- 28 December 2016
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There’s nothing in life more expected than the unexpected, and your ERP implementation is no exception. Implementing a new ERP solution is an inherently complex and often challenging project. It must be carefully and thoughtfully executed.
Even a small step off the planned path can derail your project — causing delays, downtime, or unexpected costs, and ultimately adding risk to your company’s productivity and credibility. Without a proactive eye out for these roadblocks, ERP implementation issues can quickly get out of hand.
Prepare by educating yourself in advance on the 5 most common unexpected events that can disrupt an ERP implementation.
1. Lack of Buy-In
A lack of buy-in is not a risk isolated to ERP implementation; this road block can pop up in any industry, with any project. Buy-in is an important part of every project plan, and even more crucial when it comes to your ERP implementation, because of its far-reaching effects throughout a company.
ERP software is meant to seamlessly combine business functions, create transparency, and streamline processes. Every single department is affected, and the success of the project requires that every participant is fully on board. One stick in the mud can slow the progress of every other facet of implementation and increase the time, cost, and complexity of the overall project.
2. Poor Planning
As the famous adage goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” A lot of planning is necessary to pull off a successful ERP implementation. This type of project must be comprehensively premeditated well in advance.
Prior to the start of the project, clearly define strategies, audits, and recommendations. Lay out in advance your goals, resource requirements, affected departments, teams, timelines, and budget. Without proper planning, it’s extremely difficult to realign your implementation if it strays off-track.
3. A Bad Data Migration Plan
Data is at the hub of an ERP system — ERP solutions help bring data together cohesively, eliminate data silos throughout a business, and put that data to good use. Preparing your data migration is critical to the ERP implementation process, and will be one of the most demanding pieces of the entire process.
Conduct an audit of data throughout the company, and make sure you know (in advance) how much data should be kept. Make a plan to remove redundant or outdated information. Lay out plans for which data can be migrated first, and which must wait to be added later.
4. Lack of Training
One of the major reasons ERP implementations fail is due to a lack of proper training. When employees don’t understand a new system (or its benefits), the company may be left with an overall lack of faith, resentment, and eventual discord.
Without providing clear expectations and training, the success of an ERP implementation is put at risk, and will render its many key features and primary benefits underutilized. In addition, employee suggestions for system improvements will be lost — leaving the benefits underrepresented, and the results of the implementation largely tipped towards cost.
5. Holding Onto Legacy Applications
The point of combining applications into one integrated ERP system is to lower cost and increase productivity; yet many companies continue to use legacy applications, even after an ERP system is implemented.
This is often due to poor employee training, or management not fully understanding and utilizing ERP capabilities. Sometimes, it’s because management simply stopped the project, before properly cleaning up and clearing out legacy systems. Tear off the band-aid early and you’ll reduce confusion, cut costs, remove redundancy, and simplify your ERP transition.
ERP implementations can be expensive, time-consuming, and complicated projects to conquer. Once the ERP is implemented, it does wonders for a company’s productivity and bottom line; but the process of introducing the system is fraught with the potential for bumps in the road. If you understand the issues that are likely to arise, and keep an eye out for issues that might surprise you along the way, you can help fortify your project plan — and keep your ERP implementation ship sailing, instead of sinking.