Digital transformation and ERP failures are caused by a number of things. Poor project management, lack of internal alignment, and poor organizational change management are just a handful of reasons by transformations so commonly fail.

Behind these and other common symptoms lurks a deeper root cause: lack of independence and objectivity. Simply put, ERP vendors and systems integrators to commonly focus on selling as much software as quickly as possible rather than focusing on the things that will lead to success.

ERP vendor and systems integrator biases

For example, while organizational change management is the #1 cause of success and failure, most ERP vendors don’t focus on this because it’s not in their wheelhouse. Instead, they focus on the features and functions of technology. This bias commonly leads their clients down a path headed toward disaster.

We also see countless situations where software vendors and systems integrators let their biases get in the way of their clients’ success. For example:

  • Force-fitting technology in places that it’s not a good fit for
  • Taking on too much of the implementation work rather than allowing the client to take a more active role
  • Neglecting ERP data management, change management, and other critical activities
  • Staffing more people on the project than is required
  • Myopic focus on technology rather than the people and process dimensions of the project

Some of these biases are driven by economic incentives. Others are driven by lack of understanding. Whatever the cause of the bias, it is important to recognize that these biases lead to a number of other symptoms – often snowballing out of control throughout the implementation.

Client and project team biases

It’s not just the vendors and systems integrators that let their biases get in the way. Clients themselves have their own biases, such as:

  • Difficulty or unwillingness to change
  • Wanting to build the software the same as their legacy systems
  • Not recognizing the value of organizational change management
  • Not providing adequate resources and ERP project team members

The answer to lack of independence and objectivity

There are a number of ways you can address these biases. This video explains in more detail:

YouTube player

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to brainstorm ideas regarding your digital transformation, ERP, HCM, or CRM initiative. My team and I are happy to be an informal sounding board as you continue your journey.

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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