It can either be the project that keeps the CIO up at night or the best thing to ever happen to your business – and sometimes it’s both. Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a harrowing experience if you don’t have the plan and the people in place to make for a smooth deployment. To quote from Martha Heller’s June 12 article from CFO magazine, “ERP projects are won or lost at the beginning.” In business, there are few things that are truer than that statement, but even botched ERP deployments can be saved and turned into a win. While Ms. Heller’s article went into a bit more depth on some tips for a less stressful implementation, we’re going to touch on a few as well!
One of the pitfalls of ERP deployments is not just selecting the wrong product, but selecting a half-baked system that fails to grow with your company. Careful research is necessary to ensure that what you select can address all of your needs and won’t be outdated shortly after implementation. For instance, when Apptricity deployed its invoice management software for one of the United States’ best known energy companies, the solution was selected because of its ability to easily scale with the company’s growth while solving a serious visibility issue that was occurring throughout multiple business units. ERP system implementations are typically long term, expensive projects, so if you find yourself experiencing some buyer’s remorse due to the system’s inability to deliver on what was promised, there are faster, less expensive solutions available to help fill the gaps in your ERP.
Another common problem is underestimating the length of time it takes to deploy. Several ERP vendors made headlines recently because they exceeded either their estimated timeline, budget or both. Setbacks can (and frequently do) occur during ERP implementations, so there needs to be some leeway built into the timeline to account for necessary on-the-fly changes or corrections for mistakes. If your company needs something to fill an immediate need and a traditional ERP project is either too long term or has experienced setbacks, there are software solutions that are built to deploy rapidly, with maximum configuration and easy integration. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is generally a good option to look into for everything from expense management and e-procurement to asset management and warehouse management. There are quite a few inexpensive options out there and some solid, experienced providers who can help companies navigate even the trickiest enterprise resource planning implementations.