A new ERP system can revolutionize the manner in which your organization does business from the ground up. Organizations can enjoy tremendous benefits from them due to the significant software functionality and integration.
So then, why does it happen that after an ERP implementation, there are too often areas of low satisfaction experienced? Depending on how you handle the implementation process, you are certain to face a number of risks that could find your ERP project ending in dissatisfaction in some areas.
With that in mind, we’d like to highlight some common risks in relation to ERP satisfaction, as well as how to mitigate them:
Risk: Your ERP software doesn’t provide the benefits you anticipated.
Simply stated, ERP software implementation is not cheap. That said, it’s likely that you have lofty expectations as to what benefits you will see from the software as well as the timeline in which you will realize them. However, often long after implementation, companies end up dissatisfied with their ERP software because they don’t see the benefits they originally expected.
Mitigation: Strong planning including creating a realistic business case prior to ERP software installation.
Too often the complaint is difficulty in realizing the benefits that were expected from installing the ERP software. One of the recurring reasons this occurs is that during the implementation phase unforeseen problems occur, unexpected costs arise, and desired timeframes are shattered. As a result, you are left with a higher cost barrier to overcome before you can see the return on your investment (i.e. the expected benefit). Comprehensive, experienced planning is required so to approach the program with a realistic timeline, resourcing, budget and risk plan.
A second reason often found is that the business case is not put together for the effort, or the business case done is later found not to be valid in some areas. It’s imperative up front to involve all the right business experts and validate the data and assumptions which go into the business case. By completing a carefully planned business case, you will create a realistic portrayal of benefits you can expect which leads to higher satisfaction in the end.
Risk: Once installed, your ERP software is inflexible.
Some companies don’t fully realize what they need in an ERP software suite until after the implementation has occurred. At this point, they discover that changing the software to fit their newly realized need proves difficult, if not impossible. Consequently, a large percent of organizations are not fully satisfied with their ERP choice, despite their initial thoughts.
Mitigation: Include all the necessary key players in the business blueprinting and system testing phases.
It has been said that ERP software is like concrete; in the beginning, you can mold and form it into what you want. But once you’ve poured it into place and allowed it to set, you can’t make changes without breaking it. That means before you go-live with your new business system in place, ensure the right stakeholders and business experts are involved and contribute to the business requirements and process definition. Also have them review the testing results of all the necessary business scenarios so to confirm the ERP system will adequately support the business now and into the future according to the business strategy. Doing so will allow you to implement a system that is configured and tested to the correct business strategy and model, which will end up providing the functionality you require.
Risk: The end user is dissatisfied with your ERP solution.
Despite the wide ranging ability for project planning to mitigate ERP risks, no matter how well you plan and test your ERP solution, if the end user doesn’t take ownership of the software then you will undoubtedly fail. After all, they are the ones who must use the software for you to realize your return on investment.
Mitigation: Implement a robust change management approach.
Employees aren’t going to just magically switch over to your new ERP system without any problems arising. Instead, you must facilitate the switch by outlining a detailed change management process. A well-created process will:
- Increase communication between management and end users
- Provide proper training to the end users
- Supply necessary documentation
- Outline expectations
Through a successful organizational change management approach, you can rest assured that your employees will take ownership of your ERP solution allowing it to prove successful in the end.
What about Your ERP Experiences?
It’s not uncommon for companies to end up dissatisfied with their ERP software after implementation. But what about you? Are you satisfied with your ERP software? If so, what did you do to ensure such satisfaction? If not, where do you think you went wrong?
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