ERP Failure – Quick Guide to complete screw-up!

Here’s a guide that will lead you directly to an ERP failure, that’s going to help you make sure you fail your ERP implementation project.

ERP Failure - Please don't do this

You say nothing is certain in life? Believe me, follow that guide and your project is going to screw up big time! Guaranteed! (almost, you might get lucky and succeed anyway…)

But no money back… after all you spent hundreds of thousands already. You won’t get those back.

I’ve had numerous discussions with fellow business analysts and ERP implementation specialists about it. ERP failures are much more common than you think – or that they want to think – because you know, it’s a complicated project…

#1 – ERP failure – the less involvement, the better

Please, don’t spend hours getting involved in all the decisions needed for a successful project. Business analysis, process re-engineering, ERP selection… they take so much time.

This kind of project requires a lot of effort from everyone in the company. Much more than people usually expect. Do not attack that kind of project as a business remodeling and optimization project; see it as a simple software purchase.

After all, it will only be running your entire business.

#2 – ERP failure – Don’t do a proper business analysis

A well-done business analysis is one of the major success factors in an ERP implementation. Make sure you skip that part or make sure you do it quickly. It is sometimes such a troublesome process, especially if it was never been done before or if the company is in constant growth.

Also make sure you choose the software on the knowledge of very few people. They’ll know what’s best for everyone! Like that, when the time for the actual implementation arrives and the employees start using the software, a lot of needed feature will be missing.

That is the best way for your employees to never want to use the software. That, combined with change resistance will definitively make your project fail.

#3 – ERP failure – Choose the first ERP you see

Don’t take your time choosing your ERP, choose the first one you see or – even better – the one your friend’s company is using. It works for them, it will for you, right?

There are so many ERP on the market that it gets really confusing when it’s time to choose. Anyway, you did not do a proper analysis before choosing the software, so why bother comparing.

ERP are like pants, everyone knows they’re one-size fits all! Same color, same fabric, same look. Why bother shopping around to make sure the pants fit you well?

And if you have time to waste and actually look at different solutions, make sure you choose the one that looks visually the best. Like in human relationships, the prettiest partner is always the best fit!

#4 – Don’t ask employees’ opinion

Please don’t ask the employees’ opinion. After all, they’re only the ones doing the job you tell them to do. You know better than them what they need on a daily basis. Right?

Who cares if their daily tasks have nothing to do with the way the ERP works? They’re going to adapt. The plant manager has to change all its processes because the ERP thinks differently? It might take 3 months to re-do everything that was working fine? It’s his job anyway…

#5 – Don’t consider the future of the business

Only consider what you have in front of you… The future is so complicated to predict.

You are opening a second plant in two years? Don’t worry about the fact that the ERP doesn’t support multi-warehouse.

It will be located in Asia? Who cares if the software is only in English? No need for a multilingual software. They’re all going to learn English.

Let’s be a little more serious…

Ok, I hope you know by now that all that was sarcastic. But what’s unfortunate here is that I didn’t invent any of this. It all came from things I’ve actually seen or heard… While I clearly exaggerated, these thoughts are not far from what some managers think…

I’d say the biggest reason why an ERP implementation becomes a failure is that employees of all rank don’t get involved enough (see the main success factors of an ERP implementation to have all the others and follow the implementation guide to limit your chances of failure). Do not underestimate the importance of the involvement of everyone, from top ranked management to the employee who will use the system daily.

Want real life examples? Read these classic stories of major ERP failures.

So please, do not think ERP systems implement themselves. They need work, analysis, focus and involvement.


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