Why most Enterprise resource planning projects are not providing expected value

Marius Wessels, the professional services manager at SYSPRO Africa. [File, Standard]

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions have become an essential asset to organisations and a fundamental asset for most large organisations.

The adoption of ERP systems has been fast, leading up to the pandemic in 2020. However, the Covid-induced challenges sparked an interest in, and demand for more transparency, accountability and resilience, which are all core elements of the typical ERP value proposition.

Just as every business is unique, the same goes for every ERP implementation.

How long it takes depends on various aspects, such as who and how many people will be using the system, the size of the company, the availability of resources and the amount of data that must be migrated.

Yet with change being difficult, many companies that have implemented an ERP system are yet to fully receive their expected value.

With the growing adoption of the solution, so do the number of implementation and managerial issues that are negatively impacting the return on investments organisations receive.

 This is due to some of the many misbeliefs, misconceptions and myths around ERP technology, which if understood, can easily be overcome.

Myth: It takes on a big push!

One of the common myths that lead to disaster is thinking that an ERP system takes one big push during the implementation stage, and once completed, it is smooth sailing from there.

Implementation stage requires more time, work and acceptance from many managers and areas of an organisation, but the work does not stop there.  Once a new ERP system is in place, continuous analyses and engagement with the system must be done to keep the solution relevant to the current business operations.

Continuous change management is key throughout the lifecycle of an ERP system, but firms tend to limit these practices to the implementation phase.

Employees are trained to use the system, build a management strategy, and communication plan and even run post-go-live assessments.

But then the effort tends to decrease rapidly. It is no surprise that recent studies reveal that maintaining change management practices was rated among the least common activities for organisations implementing and managing an ERP system.

These practices are essential and include resistance management, building feedback loops and developing coaching plans for leaders.

To ensure the ERP system remains relevant to your organisations operational needs, coaching plans and user training must be maintained long after implementations are complete.

The writer is the Professional Services Manager at SYSPRO Africa

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