back to article Reg reader tips for ERP success

When we asked Reg readers to tell us about the factors that impacted the success or failure of the last ERP implementation they were involved with, 50 of you came back with your insights. Of these, about a third had experience of actually managing an implementation, with most of the remainder having worked as part of an ERP …

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What a palaver ...

I'd be willing to bet a plugged nickle that firing all manglement who use the term "ERP" seriously in day-to-day corporate conversation would not bring things to a standstill ... rather, it would most likely streamline operations.

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FAIL

No mention of Goldshire

No Goldshire, no ERP.

Simple.

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It makes you wonder...

Just why so many ERP implementations do go awry when we Reg readers have managed to produce so many useful nuggets of information in the space of a week or so.

Can we crib all of these into a book that can then be distributed to project teams when I next have to go rescue an implementation? We can call it "ERP doesn't have to be a shit storm" and it can be endorsed by El Reg's very own illustrious readership.

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Not just ERP

A lot of the comments here are not specific to ERP implementations. I see those issues time and time again when companies choose off the shelf products for a particular solution and believe that choosing COTS products is an opportunity to cut costs by not spending any time doing business analysis and not dedicating any internal resources to the project. And then they wonder why their newly installed COTS solution doesn't meet their requirements.

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Stop

Management problems? Get an ERP.

Granted I pretty much skimmed this and looked at the pretty pictures, but what struck me immediately was that if you are going to have trouble with an install, it's usually things that good management can keep under control. After all, that's their job.

In the case of an ERP install, apparently they don't, which leads me to believe that the majority of cases where an ERP has been installed, it is to cover up for crap management.

The more practical solution would be to can the project, sack the buggers and hire decent managers.

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Unhappy

@Charley 1

"The more practical solution would be to can the project, sack the buggers and hire decent managers."

Excellent idea.

Unfortunately in small companies some of the *biggest* roadblocks to improvement are the director/owners.

Any one with enough cash to buy them is too smart to do so.

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They're the companies I love

Tons of potential being held back by owners who are out of their depth and unwilling lose face and hire decent management?

One of two scenarios there. Either:

a. They decide it's too much work for too little return and come up with a price for the business that is reasonable, based on current earnings.

b. They are too proud to admit defeat and I get to buy it off the Official Assignee for even less.

The solution to me coming along is what everyone so far seems to be saying. Get your management (whether it's the box ticking level or all the way up in the boardroom.) working properly by employing or training them right.

Then look at how you can improve their productivity with better tools.

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Happy

@Charley 1

You missed option c)

Company has tolerably competent staff who can keep it running to produce enough cash the directors don't mind. At the back of their minds they *think* it could do better (they're right) but lack any kind of plan to *make* it do better. Aspirational rather than inspirational management.

Such companies can continue to exist almost indefinitely barring a *radical* shift in their market, the loss of key staff (not necessarily *any* of the directors) or death of 1 or more owners.

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Coat

ERP's not Everyone's Remedial Panacea

Several important issues:

1. ERP amplifies management practices. Good and bad. Managers that can properly use the flood of information that a properly-running ERP system sucks up, will be able to improve the way that the company functions with the help of the information. The ERP system reduces the guess-work and the hard slog to bring the information together. ERP is a tool.

1a. Sort out the business first. Make sure that managers understand what they are doing and have a clear idea of management objectives.

2. Changing a business to suit the software is usually a good way to destroy a business. And it reduces the possibility of being competitive through smarter business practices.

3. Failing to plan is planning to fail. An implementation plan must outline all goals, ascertain the necessary resources for implementation and schedule them according to reasonable availability. Reasonable availability doesn't mean 196 hours a week for project staff members in the final weeks. If project staff members are spending more than 36 hours a week on the project, then they are very likely losing perspective.

4. Plans must provide for contingencies and effective paths of communications so that show-stopping problems are addressed quickly. The risk assessment associated with various options at different project stages must allow for cancelling the project when unforeseen problems become too costly to solve.

5. Abandon the project if a deadline is set before the comprehensive plan has been made. Going ahead with the project will not fill requirements, blow out costs and miss the deadline.

These points are all bleeding obvious and as a consequence, ignored.

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