Over the past few years I have been heavily involved in the implementation of Oracle, SAP and Salesforce in my roles as financial analyst and financial controller. And from what I saw, it is safe to say that these ERP implementations are far from easy. Therefore, this is my -highly personal- list of potential pitfalls of getting a new ERP system.
- Not investing enough time in the early stage. This is a classic to start with: top management, along with the IT department, is so excited to get started with this high profile project (think of their CV folks), and is a bit too eager to hit those first milestones in time. When forgetting to lay the foundations of the house… well you know the drill.
- Never forget that the decision takers are not the ones who are going to work with the new ERP. So top management is prone to focus on what the new ERP will do for them rather than looking at what it will do for the company. In my humble opinion, a lot of development time goes to a smooth and good-looking reporting towards upper layers. The basal functionalities that need to be executed by the other employees are of much lower quality and often lead to increases in workload.
- Many companies will spend millions on changing the software while expecting processes and formats to remain the same. More often than not, an implementation this size will, and should, have an impact on existing processes and reports, yes even on organisation. If your management expects exactly the same reports as before the implementation, they did not get the message. Think of managing your manager here.
- The newly-approved lavish implementation budgets in the hands of starved IT departments often leads to an absolute overspend on external consultants in the middle and latter stages of the project. By that time, the shortcomings of a system will have become clear and your existing employees will have lost the energy and momentum. Having an unhealthy balance between external ‘experts’ and your internal employees will feed frustration and cause the latter party to ‘check out early’ in the middle stages of the project.
Any other experiences regarding ERP implementations? Let me know in the comments!