ERP Implementations: 5 Fun and Important Facts You Need to Know

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: June 13, 2024

Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is often a challenging endeavor. However, amidst these challenges, there are many interesting and essential facts that can help you navigate the process more effectively. Today, we’ll dive into some fun and important facts about ERP implementations that you need to know before getting started.

Understanding ERP Implementations

ERP implementations involve integrating various business processes through a centralized software system. This integration aims to improve efficiency, data accuracy, and overall organizational productivity. Despite these benefits, many organizations struggle with ERP implementations. Here are some key facts and insights to keep in mind:

1. High Failure Rate

One sobering fact is that over 80% of digital transformations, including ERP implementations, fail. Studies from McKinsey, PwC, Gartner, and Third Stage Consulting consistently show this high failure rate. However, understanding the common reasons behind these failures can help you avoid them. Failure could mean not achieving the expected business value, going over budget, or taking longer than planned.

2. Operational Disruptions

Approximately 52% of organizations experience significant operational disruptions at the time of ERP go-live. These disruptions can include critical issues like not being able to close financial books, ship products, or run payroll. This statistic has remained steady for over a decade, indicating that many organizations face similar challenges. To avoid this, thorough planning and risk mitigation strategies are crucial.

3. The Role of Technology

Interestingly, only about 3% of the success or failure of an ERP implementation is due to technology. This insight comes from Professor Hans Mulder's research, which analyzed 130,000 case studies over 30 years. The remaining 97% is influenced by factors other than technology, such as people, processes, and strategy. Organizations often focus heavily on technology, but it's the non-technical aspects that play a more significant role in success.

4. User Adoption Measurement

Only 33% of organizations measure user adoption during their ERP implementations. Measuring user adoption is critical because it indicates how well employees are embracing the new system and processes. Without tracking this, it's challenging to determine the true impact of the implementation on the organization.

5. Importance of Change Management

Change management is frequently cited as the number one key to success in ERP implementations. When asked about their biggest challenges, organizations often point to managing the change process. Effective change management involves preparing, supporting, and helping individuals and teams in making the transition to new systems and ways of working. It’s not just a buzzword but a critical factor in achieving successful ERP outcomes.

Best Practices for ERP Implementations

Based on these insights, here are some best practices to consider for a successful ERP implementation:

  1. Focus on Business Processes and People: Invest in understanding and optimizing your business processes and ensuring that your team is prepared for the change. Technology is just a tool; it's how you use it that makes the difference.
  2. Plan for Change Management: Develop a comprehensive change management plan that includes training, communication, and support for your employees. This will help in smoother transitions and better adoption of the new system.
  3. Measure Success Beyond Timelines and Budgets: While staying on schedule and within budget is important, also focus on measuring user adoption and the actual business value delivered by the ERP system.
  4. Mitigate Operational Disruptions: Have a detailed risk management plan to address potential operational disruptions. Conduct thorough testing and have contingency plans in place.
  5. Learn from Others: Use resources like the annual digital transformation report from Third Stage Consulting to learn from the experiences of other organizations. Benchmarking against industry standards can provide valuable insights.

Conclusion

ERP implementations are complex and challenging but with the right approach and understanding, you can increase your chances of success. Focus on the critical aspects beyond just technology, such as change management and user adoption, and be prepared to mitigate risks. By learning from the experiences of others and following best practices, you can navigate your ERP implementation journey more effectively.

For more detailed insights and best practices, consider downloading the annual digital transformation report and exploring resources on change management. Good luck with your ERP implementation!


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Eric Kimberling

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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