by Aaron Kesteloot on 21/08/12 at 9:54 am
There is a lot of chatter out there about the best way to choose an ERP system. What you need to do to avoid failure, the must-follow steps, etcetera, ad nauseam. No one EVER talks about how to go about failing at choosing an ERP system. And for this very reason, I am going to do just that.
I give you my 100% guarantee that your ERP system implementation will be a complete disaster if you follow these exact steps:
- DON’T evaluate your current system: Whatever you’ve done in the past is working great. There is absolutely no need to evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t. It’s a waste of time and resources – wouldn’t you rather be golfing? Well there’s a no brainer. Do this wrong and you may end up with a clear picture of what your processes look like and what product capabilities your business requires for ERP success.
- DON’T evaluate the technical components and fit: It is not important to understand how the technical components of a software package will align with your current IT infrastructure.
- DON’T understand the ‘hidden costs’ of ownership: Most businesses are interested in saving money (weird, I know). One way to avoid saving money in the long term is to accept at face value what a software vendor tells you the total cost of ownership for their ERP system will be. If you ask questions like, will there be any hardware upgrade requirements, maintenance fees, or hidden implementation costs, you may end up improving your bottom line. And I don’t know about you, but I like the color red.
- Make the decision yourself without any help from others: Collaboration, feedback and third-party input is grossly overrated. I remember when I purchased my first new car. Did I read reviews, ask around for other’s opinions, take it to a mechanic to get checked out before buying it? Of course not. True, it ended up in the junkyard within a couple months, but the important thing was that I made the decision for myself. The same goes for an ERP system. Start asking colleagues, trusted employees and other reputable sources for their recommendations and you risk people thinking you don’t actually know everything. Best to take the word from the ERP sales rep that their system is the best. After all, they’re the sales rep – why would they lie to you?
- DON’T create an implementation plan: Planning is for the weak. If you were to plan you would look at what it requires both to install the software and to ensure it is accepted by users. You would set up training procedures, assign team responsibilities, fully understand data migration requirements, plan for testing multiple iterations and be prepared to implement changes to business processes. But you are not weak.
- NEVER Evaluate over the long term: A post-implementation audit at regular intervals (one week, three months, six months) to compare numbers with previously set benchmarks is a great way to improve your chances of a successful ERP implementation. For that reason, I highly oppose any such activity. Regularly reviewing your system to determine whether it is achieving the intended ROI is a fool’s game and should never be done, especially with an investment as large as is required for a new ERP system.
By following these steps you will certainly fail at successfully implementing your ERP system. I’d say good luck with your implementation, but we both know I’d be lying.