ERP Wizards 4. Tomi Holmberg & Riku Venno: How to avoid the common pitfalls of ERP projects?

Common pitfalls in ERP projects 2

What are the common pitfalls in an ERP project, and how to avoid them? Greenstep’s experienced ERP consultants discuss the topic deeply in the fourth episode of the ERP Wizards podcast season. We collected their tips into a handy checklist for this article.

Greenstep’s Partner, Head of our NetSuite Services, Riku Venno, and our Senior manager, Tomi Holmberg, have years of experience in working with ERP implementations in different industries and roles. In the fourth ERP Wizards podcast episode, they cut into issues necessary to consider during all phases of an ERP project to avoid common mistakes. In addition, they discuss how a customer can ensure the efficient use of the system after the implementation. Listen to the episode and read the tips!

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Pitfall 1: Choosing an ERP only considering your current needs

When it comes to choosing an ERP system, one of the common pitfalls is that the decision is made based on the current needs only. The business needs will most likely change in the future, and the same system should also serve them so that you will not need to implement a new system again anytime soon.

Solution: Choose a scalable system that can also tackle your future needs.

Pitfall 2: Defining the processes with a party who won’t be responsible for the implementation

It is common for the companies to define the desired processes with one party, and then another party will start implementing them. There is one significant challenge; when you are defining the processes in detail with a partner that does not have the responsibility for the actual implementation, the processes usually become more complex. There might even be unneeded processes. Choosing the implementation partner with those complex requirements may lead to the situation where you get too big offers, or the project scope will be too wide.

Solution: It would be good to have partners who understand the processes and can also implement those in real life. This way, the processes stay as simple as possible.

Pitfall 3: Choosing an inexperienced partner

Choosing the right partner is even more important than choosing the system. A proper partner should be experienced in the same industry you are working with and has also experience from the countries your are operating in. The partner should have a deep understanding of the business and how the processes are handled in different systems.

Solution: Do the reference checks carefully!

Pitfall 4: The supplier’s project management methods do not match with the customer

When choosing a partner for an ERP project, it is also important to find out what kind of project management methods they are using and if they match your organization’s ways of working. Are you satisfied with the ways they are specifying, implementing, and testing?

A successful ERP implementation requires smooth and active collaboration between the supplier and the customer. It is important that the working styles match, and the client really trusts the supplier.

Solution: One good way to find out if there is the needed chemistry is to ask also the supplier’s consultants to join the sales meetings so that you can get to know them better.

Pitfall 5: Defining too far or not having targets and definitions at all

It is crucial that both the supplier and the customer share a common understanding of the targets and definitions of the first implementation. However, you should not take the definitions either too far. If you define things too much in detail, it usually blurs the targets and the big picture of the project.

Solution: To succeed with planning, it is good is to go through the business processes and draw the big picture of the targets and decide the goals for the project. The implementation should be done agilely without knowing the exact details. You should know the targets and have the supplier’s promise that those will be implemented.

Pitfall 6: The project scope is too big

One common pitfall is to try to fix all the things at once. It is important to decide what should be fixed in the first place and what can be done later after the first step is ready and live.

Pitfall 7: Not resourcing enough time for the project

The ERP project always takes a lot of time also from the customer organization’s employees. The customer should resource time for the project from the beginning. This is crucial because many things seem different on the paper than in reality. If the customer tests the system only at the end of the project, the result seldom meets their wishes.

Solution: By contributing already from the beginning, the customer can make sure that the result really serves their needs.

Pitfall 8: Sticking to the old processes

Especially when replacing some other ERP, many companies want the new system to work exactly like the old one. This leads way too often to making expensive customizations because the company does not want to accept the new way of working.

Solution: Give a chance for new working methods.

Pitfall 9. Lack of communication

It’s very important to have a good project manager and project management. Also, the roles and responsibilities between the partner and the supplier should be clear for everyone. Both the supplier’s and customer’s project managers should discuss actively during the whole project and be on the same page all the time. Veikkaus’s Product Portfolio Manager, Tatu Sipilä, and Greenstep’s Development Manager, Jan Björklund, share their tips for leading an ERP project on the third episode of ERP Wizards. Listen to the episode:

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Pitfall 10: Not having support after the implementation

The customer’s real work starts after the ERP has been implemented. The first 4-6 weeks with the new system are demanding for the customer organization as the personnel must learn to use the new system and get used to the new ways of working. One common pitfall is not taking this into consideration. Before executing new systems, you should think who will support you after the system has been implemented. To whom can you call if you have any problems with the system?

Solution: Make an agreement of continuous support services with your supplier.

Would you like to learn more about the topic?

On the fourth episode of the ERP Wizards podcast season, Greenstep’s Partner and Head of NetSuite services, Riku Venno, and Senior Manager Tomi Holmberg will cut into the topic in more detail. Go to the episode on Spotify!

You can also find the three previous episodes on Spotify!