How to Lead a Successful ERP Overhaul

Updating or upgrading an ERP system can give a business a much-needed lift and propel it into the future. It can also cause unforeseen and potentially dangerous problems if not done right. Studies have shown seven out of ten ERP implementations don’t achieve all their objectives, and many end up causing headaches and significant costs because of it. It is important to have strong but flexible leadership during times of change to maximize the chances of a successful implementation.

Strong leadership ensure that the process is being driven forward, not lagging behind. All areas and departments must remain on the same page during a process or risk damaging communication failures, meaning that strong, intentional communication from leadership is vital. Increased data sharing is recommended to ensure that all affected parties understand the changes happening and the reasoning behind them. Reporting and visualization tools are a key component to this step.

Another important but oft overlooked strategy is treating the implementation as the long, complicated process it actually is as opposed to a one-and-done go live date. Many companies look at the go-live date and use it as the end-all and be-all of a project’s success or failure, but this simply is not a reasonable perspective. A long-term perspective and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances are key attributes for leadership during these times. Understanding that as projects unfold challenges will arise, and keeping a cool head and focus on the long-term success, not simply the short term numbers, can lead to greater chances of overall success.

The final oft-overlooked consideration for ERP changes is a simple one: employees are not the only end user. Ultimately customers of your business will be directly impacted by your ERP system, and should be kept in mind during planning, decision making, and implementation. Not only is it important to train and educate the employees who will be using the system day-to-day, but listening to their feedback, especially as it pertains to the end customer, is key. Doing “dry runs” or trials of the ERP system processes that impact customers can also be beneficial. It allows businesses to catch any issues in the system before going live with real customer facing interactions, vastly improving customer satisfaction.

By keeping these tips and strategies in mind businesses can lead to vastly improved chances of a successful ERP implementation, setting the table for your business to propel itself into the future.

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