How to ensure ERP project success
When investing in a new ERP system, businesses can set ambitious schedules – but are they unknowingly setting themselves up to fail rather than ensuring ERP project success?
It’s easy to get carried away with product sales advisors saying the ERP systems can be implemented quickly and that off-the-shelf products are available that will meet their needs.
All too often clients set unrealistic goals and once the project starts to overrun and not deliver, the new investment no longer seems appealing. So what can businesses do to avoid this?
Here are our top tips:
Firstly, consider the desired outcomes and goals against time and costs. There is often a battle throughout the process to deliver the project on-time and within budget, whilst also meeting the needs of the business. Some organisations can lose sight of what the ERP should do. It’s an investment to improve the performance of the organisation. Be realistic about how much time and effort it will take to complete the project. If an extra few months needs to be added to the schedule – be brave and extend the deadline if it means a better longer-term outcome.
Secondly, be realistic in the first place. Set your objectives so they are realistic and achievable. Getting carried away with a quick implementation plan is setting your project up for failure. Make sure that your objectives are measurable and have realistic timescales. It is easy to get carried away thinking something can be designed, and built in a few months. We recognise that for a good quality build, and time allocated for testing takes longer than most expect. Consider what you need to do and set realistic timings and objectives – that way, you will succeed long term. It’s not only about costs and time either; make sure you have the right amount of resource in place. Getting to people to manage projects on top of their day job can lead to difficulties. Understand that in most cases, it’s a change project and needs full-time support.
Thirdly, is off-the-shelf really best practice? All too often clients want an off the shelf product thinking it will save them time and money. In most cases, they find they end up spending more money – and time, to adapt the system to offer better quality. Yes, off-the-shelf can help, but you don’t want your new ERP system to replace like-for-like – you want better, improved, more efficient. Be careful when you hear that there are standardised products – most are good but need tweaks to offer real value.