Preventing ERP Failure: All Hands to Stations

Who says it was a failure? Did it miss ROI? Or a planned start date? Was it over budget? Did your business come to a screeching halt? That last one probably counts as an ERP failure by anyone’s measure. Often, however, I wonder if the expectations were properly set when the project began. Was the ROI realistic? Could the start date be feasible? Did everyone involved agree to the expectations and measures? And everyone is you, your immediate team, your board of directors, the ERP vendor, and all your employees.

Remember, the E stands for enterprise. The whole enterprise. Captain Kirk commands “All hands to stations”. He doesn’t say only the engineering section or the port watch. He says all hands to stations.

This is especially true with ERP projects. These are not IT projects or accounting projects. Or, they shouldn’t be. Is that why yours failed?

More Than An Accounting System

Today’s ERP systems are even more enterprise related than in the past. Once, an ERP wasn’t much more than an accounting system with some inventory controls and manufacturing planning. But now it is interdepartmental and enterprise-spanning. So when you look to prevent ERP failure, your attention must be split across a multitude of features and ERP project teams.

Your ERP includes CRM. This is much more than the address of your customers. It includes the whole sales and prospecting strategy and requires the involvement of sales and customer service in ways last year’s ERP did not.

How about PLM? Yesterday your engineers and marketers could sit and watch as other parts of the organization worked and stressed to get the ERP running. Today they are critical to preventing ERP failure.

Your new ERP has HCM too and this means another group of people in the organization are a part of the ERP implementation.

Don’t forget the remote employees. They need to be involved in testing and implementing the smart phone components and perhaps BYOD too. They cannot stay hidden at a customer site or at home and avoid the hard work.

A good project plan and proper project management are still needed. Communications has always been important; today it just needs to be ever further ranging. Your project manager needs the right authority. Your management must be committed to the project. The scope of work has to be controlled.

Don’t forget this is an enterprise tool. Get everyone involved and make sure this tool adds value to everyone who touches it.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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