ERP replacement has often been compared to a heart transplant: A complex procedure that removes a failing yet vital organ that is relied upon to power the rest of the body, replacing it with something that works. The ERP system is at the heart of the business, and an ERP failure will result in significant decreases in quality of life for everyone in the business.
It’s estimated that a healthy portion of ERP projects fail—up to 25 percent, according to the most recent Panorama Consulting ERP Report. Knowing the risks involved, many companies will delay their replacement until it’s too late, and they are struggling to get day to day activities completed.
One Key Reason ERP Projects Fail: Mismanaged Expectations
With the risks of standing still nearly as painful as the risks of hastily jumping to a solution and partner, it’s important to be practical, pragmatic, and prepared. Knowing this, we would like to discuss one of the many reasons that ERP implementations fail: Poorly managed expectations.
You can have an internal team ready to lead the project, a project sponsor who can get everyone on board, and communications initiatives in place, but if your implementation partner hasn’t given you all of the information you need, your implementation project may be progressing—in the wrong direction.
Just as there are very few doctors in the world who can complete a successful heart transplant, there are very few “ERP implementation experts” in the world who align with your needs. The right ERP implementation partner will prepare you for the challenges that can and will arise during deployment and implementation and brief you on additional concerns that may appear during ongoing operation of a software. They will not give you false hope or lofty expectations, and will be honest about options, risks, and challenges you will need to overcome.
Are Best-in-Class Partners Giving You False Hope?
There are many decisions that go into selecting ERP. One of these decisions is whether to select a suite or a best-in-class/best-of-breed software. A decision that often dictates your choice of vendor and implementation partner, the suite vs. best-in-class debate has been going on for nearly half a century.
If we haven’t said it enough, the ERP implementation process is not an easy one, and anyone downplaying the risks or challenges is doing you a disservice throughout the decision process. This is one of the many reasons we launched our NetSuite Myths Series, and why we are writing this blog. We’ve been in the ERP business for nearly three decades, and have seen it all. A recent trend in ERP marketing has revolved around “quick, easy ERP implementations,” nearly always being promoted by implementation partners specializing in best-in-class software. These partners will pitch you on a hub-and-spoke model, explaining that you can replace one part at a time on your terms and schedule.
Three Reasons Hub-and-Spoke ERP Implementation Aren’t as Easy as They Say
If you’ve ever had surgery, no matter how minor, you know that each time you go under the knife, there are risks. Here are three things you need to ask about the hub-and-spoke model that are often glossed over.
Do the ‘Spokes’ Work Together?
Say you decide on the hub-and-spoke model, expanding the financial management application by adding an ecommerce platform from one vendor, and an inventory management software from another. Even IF the data flows seamlessly between the ecommerce and accounting software, does it flow between the ecommerce and inventory applications?
Start adding billing, accounts receivable, and tax software, and by time your team transfers data between all the applications, it takes twice the time to get the job done, and there are more errors than you would have if you were doing everything by hand.
Does it Connect? Or Does it Automatically Integrate?
Often, while two solutions do connect—they don’t integrate. These are two very different definitions. If it is “integrated,” data entered into one software will be available nearly immediately in the other. If it’s connected, it may just format the data for easy upload into another software.
Conveniently enough, many of these value-added resellers just so happen to sell a proprietary solution that will automatically transfer data between the two applications—at a cost. This means that you aren’t only paying for two different platforms, you’re paying for a consultant to create something that you thought was already promised to you.
When you look at it, this scenario is not much different than their claims that a suite can’t integrate. Either way, there is extra work involved.
How Much Will Multiple “Surgeries” Cost?
This concern is two-pronged. First of all, how much will each platform cost? Often, a best-in-class vendor will discuss their option as “a more affordable alternative to a suite.” This, of course would be akin to saying that a heart valve replacement will cost less than a complete heart transplant.
Second, if you’ve gone through multiple surgeries, you know that there are costs involved with going each. As with the surgery, each partner will charge fees for implementation and training—for each software.
Pragmatic, Practical ERP Advice: Meet MIBAR
We’d love to say that the ERP implementation process is failsafe—but then we’d be lying. We know that the wrong partner can ruin a client’s experience with the right software, because we’ve fixed “failed” implementations. At MIBAR, we want you to find the right vendor and the right partner. This is why we want to provide you honest, straightforward advice about the selection and implementation process—because we’re confident in our work and confident that one of the ERP options we provide will provide minimal risk and maximum reward.
We welcome you to get in contact with us and learn more about the selection and implementation process by reading the resources below: