The Conflict in ERP Expectations
Many organisations we visit, post-ERP live running, express great disappointment in the results they have achieved with their ERP project. The expectations on the benefits the company can achieve from a correctly implemented ERP system, whilst being reasonable, are not achieved by the simple installation of the software.
The purchase and implementation of ERP software through the internal ERP project simply sets the foundation for the technology to achieve the results expected. The company must ensure all of the decision making is actually in place, the data is accurate, the training is complete, procedures written and everyone understands how to use the system to get the best from it. This is not the job of the ERP software integrators! They do not run the company and it was never intended that the results would be achieved by simply turning the technology on. Unfortunately the people selling the software do not emphasise that the business must change the way they operate to achieve the maximum results and that management must take a proactive role in the implementation and change process instead of just leaving it to the computer people and the users.
Most ERP projects generate an enormous amount of internal activity and together with the problems experienced during the implementation such as; insufficient resources to carry out the work, data clean-up, software modifications, additional software, budget over-runs and schedule over-runs tend to distract organisations from the task of running the business post-live running and as a consequence too little attention is given to how to use the software to achieve the results.
Our research over many years has shown that the understanding of what an ERP project is by top management and the systematic approach made to ERP projects driven by top management can have an enormously positive impact on ERP outcomes. Unfortunately many senior executives see ERP as a technology project and relegate the project to the computer people and have little further involvement until problems arise that consume vast amounts of money to resolve. In turn the people charged with implementing the technology do not have the mandate to make all of the necessary changes across departmental barriers and when senior management are approached to make difficult decisions impacting the ERP project, in the face of departmental resistance, baulk and delay critical decision making impacting the overall ERP project progress.
There is no end of ERP software houses and consultants that claim “Proven Paths” and other statements all designed to give a level comfort that their methods are fool-proof and ensure a successful outcome every time. The statistics on ERP failures and the increase in litigation from disgruntled ERP buyers suggest that the overblown hype on proven paths etc., is nothing but a sales pitch not matched by results on the ground.
The confusion between installation of ERP software and the implementation of the technology has been going on for many years with little change.
The huge dollars demanded by software houses and their integrators can seriously damage an organisation financially if not carefully controlled and managed. This management and control starts at the very concept stage of justifying an ERP system and ensuring a systematic approach to the overall ERP project is taken at each step of the way.
See article on the 26 steps developed over many years on managing an ERP project from concept to completion.
For further information on ERP go to http://www.atkoglobal.net.au