Over the past few months, we’ve discussed a lot of the ways that an ERP implementation project can fail. But today, we would like to explore a different risk—the risk of standing still.

It’s impossible to deny that ERP implementations present risk. But saying that failure is inevitable is holding companies back. All decisions involve risk. But indecision also involves risk. In fact, indecision could create risk.

Journey on the ERP Trail

Do you remember the classic computer game called the Oregon Trail? Throughout the 80s and 90s, this game graced computer labs across the nation and highlighted the hardships that 19th century families took on the eponymous journey.

While the player is exposed to a variety of decisions that impact gameplay—what’s your profession (difficulty); how much supply do you need; how fast do you travel; etc.—one of the things creators were proudest of was the inclusion of river crossings.

Ford, Float, or Wait: Crossing the River on the ERP Trail

In the river crossing scenarios, players could ford the river, float the wagon, pay for help, take a ferry, or wait to see if conditions improved. Each of these presented their own risks and/or costs. During a river crossing, the wagon could get stuck, tip over, get swamped, or overturn, resulting in the player losing time, supplies, oxen, or even party members.

In addition to this, you could also pay for help or take a ferry. Paying for help cut your risk by 80 percent. The ferry cut risk completely.  But there was one more option—wait to see if conditions improve. Each time you chose this option, you lost a day but had a chance for conditions to get better.

The Problem with Paralysis by Risk Aversion

That said, you could spend days at each river waiting for the conditions to improve. This presented its own problems. Why? Because you only had so many days to complete your journey before winter set in. Spend too much time looking for the perfect river crossing and it sets you up to other challenges later on. At some point, you’ll have to rush to make up for lost time or risk your party freezing to death.

The same thing goes for your ERP decision. Spend too much time waiting for the perfect moment and you’ll end up falling into other problems later on in the journey. Each additional month of data you add to a undersized or outdated system adds risk. Each time that an employee manually updates a spreadsheet cell, you add risk. Learn more in Six Risks of Using Legacy Financial Software or ERP.

Sadly, these risks add up and can actually cost you in the long run. It’s a lot more expensive to fix corrupted data or migrate and repair bad data as the storage grows.

The Low-Risk Approach

The goal of any business decision is to balance risk and reward. A well-implemented ERP solution can position you for growth, provide leaders with information they need, and bring you closer to your goals. But navigating this process requires you to understand the pitfalls could occur before, during, and after selection. Luckily, failures are well-researched and it’s important to learn the lessons from each.

Similar to your decision to pay for assistance or take a ferry to cross each of the rivers in the Oregon Trail, your best path to mitigate the risks and overcome the challenges in an ERP decision often come from hiring a partner with the experience and expertise to guide you through.

Many Ways to Avoid ERP Failure—Learn More in Our Free Guide

If you’re looking to find the right partner to deliver you to a smarter ERP solution, we recently wrote a free resource to help you learn. Reducing ERP Project Risk: Why the Right Partner Matters is our latest whitepaper and explores in much greater detail the above-mentioned failures and the ways your partner can help.

You will learn common reasons why ERP projects fail, errors made during the pre-selection, selection, and implementation process, disadvantages of working with ERP publishers, and important tips for selecting the right partner. Click here to learn more.

Additional ERP Implementation Resources

The Right Focus: One of the Most Overlooked Factors in ERP Implementation Partner Selection

Preventing ERP Failure Starts Long before the Project

Five Reasons ERP Projects Fail and How to Prevent Each