Recently a company called Panorama Consulting Solutions held a small boot camp in California for a few companies (about ten) about to implement ERP systems, where they heard from end-users of companies about to go through the process about what was on their minds. Today we’ll share a few things learned:
- ERP implementations are generally part of a larger business transformation. While participants attended the “boot camp” to learn more about ERP implementations, it was roundly acknowledged that business transformation was the real subject they wanted to learn more about. Apparently, there is a common struggle among companies wanting to know how best to manage their business transformations – including not just ERP but organizational change management and business process analysis and reengineering.
- Customization is a common fear. But, as Panorama’s own ERP Report 2015 noted recently, more than 90% of companies end up customizing their ERP systems. As we ourselves have noted over the years, with our focus on manufacturing and distribution firms, it’s virtually impossible to avoid – but those customizations also encompass some of the most valuable ROI to be found in the entire implementation! Such customizations are what ensure that you, as a company, can remain you as a competitive advantage. As we’ve learned: Don’t be afraid, be thoughtful.
- Don’t be fooled by unrealistic expectations. This is perhaps the big one! At the boot camp stories were told about “quick hit implementation proposals that will be impossible to execute and a host of other misinformation common in evaluation processes.” One of the keys to a successful ERP implementation is to define a project plan, budget and resource needs that are realistic and give you the best chance for success. Misaligned expectations early in the project typically lead to a domino effect of bad decisions and corners getting cut later in the project.
Our own experience from nearly 30 years of accounting and ERP implementations serves to confirm Panorama’s boot camp’s conclusions. The good news is that companies with a clear sense of focus and a well-discussed (and well-communicated) plan are on the road to success. But as always, there are few shortcuts, and a lot of salespeople out there willing to sell you a bill of goods, or a barrow full of just want you want to hear.