Installing and maintaining a software solution is no small task. And when it comes to deploying a platform as complex as an ERP system, it is vitally important to take every step possible to ensure that it's as smooth as possible.
So, what are some of the most common reasons why implementations fail and what are some simple steps to take to avoid issues?
A lack of commitment
One of the most common causes stems from managers and senior managers failing to get ‘on board’ with the deployment of the system and prepare their teams appropriately. This then leads to daily users struggling to achieve the system’s full potential. This failure to commit can also lead to serious delays in making decisions about the system’s design, delaying the launch and directly leading to the breaking of mission critical deadlines.
Agreeing upon unrealistic deliverables
Agreeing on an unrealistic deliverables schedule can be an early death sentence for the project. This may be as a result of inaccurate scope, failure to test elements, or rushing to meet deadlines. This can then result in an increased budget, decreased product quality, or delays – any one of which can render the ERP system having a negative impact and result in high inefficiency or abandonment.
Being 'too' fit for purpose
One of the biggest pitfalls for devising a new solution can come from slavishly fixing problems inherent in the existing system, rather than solving issues that exist at the process level. While any system specification should aim to improve and possibly iterate on a workflow or software solution that is already in place – missing the wood for the trees and solving technical rather than real-world solutions will always work to diminish the end product.
So, how can ERP implementation challenges like these be avoided?
Instigate shared checks and balances
It is critically important that teams build continuous validation into the deployment process, from the initial discovery period, through to development, testing, and final delivery. These ERP process steps are not only realistic but continuously checked will increase familiarity and confidence in the end-product from a client perspective. These should also not stop at ‘delivery’ but also include regular check-ins to gather feedback and drive improvements to the system. This can help provide a useful value-add to the system developer and keep the client engaged with the software and ensure it functions as needed in a working environment.
Commit to learning and research
From the initial discovery period, the implementation process should be led by the needs or challenges of the business itself rather than emulating the design of the original system. Once the exercise of mapping out and suggesting improvements to existing processes, it is only then that the original system should be analysed as part of the specification to see exactly how it meets or fails to tackle these requirements. It is vital to work closely with those who use the current system a lot and use them as a resource - not just for acceptance testing but providing key feedback on functionality. Although it is important to establish and maintain a channel of communication where feedback can be provided to aid the development of the project.
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