OK, so perhaps we were a bit ambitious with the title of this article. With so many variables and dependencies involved in an ERP implementation, it would be somewhat naive to claim there is a sure-fire formula for success. Nevertheless, feedback from Register readers in our current workshop and the general experience of those …
How to screw up an ERP implementation
I first missed the "not" in the title. That would be a much more interesting at this moment, much more fun.
Screwing up ERP is difficult ...
My daughter fed my grandaughter, I had the honor of dangling her on my knee, and then I got ERPed on ... Funny how RealLife[tm] often imitates the computer world ...
"When you dig deeper, you typically find that the customer has relied too much on the implementation partner to make key decisions, rather than accepting that it's their business, not the consulting firm's."
These are the most important words of the article.
Companies happily shell out millions of Euros, but they think they do not have the time to sit down with the consultants/developers of a complex IT system to clearly define what they want. Or what the existing business processes are. Or how they must be changed for the new system.
Sometimes they don't even know what they want and a lot of time is required for consultants and the customer's people to hammer out the requirements to a sufficiently detailed level.
That thing is probably much more important than the question which ERP system you chose (or whether you decided to have it custom-developed).
amen amen amen
Very true, but vendors are also partially to blame sometimes when they know all of that but still plough on because it's a sale.
I think the word *partner* should clue the business
When you hire *any* professional they are here to give expert *advice*. But at the end of the day final decisions *must* be made by key people in the business (either directly knowledgeable or
under advice from internal staff with deep understanding).
If you don't you're not in control of your own business. They'll either sideline the work on that module or decide based on their experience. Might work, might be epic fail.
A little time now will save *years* of trouble later.
I am surprised that no-one mentioned the fact that many problems are caused by not adapting existing processes to the selected platform. Most clients do not consider this when planning and purchasing, but it can have a huge impact to try and shoehorn business processes into a platform that is specifically designed to so something different.
I've lost count how many times over the last 20 years the response to a suggestion that the client adopts new business processes has been "But we've always done it this way". Another organisation couldn't change one piece of data as it dated back to the Napoleonic wars.
And finally, when one client siad that their users wouldn't be able to cope with a new ERP, their external auditor suggested, with some feeling, that they get new users.
Paris - because she is always willing to adapt to new ways
ERP by any other name
I read this article not knowing what ERP means. It still made sense if I replaced ERP with "any kind of computer system". Now I'm off to goggle ERP...
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning.
Basically, it covers all the essential day-to-day paperwork and admin functions: Order Entry, Purchasing, HR, inventory, taxes, sales, etc
This is the technological brain of a company. Whether it is tailor-made or not is another question.
"am surprised that no-one mentioned the fact that many problems are caused by not adapting existing processes to the selected platform. Most clients do not consider this when planning and purchasing, but it can have a huge impact to try and shoehorn business processes into a platform that is specifically designed to so something different."
Some user companies apparently take the stance that ERP must be adapted to their existing processes. Which is often pretty expensive and certainly easier with one tool than with the other. But first you really need to know what you want, before you can make any useful decision about anything.
crap crap crappity crap crap
This post contains the kind of gratuitous bile that is spewed by one who has most definitely not paid any attention to what he was reading and is full of vague platitudes about quality and money without anything precise to take exception to.
I entirely agree about the need to "have a good strong business-oriented project manager overseeing the whole process from the organisation's perspective". I expect that a large proportion of ERP implementations have been screwed up due to having a techy IT PM in place instead.
Maybe this is not the place to mention this tho.
"bang heads together when they don't"
I've been in this kind of situation, parachuted in an organization where the key project people went missing 6 months into the project - not enough time to devote to the project any more.
I got to handle the users directly, make all development decisions myself - without any authority to say no to anyone. Tried once, and got rapped on the fingers, hard.
Of course, eighteen months later, the project was working - I do know how to code - but nobody was happy. Not my boss, not the customer, and most certainly not me.
I really would like someone to tell me how I could have banged a few heads together. The only head that got banged was mine, and I'm looking for a job now.
"I really would like someone to tell me how I could have banged a few heads together. The only head that got banged was mine, and I'm looking for a job now."
The German job market is doing quite well - the number of unemployed recently went down, despite the crisis.
Check www.arbeitsagentur.de, www.gulp.de, www.monster.de
I am working at a major German financial institution and we have many Britons and Indians (my boss is one, and he is not one of those incompetent one) here.
Germany ? - banging heads together
I've been working with and installing ERP systems for 31 years now and have worked out that by the time you have to bang heads together it is all a bit too late in the day and as you rightly pointed out there is around a 50% chance that it is your own head that will get banged
Without a fundamental buy in by the owner/ceo/equivalent then the managers down the tree will start to make their own decisions and possibly 'walk away' from the project when the going gets tough.
The first conversation to be had with the owner/ceo is that if they are not prepared to give their commitment to the project and support this through doing the appropriate head banging then the project should never start.
Anyone on the supply chain will NEVER have this conversation with the owner/ceo because they fear they will lose the sale. They spot this lack of buy in as a money making opportunity and are very much aware that confusion will occur down the line and will protect themselves at all costs. Many Consultancies have made a lot of money over the years by being past masters at fleecing the Customer. They have had years of experience in doing it whilst the Customer is still relatively inexerienced.