We often give advice to companies embarking on an ERP implementation or other form of digital transformation. When doing so, we often suggest ERP best practices surrounding topics like navigation of software evaluation, managing software sales tactics and vendor negotiations.
Even those who follow proclaimed “best-practices” to the tee will often find themselves facing some degree of question or remorse on the enormous contract they have just signed. This is human nature and is unavoidable.
What is not unavoidable, however, is the ability to manage and push past your second-guessing and get back to positive, forward thinking and action. Same as seeing the lease payment on your new car or realizing the impact of maintenance fees on your condominium, we have the ability and need to move past the guilt.
Having talked with many business executives and owners following their ERP software selection process, below are some ideas that may help if you find yourself reexamining your recent purchase:
Understand there is absolutely no such thing as a perfect fit ERP software
True, your account executive has assured you that their platform is the greatest invention since sliced bread, but remember that some people prefer their bread to be toasted and buttered as well. Your system will not be able to handle every offshoot modification you would like, and it is not supposed to. You will need to make adjustments to your business processes and manage people to adjust accordingly. This is called adoption and is a completely normal and necessary step in your transformation.
No pain, no gain
Remind yourself what led you down this path in the first place. It is common for the pain of adjusting to your ERP total cost of ownership to take over your thinking. It is a big purchase, and your IT budget may be well beyond what you have seen in the past or were anticipating. But consider the alternative. You would be back to the old ways, behind the competition, not be able to keep up on customer demand and risk not being able to scale for growth. Every successful company has been through the same thing and you are doing this for long-term gain.
Technology is fluid
You will undoubtedly find some unexpected hitch or limitation with your new software. This scenario is certain and is normal and is why you have the support of your vendor and ERP consulting team. Unlike years ago, when programming and integration took herculean effort, today’s technology is moving so fast that nearly any issue can be addressed. True, it may cost some degree of money, but it can more than likely be fixed.
Missing functionality can often be customized or found in niche applications, and integration for most third-party solutions is very doable. If you have not built a contingency budget for on-going system modification, work to get that in place. Again, you are not alone and nearly every company faces this exact same issue as it evolves its use of technology.
Do not forget the importance of organizational change management
A significant amount of the time, ERP remorse is developed through the feedback and mismanaged expectation of leadership and team members. Your organizational change management plan should not end with go-live. It will take months or even years to get people following new processes and using the technology as intended.
During this time, you will receive complaints, suggestions and endless ideas on how to “fix” something that may or may not be broken. Consider expanding offerings such as ERP adoption newsletters and follow-on training beyond your implementation. Over time this will help bring the masses to appreciate the new software and help to remind you that it was a worthy investment.
Keep positive and stay active
I’m not referring to physical exercise, but certainly continue with that if it helps. I’m suggesting staying positive about your new software and taking action to realize the incredible benefits it can bring.
Remember that almost every success story in recent times has involved technology transformation to some degree. Be sure to stay up to date on your technology, attend user conferences if possible (you can start by streaming our Digital Stratosphere 2020 Conference), reward those that are adopting to the new system and encourage support and positive energy across your organization.
Please contact us if you would like to brainstorm ideas regarding your initiative. Our team of independent ERP consultants would be happy to be a neutral sounding board as you continue your transformation journey!