by Matt Gilli

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Implementing a new technology is often the largest investment a business will make during any single fiscal year. This covers both the financial investment and the often substantial investment of your team’s time. For this reason it is important for your business to embark upon the process of implementing a new ERP system sufficiently prepared.

At VantagePoint, our team is often brought in to “save the day” once a technology implementation has gone awry. By leveraging the experience gained from correcting problematic implementations, and through the hundreds of successful technology implementations we’ve run in the past, our experts have compiled a list of the common reasons ERP implementations fail and how to avoid them.

The business case is not clearly defined

Implementing an ERP is a significant source of change that will impact most stakeholders within the business at least in some way. An ERP implementation will take a good portion of time for each team business-wide which can often distract from or impact BAU tasks. For this reason, developing buy-in with each stakeholder is tremendously important, especially if teams feel fully utilised from a bandwidth/capacity perspective. Creating a comprehensive and clearly defined business case helps to eliminate the ambiguities surrounding the project. It outlines the benefits that will be gained by implementing the new ERP, and helps define each stakeholders role within the wider project.  Answering questions like “how does this impact the wider business?” and “how will this benefit me day-in and day- out?” helps generate the overall buy-in that will be essential for a successful ERP implementation. 

Having a clearly defined business case is also an essential asset for key decision makers and board members. A comprehensive outline of the “bigger picture” means that executives can temper their expectations and won’t be met with any surprises as the project advances.

When preparing and presenting the business case make sure to consider: The problems you are aiming to eliminate and the ideal state you would like to achieve

  1. The gains that you intend to realise by implementing a new ERP. Such as:
    • Elimination of human error and improved accuracy
    • Added control and security
    • Access to accurate and timely data and reporting
    • Elimination of manual data manipulation
    • Your team’s ability to focus on higher value work
    • The associated cost savings and added revenue potential
  2. The overall cost of change including:
    • Recurring software licensing costs
    • Implementation costs
    • Third party software costs
    • Cost for new hires (if applicable, software admins etc.)
    • Cost associated to disruptions in BAU
  3. Timeline factors:
    • Phasing
    • Testing
    • Training
    • Full Roll-out



There is an over-reliance on third party resources

There are many reasons why you would utilise third parties during an ERP implementation. The common services include:

  • Software vendors
  • Implementation partners
  • Support partners
  • Accountants or local tax experts
  • Optimisation/system consultants

It is essential to engage with third parties for a successful ERP implementation to ensure that the experiential and functional gaps within your team are sufficiently filled. Implementation partners can leverage their support and experience to ensure the project goes as smoothly as possible.  You must ensure that third party support is assisting on an implementation that your team owns, and not solely responsible for outcomes and for running the entire project.

If your project team does not own the outcomes defined within the ERP implementation plan, you run the risk of failing to develop the internal expertise necessary to successfully operate and grow within your new system. When a query needs to be answered or small maintenance issues arrive, your team should be able to address these internally to ensure that internal productivity remains high and disruptions are limited.  If the team is comfortable within the system and have a sense of ownership regarding their system (rather than a third party) then they’ll have the confidence to exploit system functionality to its fullest potential.

“Software licensing is not as straightforward as you may think. Most modern technologies are cloud-based and operate a subscription payment model. This means that licensing costs are recurring (usually annually) and any initial discount that you’ve negotiated often only refers to the first year or contract term.”

- Matt Gilli


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