• Zabe Siddique

6 Common ERP Implementation Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some of the biggest pitfalls to watch out for when implementing a new enterprise resource planning platform.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations can be a major undertaking for companies of any size. Depending on their current systems and platforms, there may be manual processes to automate, data to migrate, new workflows to establish, user training sessions to schedule and entire corporate cultures to shift over to new ways of thinking.

And these are just a handful of the high-level considerations that go into a successful ERP implementation. There are myriad other things to factor into the equation as you work with your Certified NetSuite Partner to create the most seamless transition possible.

6 Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Here are six more common ERP implementation mistakes to avoid as you venture down this path:

1. Assuming your budget will cover everything. Everyone has a budget for a technology project, but it often doesn’t account for everything that’s needed for a successful implementation. “Lots of organizations have the ‘Get it done NOW!’ mentality,” NetSuite Practice Director Matt Posey writes, “which causes everyone to rush the process and set unrealistic expectations about what’s actually needed for success.”

2. Poor resource allocation. Posey also tells companies to consider the total impact of the project and to account for everyone’s time and cost. “Be as honest as possible with yourself about how much of your resources’ time you can commit,” Posey writes. “If you plan for the team to give 50% of their time but you only get 25%, you will have some fairly large delays.”

3. Putting IT in the driver’s seat. “An ERP project should never be led by technologists; it should always be led by the business,” Neal Weinberg writes in CIO. He says that the strategic goal of an ERP project should be to help drive innovation that creates new revenue opportunities for the company. “That means getting business leaders involved early in the process and encouraging them to identify pain points, to prioritize areas where key processes could be improved, and to create blue-sky wish lists,” Weinberg points out. “IT leaders might not be able to fulfill all of those wishes, but they certainly will be able to address many of them with ERP technology.”

4. Spending too much time in the planning stage. Planning is important, but so is acting. In fact, too much planning can stagnate an entire implementation project. “It’s important to recognize that conditions on the ground change quickly, and [that] you can’t plan for everything,” Weinberg cautions. “Don’t go overboard with the planning phase to the extent that it stifles progress. If the planning stage takes too long, then the company will be losing out on all of the opportunities and benefits that an ERP upgrade can deliver, while competitors are gaining an advantage.”

5. Excessive customizations. In most cases, these occur because companies are afraid of change and instead wind up over-customizing their new ERPs. “I’ve seen companies try to minimize change so much that they demand a lot of customizations of the new product and by the end, they’ve customized themselves right back into the constraints of their legacy systems,” Posey writes. “Change is inevitable, so lead your team to crawl, walk and then run throughout each piece of the project so they can adapt and maximize the use of the new technology.”

6. Migrating every single data byte. While your first instinct may be to move everything over to your new system, this isn’t always the best approach. Much like you wouldn’t fill up a brand new laptop with the gigabytes of video files that were bogging down your old one, trying to migrate every single data byte to your new ERP isn’t always smart. “Organizations rarely use most of the data after it’s moved,” Posey writes, “so being honest about what’s actually needed will save a lot of project/service time and give you much better value-add.”

These are some of the major pitfalls that you should try to avoid when implementing a new ERP system. Fortunately, a reliable, experienced partner like CEBA Systems can shepherd your company through these challenges and put your ERP goals within reach.

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