Implementing any new software for your company is always filled with promise and usually provides a positive to your business for the long run. But as we outlined in our 2019 ERP Report, it is important to be aware of ERP implementation risk as well.

With an ERP implementation there is a lot of potential that can be tapped into – like speeding up the process for getting access to customer and supplier information – but the implementation can also go wrong at many points during the process. Identifying and mitigating implementation risk is an important way to avoid ERP failure during your digital transformation.

Through our experience with different organizations and companies, we have analyzed and compiled together a list of key pitfalls that you should try to avoid when you’re going through an ERP implementation.

Buying a system that isn’t needed

Sometimes the old saying of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix,” applies very much to company wide software implementations. What I mean by this is that sometimes when a business is not happy with whatever system they are currently using, they decide that a completely new ERP system is needed to help solve the problems.

While this may be the answer to some problems, usually the solution just involves simple tweaking of the current system that a company uses. This should be an important part of your ERP software selection process.

When your vendor shows you amazing live demos and dazzles you with their other marketing tools, it is almost vital to remain skeptical and try and find experts, like with Third Stage Consulting, to give you an independent opinion as to whether or not this system is beneficial to your company.

Buying a system that only helps one department

When your project is viewed by your employees as only a project to benefit one department, the whole process will fail. It is important to realize that ERP systems should be applied to all departments and shouldn’t be used to benefit only one or two departments. This is an important way to mitigate ERP implementation risk.

Poor planning

Even if you put together a full implementation plan, that doesn’t mean it will work. Insufficient planning is almost a guarantee for implementation failure. It’s important that you choose somebody who is qualified for planning software implementation and pay attention to the things they implement. If you have an overly ambitious schedule within the plan or just a lack of detail everything can come apart pretty quickly.

Like any good plan you should also incorporate a contingency plan to handle any errors along the way. By making sure your plan is full-proof and also coming up with a contingency plan, you can make sure that your organization is prepped for a successful ERP implementation plan.

Not managing your ERP systems integrator

As we outlined in our recent article about the big ERP systems integrators exposed, it is important to manage your implementation partner. Outsourcing to these types of firms without oversight, accountability, and program management is a recipe for disaster. Managing your system integrator is one of the best ways to manage ERP implementation risk.

Modifying the system too much

Everybody loves to customize software to suit their needs. With more and more third-party modifications for ERP systems being released it’s very easy to overcomplicate your own implementation plan. The more you add on the more complicated your project gets.

To minimize this, you should look at what your company needs are first and determine whether or not customizing your system will benefit or hurt your company in the long run. Adding too many things and not adding enough things are both problems that you may run into but by keeping track of the project you can make sure that your organization gets everything that it needs.

Third Stage Consulting can also offer keen insight into what your ERP implementation plan should look like and what system can work for you. Utilize the resources you have and never be afraid to reach out to independent ERP consultants like us for help.

Michael Huang

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