Setting Realistic Expectations for Your ERP Project

All Articles From Jennifer Aldrich January 28, 2013 0

From poor project management to overly optimistic deployment timelines, it’s not difficult to guess why so many ERP implementations fail to meet expectations. If an organization can maintain realistic implementation expectations, however, it will be less likely to experience ERP failure and more likely to achieve expected results.

When an ERP project is headed for failure, the warning signs are present early in the implementation process. Unfortunately, this is when these signs are most likely to go unnoticed. It’s not until business benefits aren’t achieved and ROI proves unspectacular that organizations realize they should have accounted for the unexpected when setting project goals.

Following are four tips for setting realistic implementation expectations and realizing anticipated business benefits from an ERP system:

  1. Communication is key. Ensure that the project team has a clear understanding of what the organization expects as far as timeline, budget, business benefits and ROI. Regularly meet with executives to keep them up to date on the progress and make sure that project goals are forefront in their minds.
  2. Regularly adjust expectations. Monitor ERP implementation progress and adjust expectations as necessary. By realizing that each stage of an ERP project is interconnected, organizations can reevaluate goals, adjust the project timeline and alter resource allocation as needed throughout implementation. This ensures that future milestones are not adversely affected by delays and missteps at the beginning of a project.
  3. Don’t cut back on vital project components. Realize that organizational change management and business process reengineering are ERP critical success factors and ensure they are accounted for in the project strategy, budget and timeline.
  4. Refer to benchmark data and expert advice. Use research to ensure your organization’s expectations are realistic and seek objective project assessments (or IV&V) from an independent source in order to align expectations with organizational goals as well as industry averages.

Setting realistic implementation expectations will require an investment of time, resources and money, but the payoff occurs when your organization achieves all expected benefits from its ERP software and experiences ERP success.

Download Chapter Four of An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success to learn more about how to prepare for a successful implementation by setting realistic and clear expectations. Also, on February 20, we will release our 2013 ERP Report, which provides a thorough analysis of ERP implementation trends during 2012.

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