Avoiding ERP Failure Begins With Your Selection
Selecting your new ERP system is one of many key choices you will make along your path toward ERP implementation success. But, if you mess up this choice, you will be doomed to ERP failure right from the get-go. Many later choices can be corrected with some cost but the project will be completed.
Culture is one domain that I think needs more consideration in selecting an ERP. Your consideration of culture includes both your organization and your selected ERP vendor.
If you maintain a command and control environment you can set up your ERP to eliminate choices and push decisions toward a limited space that fits into your model for the business. If you maintain a more collegial culture, you can set up your ERP to fit that model too. – Usually! – make sure your vendor can show you their ERP working in an organization with a similar culture to yours. Talk to the references and understand how they set up dashboards and other decision-aiding tools to fit the environment. Were they successful? How much effort was needed for that success? A mis-match in vendor and company culture is the first step on your path to ERP failure.
You might have more than one culture in your organization too. Have you acquired businesses that still are not culturally integrated? Is the culture the same in units in other parts of the globe?
Don’t assume that all ERP systems can be shaped to work with all cultures. Most can to some degree be shaped but keep it simple – find one with the least effort needed for shaping. Once the *selection of your ERP system is made, your culture will be even more important throughout the implementation period and rollout.
Understand the vendor’s culture too. If you have a very employee centered orientation and your vendor wants to use a commanding orientation to get the implementation done quickly you are setting the project up for problems if not complete ERP failure. There should be a match of cultures or at least an understanding and agreement to work together for the implementation period.
If you have a very employee centered orientation and your vendor wants to use a commanding orientation to get the implementation done quickly you are setting the project up for problems
This is not to diminish the importance of technical questions. Be sure the system is designed to work with your business processes and their references will attest. Understand the technical and hardware requirements for the ERP and select one that matches your capability. Check on the success record of the vendor. There have been failures and they should honestly be able to say what was behind the failure and admit any difficulties they could have helped better resolve.
To be successful, your project should be lined up on the right path from the beginning and kept on that path until you reach your goal.
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