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How to avoid ERP project failures before they happen

How to avoid ERP project failures before they happen

Thursday, March 1, 2018 By Sara-Clare Pehrson

ERP implementation projects are complicated, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But even so, why do so many software implementation projects fail?

At Pipol, we have deep experience with recovery of projects. And we’ve learned a lot along the way. We see ourselves not as “experts in failure” but experts in redeeming projects that have been lost. We’d like to share some of the top implementation challenges we’ve observed, across industries—and how to avoid them.

Engage leadership

Management commitment is critical to the success of any ERP project. A lack of leadership buy-in is often the reason why deployments fail. So, implementation will be easier if those at “the top” fully support the breadth of the process, the resources it will take to do it right, and making the tough decisions that will likely shake up the status quo.

Pick the right software

There are tens of thousands of ERP solutions on the market. Some focus on whole industries, others on geography, and still others are segmented slices of industries. As a first step, organizations must do their strategic homework, ask the right questions, and be clear on the answers. In selecting ERP software, what’s the end goal that aligns with the business requirements? How much might the business grow, short term and long term? And what are the industry standards that need to be incorporated into the solution?

Rely on real experts

Because of the inherent complexities, it’s absolutely critical that those who are owning and implementing the ERP projects are highly skilled. But more specifically, you need expertise that’s focused on the actual product(s) your organization is implementing.

Cultivate the courage to do things differently

The most expensive words in business are “We’ve always done it that way.” People are creatures of habit, but past success is no guarantee for the future. So properly constructing your new solution—without relying on what’s been done before—and gathering business requirements are the foundations for project success. And building a corporate culture that’s ready for change comes from the top.

Ensure effective change management

Your new ERP implementation project will powerfully impact your user community. People don’t like change, and unfortunately everyone won’t embrace it. Anticipating the varied impacts on people will go a long way to sound implementation, and ultimately, success. At the very least, this means user training, testing, consistent processes, and having a solid data and infrastructure foundation.

Avoid repeat expenditures by doing it right the first time

Don’t cut corners with ERP implementation. Ensure that your processes are consistent, your training is in place, you’ve documented test cases, you have buy-in from leadership, and you’ve aligned your software strategy with your organization’s business objectives. If you don’t, you might need to re-employ some of your efforts, which can mean huge additional expenses.

How can Pipol help you?

Does overcoming these types of ERP implementation challenges sound familiar? If so, Pipol is here to help. If you’d like more information about recovering from a failed implementation, read more about our impactful Project Recovery service. It’s a smart step that will deliver an actionable project recovery plan for your international implementation.

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