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Why Your ERP Implementation Was Unsuccessful

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Written by Laura Schomaker

May 15, 2021

You took the leap and implement a new ERP in your company. Things went well through the planning stage (or so it seemed) and you began what you thought would be a successful implementation, only to have it crash and burn. Why was your implementation unsuccessful? Where were there missteps? Having a successful ERP implementation is more than possible. Let’s look at where you made some mistakes, and how you can get it right.  

Top Roadblocks to a Successful ERP Implementation 

You didn’t have realistic expectations. 

Yes, ERP changes things, but it’s not a magic wand that is going to turn any business from a mom-and-pop to a Fortune 500 company overnight. Establish a clear set of goals that fit in realistically with your business, then seek an ERP solution that can help make those goals happen. Defining benchmarks for success can help here and give you clear indicators of whether an implementation has been a success.  

You didn’t align the solution with existing in-house practices. 

One-size-fits-all ERP is available and can be an affordable option. But an ERP does its work best when it aligns with your existing practices. Divide and conquer this by asking individual departments during the selection process to define their core practices and where they see room for improvement, then see how an ERP can fit into that. The right ERP consultant can be an invaluable tool during this early stage of implementation, making sure that you know what ERP can do and where it can fit in realistically at your business.  

 You didn’t train your employees well enough.  

ERP implementation is transformational for your employees. This isn’t figurative, it’s literal — your employees will have an entirely different way to work and structure their day. Insufficient training is one of the fastest ways to have an ERP implementation fail. Make sure you allow all users to be thoroughly trained and that they clearly understand the reasoning behind taking on this new technology. Then, ERP can do its job.  

Your C-suite wasn’t invested in the transition to ERP. 

Even if you onboard most your employees, your ERP implementation will probably fail if key stakeholders at the C-suite level are not with the program. Yes, your company’s day-to-day workflow may have adapted to the new system, but if the decisions from above don’t take the ERP and its processes into account, you will eventually have conflict and bottlenecks. Get your execs and management on board to ensure the best ERP implementation possible.  

You didn’t give enough thought to security.  

Finally, one more significant reason ERP implementations often fail is because not enough thought was given to data and system security. Give careful consideration to user access and only assign access to business-critical data as needed. Avoid a “Frankenstein” system, too, that patches together redundant software. Replicating data across multiple solutions is a sure-fire way to make an ERP implementation a failure and a security risk.  

While complex, an ERP implementation can easily avoid disaster with the right preparation and consideration. What have your experiences been with ERP implementations, whether successes or failures? Chime in by leaving a comment below. If you’d like to learn more about ERP and how a professional ERP consultant can help you achieve a successful ERP implementation, start reviewing your ERP options now.  

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