do they bring to the table to help address the unique challenges you face?  Do they have references and success stories of working with other businesses that are similar to yours?  Having a consultant that will help guide you trough the process is usually essential to having success!
  • ERP needs assessment or business process assessment:  When it comes to finding a new ERP system, it's important to do your homework within your company to find out what are the current pain points of the existing system. Each department will offer up very different requirements and priorities.  A thorough needs assessment is meant to tie in all the stakeholders of different departments to ensure their pains will be solved and their wish lists for what they would like to have and need from a new system are addressed.  Often, ERP consultants will help with this needs assessment as part of a service they offer to make sure the ERP systems they represent will be a good fit for your business.  
  • ERP software selection:  Researching ERP software can be a difficult and daunting task.  Our firm, ERPVAR, specializes in helping growing businesses find a reputable ERP consultant or VAR (value added reseller).  Other sources for you could be talking to other companies in your industry with similar business models about what they are using and finding out about their overall satisfaction levels.  Resources like this website Software Advice, can also be helpful. Get involved with the publisher of any top running ERP and ask them about any ERP consultant you are considering. Make sure you find out what success stories, support, training and other resources like software User Groups, Online Communities or Customer Conferences they have available.   
  • Long-term growth goals & functionality requirements:  Keep in mind, your current requirements may not be in line of your future requirements.  Take a look into what may be your growth path and look into the new ERP solution to make sure it's scalable. For example, you may not need shipping software now. However, as your business grows, you may need help with more help with shipping automation.  If you have multiple locations or plan to expand locations later, you might consider whether or not you need on-premise or a cloud ERP software solution.
  • Custom or 3rd party add-ons:  Shipping software or bar-coding or EDI are common requirements that come up as typical distribution or manufacturing type of business grows.  We mentioned earlier that it's important to make sure your new ERP solution is scalable.  One part of scalability is considering what developers have designed 3rd party solutions that add functionality to the overall ERP system.  Some ERPs that have been around for 20+ years have hundreds and hundreds of 3rd party add-on options to choose from but don;t wait to find out later if you are limited.  
  • Top down & cross departmental buy in:  It's all hands on deck! ERP implementations have often been described as having a full blown heart transplant and then just about every organ also transplanted all at once. It all sounds too painful!  It's disruptive, costly, and the more buy-in you have from the owner, management, from the end-users and the from IT department then the more you will be set up for success. The needs assessment ensures that you get the buy-in from each dept who will be access or relying on the new system.
  • Setting expectations and keeping on track with project management & change management:  Setting the right expectations and goals with project management help keep all the parts of the implementation on time and on budget.  This requires someone to be tracking progress and reporting on any changes or new requests that come up. Usually, this requires an internal ERP implementation advocate along with working with an ERP consultant who's done these types of implementations hundreds of times. 
  • Plan to go over budget:  Yes, just like anything that offers the promise to do great things for your business, setting up the new ERP software and the learning curve that will take place may take more of an investment than originally planned.  If you are careful to manage any additional requests that come up along the way, you may just keep inside your budget.  However, once you get into the new ERP system and get to understand it's capabilities more closely, you may want to take advantage of more bells and whistles than originally planned.  Staying in good contact with the person in charge of moving the budget line is important!  
  • What is your go live plan?  This is important to cover with your internal teams once you've discussed the best implementation strategies with your ERP consultant.  It's essential that once you have the switch flipped over to the new system, that you are prepared for any emergency that may occur.  For instance, will you be able to ship or take orders if the system is down?  Here are few other questions to address; Are you going to run both systems in parallel for a month or so?  Are going to install your new software in a sandbox environment?  Is your implementation strategy to a "Big Bang or Phased-Roll-Out?"
  • Data conversion: When it comes to deciding what data to bring into the new ERP system, it's important to understand the cost of a data conversion and the quality of the historical and current data in the old system. Garbage in - garbage out!   What data are you going to move over?  Does your data need to be cleaned up, first?
  • Ongoing support & training:  Finally, once your new system is "fully" implemented it's important to consider it a work in progress and not a final finish line to cross.  if you have a great ERP consultant, you will find them to be a trusted business advisor for a long time.  Make sure you keep them posted and in the loop as future requirements pop up!  Also, be sure to look into the publishers training and support options.  Does the publisher offer any local user groups, online communities, customer conferences, or self-help resources or tutorials? 

We hope this helps you more prepared to avoid an ERP implementation failure.  We are available to answer any questions you may have about getting started with your ERP selection process. 

Contact us to learn more about a qualified ERP consultant in your area - 888-253-6705!  We look forward to starting a discussion with you.

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ERPVAR is committed to providing customers evaluating ERP systems with personal and professional guidance you with your evaluation. Our goal is to enable ERP customers with the right information and the best ERP consulting team to help with your growth goals. Contact us today to benefit from our combined 40 years of ERP industry experience.

Contact us to learn more about a qualified ERP consultant in your area - 888-253-6705!  We look forward to starting a discussion with you.

About Author: Kathy Graham, is a partner and co-founder with over 19 years in working in the ERP community as an ERP partner advocate and channel manager.  It all began with Sage working for 8 years starting in 1997, Avalara for 3 years and Intuit for the last 4 years ending in June 2012. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Penn State University with an extensive research and writing background. Her strong ERP VAR relationships, experience, training and commitment to the channel are great assets for customers looking for ERP consultants and ERP partners and ERP solutions to work take their business to the next level.

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