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You’ve heard all about the many benefits that ERP has to offer: improved accuracy, more expedient response times, better access to customer data, etc. ERP systems offer endless opportunities and can help you take your business beyond your goal operating level, but the reality is that there are downsides. Full disclosure, ERP statistics show that 50% of ERP implementations fail the first time around, and 30% of systems take longer to implement than expected. Despite the countless positives, just like most things in life, sometimes our technology fails us. Can you avoid the common implementation failures of ERP systems? Of course you can, if you keep the following things in mind:
- Inadequate Resources and Lack of Preparation
Know what you have from the get go. Make a detailed inventory of what system features you already have and what requirements may need to be met in order to add on to the system. Be sure to be highly detailed and accurate. Map your current workflows and define what you want before you begin browsing potential ERP systems. Pull together a team that can help you do this and compile a list of questions for ERP vendors. Consider adding an outside party to the team so that your staff can keep its focus on their day-to-day tasks and not slow down productivity. These outside parties may include system integrators and ERP consultants that have the industry specific experience you really need for the project. Again, it’s best to have a list of questions prepared and a list of goals and requirements. Don’t let bells and whistles impress you; only keep in mind what you actually need and keep looking until you find a system that meets those requirements.
The most important person to consider is a team manager that will keep executives updated and steer the rest of the team on to productivity. This person needs to know how to make the right decisions on time.
- Pie in the Sky Expectations
This is the easiest error to avoid. You’ve heard about all of the promises the new technology can offer, and your hopes and expectations soar because you’re so excited about the potential it means for the company. To avoid allowing your hopes to soar to an unrealistic degree, hire an ERP consultant to help you in the implementation process. Because of their experience, they know what expectations are realistic and can guide you and your company to fast success. ERP consultants will be able to break down what each system offers and explain any areas of the system that might lead to unforeseen costs or cut corners. They will help to remind you that the lowest proposal, while it may sound great, could mean that the system is lacking in many ways that will leave you destined for failure. In that same line of thought, the highest price doesn’t necessarily reflect the best either. The consultants can help you find what suits your needs and your budget best.
- Incorrectly Prioritizing
Your employees have gotten you this far, and they should continue to be your main focus. Technology is amazing, but it can’t replace the people who trust you and believe in you. Therefore, do your best not to prioritize the technology over the people when looking to implement an ERP system. The technology is only one part of your project; what makes your company’s culture is its people.
With this in mind, it is important to also focus on organizational change management to ensure a smooth transition and help everyone understand the new changes. Communicate often and well; don’t assume that everyone is excited about change. Good communication will help to alleviate any concerns and get everyone on board. This will take time and resources, but it is necessary in order to avoid implementation failure.
- Insufficient End-User Training
To pick up where the last point left off, lack of buy-in can devastate your implementation process. You’ve done all this research, spent time and resources to find what you think will launch your business to a new level, but your employees aren’t utilizing it the way they should be. What was the point?
Avoid this by early and frequent communication, as stated earlier. Change is overwhelming for many people; your employees have gotten used to how things are done, and they may not realize how the new technology will help them to become more successful. If they don’t understand it or how it works, they will revert to what is comfortable and what they know. Proper and early training will eliminate resistance to the change. Long before the system goes live, let the employees get comfortable with it, have experts on hand so that they can support your employees and answer any and all questions they have.
- Intense Customization
Before getting deep into the process, it was important for you to set goals for this system, to know exactly what you wanted to get from it. Your ERP system should fit your needs as closely as possible. However, software customization isn’t cheap. The bells and whistles, so shiny and attractive, add up, and if you don’t have the right implementation team, they may not even work the way you need or want them to. Keep both your long-term and short-term goals in mind when making your software selection. If editing the source code or implementing integrations and third-party modules is necessary in order to get the functionality you need, maybe reconsider. Some upgrades are more trouble than they are worth, and if all those extra steps need to be taken, it is probably a sign that issues will come up down the line. Ideally, customizations should only happen when there is no other solution, as most ERP systems include easy configuration tools to help you avoid having to “fix things.”
6.Improper Data Migration
Our lives run on data, and because there is so much of it, transferring data can be tricky. However, unless you plan to start from scratch, it is necessary to transfer it, and to do so correctly so as not to lead to problems later. The system can’t run without correctly formatted data. The system build and a data cleansing should ideally happen in tandem.
You can begin by separating your data into two categories, static and dynamic. Static data is anything that should only need to be entered in to the system one time, like addresses for suppliers. Dynamic data is information that changes, like transaction details. Much of your static data can move over as is, but you may want to determine which of the dynamic data needs to move to the new system. To ensure you make the right selections, consider engaging an expert to help your team make these decisions and to help you be correctly informed. Godlan can assist with customized training for all involved in this process. Also, assign someone to the task who is familiar with the data you desire to transfer. Along with your Godlan technician, they will identify and remove duplicated data before it’s transferred.
- Lack of Testing
Like a mic check, before you go live with your system, you need to test it. And then test it again. And maybe again. Check on the data migration, check to make sure timing is accurate. Test everything. This way you know you will have success when you are ready to take the system live.
While failure in life is seen as a sign of trying and forward motion, no one wants to fail when implementing ERP Software. When partnering with Godlan, failure isn’t an option. Godlan is highly skilled at evaluating your current systems and processes in order to plan and execute a successful implementation. Whether starting from scratch or upgrading, Godlan can quickly:
- Identify opportunities for enhanced performance
- Help establish priorities based on the magnitude of the opportunity versus the effort needed to achieve it
- Provide an objective “Level of Use” analysis
- Better align business processes to corporate objectives
From extensive experience, Godlan’s Professional Services Organization (PSO) will prepare a plan of execution that will shorten time to value and maximize your project’s success.
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