There's a lot of conflicting information out there about ERP implementations. If you're planning or working on an ERP implementation, it can be hard to know who's telling the truth and who's exaggerating for effect. Novacura has helped many companies implement new ERP systems, and we've learned a few things over the years. So, to help you separate fact from fiction, we've put together a list of ERP myths that need to be busted once and for all.
MYTH: If you don't see an ROI on your ERP right away, you did something wrong.
Fact: making a big change like implementing a new ERP is going to cause some disruptions in the beginning. According to Panorama Consulting’s 2018 ERP report, it takes most companies between 1 and 2 years to see benefits from a new ERP system. You might see quick benefits from optimizing your business processes—but then again, that depends on your processes and your industry. An ERP is a big investment, so do as much planning as possible as to how you're going to realize that ROI. Make sure your new ERP can realistically help your business run smarter, better and faster.
MYTH: Most companies have a quick and painless ERP implementation.
Most people probably know this is a myth, but when you're in the middle of an implementation, it can feel like every company has had a better experience than you're having right now. Rest assured: pretty much every company has experienced at least a little bit of frustration during the ERP implementation process. The average ERP implementation (again, according to Panorama’s 2018 ERP report) takes approximately 17 months: if you’re at a large company with many locations, the implementation might take a lot longer than that.
MYTH: It doesn't matter which ERP you choose because they all pretty much do the same thing.
There are many different ERPs available, including ERPs built for specific industries, including:
- health care
- field service
- financial services
And with the advent of cloud-based and SAAS ERP models, you can also pick and choose which ERP modules you want to use based on your business processes. So really, you have a lot of choice when it comes to ERP systems: that's why it's important to spend time defining your goals and requirements before you start shopping.
MYTH: ERP implementation ends as soon as the new system is up and running.
Implementing the ERP system is just the beginning: once the system is up and running, you have to use it—and you might find ways to improve the system over time. Just like all your business systems, you'll get the best results from your ERP if you think of it as a continuous improvement project.
MYTH: ERP implementation is an IT project.
ERPs are software, and as such, your IT department will be involved in the implementation. But since ERP systems affect every part of your business, from processes to financial records, every department needs to be involved in the decision making. ERP implementation is a company-wide effort, and for best results, you need input from every department in your company. The IT department might not have the context to make informed decisions about every aspect of the project, but they shouldn't have to make those decisions on their own. To get the best ROI out of your ERP, you need input from everyone.
MYTH: Your new ERP should work perfectly from Day 1.
In an ideal world, the ERP would just work the way you want it to with no adjustments. And some companies might be organized and/or lucky enough to have their new ERP perfectly operational when it goes live. But most companies (over 50% of companies, according to a research report by Third Stage Consulting) experience a few hiccups in their supply chain when they launch a new ERP. It’s important to plan for these types of risks. If everything works perfectly: great! But it’s more likely that something will go wrong, customers might get annoyed, and you might lose a few orders in the transition between the old and new systems. So keep that in mind and make sure you have a strong plan to mitigate the risks.
MYTH: If the ERP system makes sense to you, it will make sense to everyone at your company.
The people in your company represent varying degrees of computer literacy: some might be early adopters of new technology, while others might avoid new technology at all costs. You need to train both types of people on how to use the new system. You also need to train people on how they, personally, will use the ERP system:
- will they be using it for ordering? inventory management? financials?
- will they be using the system on a computer or a mobile device?
MYTH: You can’t make changes to your business processes after implementing an ERP
You'll need to map your business processes as part of the ERP implementation. More likely than not, while you're mapping, you'll review each process and see if there are ways to make it faster, better and easier. Once the new ERP is up and running, your new processes will be up and running too. But what if you make changes to a business process and they don't have the desired effect? Or what if you have an "aha" moment and think of a great way to optimize a process—but not until after the new ERP is up and running?
Are you out of luck? Do you have to wait until the next ERP implementation to update that process?
In the past, the answer might have been "yes". Older versions of ERPs worked best with rigid, repeatable, predictive processes. But these days, businesses need to be agile and adaptable, which means ERPs need to be that way too. Make sure that your chosen ERP makes it easy to customize your business processes without too much effort—or use a tool like Novacura Flow to modify your processes without customizing the ERP system.
Did you know: there's one key factor that determines whether your next ERP implementation will be a success or a failure? Find out what it is—and how to manage it—in our new guide, Why ERP Implementations Fail.
The information in this guide can save you significant time and money during your next ERP implementation. And did we mention it's free? Download your copy today!