3 Reasons an ERP Implementation can Fail

In today’s digital landscape the overarching goal from implementing ERP software is to automate, integrate, and digitize all (or virtually all) aspects of a business. The software needs to be accessible from anywhere and reflect business operations in real-time, which is why we recommend a cloud-based system. An ERP system is not a silver bullet that can fix all business woes, but it can modernize an analog business and make it competitive in our ever-changing digital world. Having all your data and information in one central place and being able to communicate with employees, vendors, and customers from one system is a major leap for a business. 

Choosing, and implementing, an ERP solution is a tall order. Not only does it require extensive company resources, but a large percentage are not implemented successfully. Why is that? Recognizing the importance of the technology being utilized, why are so many companies so slow to change, or worse, quick to fail? There are a few reasons that usually precipitate a failed implementation. With so much at stake it's easy to point fingers and leap to assumptions, but usually, it comes down to executive leadership, the vision outlined, and ultimately, the execution.

Leadership loses momentum

The management team of a company is the driver of any large-scale project. One member of that team (maybe two) needs to keep employees focused on the goals and results outlined from the start of the ERP implementation. The "project champion" must find ways to keep employees on task and motivated throughout the length of the project and help make sure milestones are achieved. Without a clear plan and a well-organized team to carry it out, the project will likely end without the desired result.

Employees lose momentum

At the end of the day, it is employees who will be expected to learn, understand, and use the system. Doing their day job while being part of an ERP implementation team is not easy. However, every employee, regardless of their tenure with the company and exposure to business applications, needs to accept the change and take ownership of the system. Here again, the project champion needs to clearly communicate why the company is undergoing the change, the expected results, and the positive effect it will have on day-to-day work. Employees need to have a voice in the process too. The management team needs to ask what features and functionality are important to their department and to their specific role/s. Understanding the differences a cloud-based system can have and how it will result in working smarter, not harder, can make a big difference with employees.

It’s too much to handle

There is a good reason why companies do not change or switch ERP systems often. It has a major impact on virtually every aspect of the business and has the potential for the most disruption. Who wants that? Well, actually a lot of growing companies do. Needing an ERP system is one of those “good problems” to have. If you need one that usually means you’re running a growing and successful business. Knowing that going in should provide motivation. Consider incentivizing employees during the process too. One of the worse outcomes an ERP implementation can have is not having the system utilized the way it was designed to be. Habits are easy to form and hard to change. No business leader wants to spend time and money modernizing a business only to have an employee continue using a paper-based method because that’s "how they’ve always done it." The reason behind the change and the light at the end of the tunnel has to be magnified before, during, and after the implementation.

Let’s make one thing clear: failure is NOT an option when it comes to implementing a cloud-based ERP system. The benefits a new system will deliver and the risks of not modernizing are too great. But, it’s vitally important to approach the process with open eyes and clear expectations.

If you’ve come to the realization that your business is ready for a cloud-based system, Acumatica ERP might be a fit. Our team of advisors can help you navigate the murky waters of ERP from requirements gathering, functionality, selection, and ultimately implementation. Having successfully been deploying ERP systems for over 30 years, Empower Business Solutions understands what it takes to get the job done and ensure customers are using a system that exceeds their expectations.