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ERP Failure Starts Long Before Software Implementation
Thursday, April 03, 2014

An analysis of many failed or non performing ERP projects highlight the failure of organisation’s top management to get their heads around the full implications of taking on a project as large and intrusive on business operations as ERP!

Issues of under-resourcing, lack of budget, poor software fit and internal conflict have their genesis long before the actual software implementation project commences.

ERP implementation is really about good project management and this includes getting the detail of project, scope and control right at the very front end of the project!

Embarking on an ERP project without understanding the full scope of work so the resources can be put into place can only lead to downstream issues during the actual work phase of implementation. Setting budgets based on a figure of money available without understanding the scope of
work, associated software and integrator costs results in budget blow-outs and financial stress for the implementing organisation.

Software shortcomings requiring modifications, customisation or additional software should have been resolved at the up-front negotiation stage by constructing a model and testing the software against the model to determine what the shortcomings were and negotiating the changes as part of the contract and not finding out later resulting in significant problems
with the project.

Having worked on major projects throughout the world the up-front definition of the project and scope forms the basis for budgets, time schedules and detailed scope of works. I fail to understand why ERP projects are not approached in the same way given the huge amount of damage, operationally and financially, that can be caused by lack of attention at the formulation stage of the project.
There is no doubt there is a high degree of confusion on what the ingredients are for successful implementation of ERP into organisations! Claims of best practice, proven path, easy to implement, best in class and a host of other descriptors are all used by selling companies to try to gain some form of marketing/sales edge over their oppositions.

Buying companies are faced with a mountain of information attempt to navigate their way through the maze of data to determine which software they want and which organisation they want to deal with to give them the best chance of success. The lack of a proper strategic approach coupled with the details of what the buying organisation actually neesds, in detail, leaves organisations vulnerable to an overblown sales
pitch and more than likely projects that run into problems resulting in the project taking longer, costing more and providing little or no tangible business results.

Our analysis over 35 years has produced a set of guidelines that addresses all of the up-front issues and is available as an “ ERP Project Self Assessment” email us and we will send you a copy free opf charge.

Ray Atkinson

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