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5 ERP Implementation Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

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Choosing and implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a major investment for any organization. It’s a complex, time-consuming, and labor-intensive process that involves many stakeholders and moving parts. For these reasons, many organizations struggle to successfully adopt an ERP solution.

While ERP provides countless benefits like greater efficiency, reduced costs, and improved collaboration, there are common mistakes that can set your ERP project up for failure from day one. The best way to ensure your ERP implementation goes as smoothly as possible is to do your due diligence. Here are five pitfalls to be on the lookout for and how to avoid them:

1. Lack of consistent executive support.

The problem: Senior leadership signs off on a new ERP and walks away.

The solution: Moving to an ERP requires more than a signature on a contract. To successfully implement an ERP and promote adoption, senior leaders need to become evangelists and embrace the change. Executive buy-in is essential to getting an ERP project off the ground, but their support is necessary on an ongoing basis. They should support the project by helping set the overall goals of the project and align these with business objectives. As ERP champions, they should also enable employees with the resources and ERP training they need to succeed.

2. Resistance to change.

The problem: Your team doesn’t want to change the tools they currently use.

The solution: Often, the biggest challenge with introducing a new solution like an ERP is your team and their unwillingness to change. The worst thing someone can say when it comes to implementing an ERP is “this is the way we’ve always done things.”

Your team may be comfortable managing inventory using a pen and paper instead of a computer, but the key to change management is showing them the value. What’s in it for them? Give them the training and resources they need to get comfortable with the software and actively involve them in the project. Let them help define new processes based on their subject matter expertise. Ensuring your team is set up for success and feels part of the solution will help with change management.

3. No project management in place.

The problem: There’s no internal implementation team who owns the project.

The solution: ERP projects involve a lot of moving parts because the system impacts all areas of your business. To ensure your implementation is successful, you need an internal implementation team who will work with your vendor to meet key milestones and keep the project on track. The best team is a diverse one, so look to include a member from each department on the project team. It’s also important to ensure they have the support of senior leadership who will help them address obstacles and clear the path to success.

4. Lack of training and education.

The problem: You’ve made the investment, but your team has no idea how to use the new ERP.

The solution: ERP means a significant change in how you do business. If your team doesn’t understand how to use the software or isn’t 100% comfortable with the new processes you’ve put in place, your implementation project will likely fail. It’s important to remember that you’re not just investing in software, you’re investing in the people who make your business run. They keep the organization going, so ensure you take advantage of any and all training opportunities provided by your ERP vendor. Before your go live date, each team member should have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them and be prepared to begin using the solution.

5. Chose the wrong vendor/ERP provider.

The problem: You’re struggling to achieve the goals you outlined for the project.

The solution: ERP is an investment – if you don’t choose wisely, you can get stuck in a long-term contract with a vendor who doesn’t provide the support, training or future innovation you need. Ultimately, this will impact your day-to-day operations and how you do business.

Extensive research and planning are critical when selecting an ERP provider. You don’t just need a vendor who offers all the must-have features you’re looking for; you need a partner who will provide the guidance, support, and leadership you need to be successful. When researching vendors, be sure to ask about training, documentation, their implementation process, ongoing support, and ensure they are aligned on your business goals to help you get the most out of your solution.

About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.