5 hard truths about life after ERP implementation
1. A detailed requirement does not equal an accurate requirement
Unfortunately, many enterprise managers believe that just because they have thrown everything at the wall, the consequent ERP ‘requirement’ will end up being valued. Unfortunately, the final result of an ERP implementation may still fall short when it comes to practical performance. There are a number of reasons for this but it is usually due to the ERP project being oriented toward the wrong things, like the size of a data mass versus its accuracy, or failures associated with expected versus sales provided performance metrics. Either way, these kinds of things can grow horns in a heartbeat, and the ultimate impact is usually unhappy ERP users.
2. Final price is just a sales term, actual cost is an actuality
ERP projects tend to fall prey of scope creep, particularly given today’s applied interest in cloud-computing. This means that enterprise folks may accept sales materials as fact, when they would be better off drilling down into the details of launch and operating costs, followed by cost of ownership over time.
3. Training a workforce isn't the same as educating them
As we’ve discussed in the past, a training program is more than just asserting that knowledge has been passed from teacher to student. Training programs are supposed to provide a series of building blocks, leading from information driven from the bottom up, and through intermediate and advance topics that create competence over time.
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Unfortunately, many ERP managers fail to accept that training is more complex than simply orienting a workforce to the user interface. When this forms the core of training during ERP implementation, the workforce tends to forget good habits immediately after a training round, and fall back on previous system workarounds that may, or may not, have any relevancy to a new ERP system’s requirements. This typically leads to process inefficiencies, and if not dealt with effectively, can lead to system failure over time.
4. There's no such thing as reduced workload
Everyone wants to talk about how ‘easy’ it is to launch a cloud-based ERP system these days, and the implication of this thinking offers a sense that one will not have to work nearly as hard as previous system iterations have demanded. This is clearly not true, and if anything, the capabilities and deep complexity of today’s hosted systems are prone to create more, not less, workload, since the enterprise will be executing more process tasks in less time.
5. Any system built by humans is intrinsically subjective
Today’s ERP systems are the result of groups of developers guided by the tenets of one brand-holder or another. Because of this, systems operate on the basis of each brand’s approach to problem solving, and consequently, one man’s enterprise solution might be another man’s nightmare.
Unfortunately, many enterprises buy systems based on sales materials or canned trade demos, while failing to understand the specific needs of their enterprise. In turn, the potential conflict can quickly create a condition of buyer’s remorse, leading to unhappy management once ERP implementation has been completed.
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