ERP implementations usually suck—but they don’t have to

· 3AG blog,erp

Large-scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation projects are notoriously, almost legendarily, awful for all involved—except maybe for the vendors selling them. What is it about ERPs that cause so much consternation? We’ll address this shortly; the real question is: Is the massive data do-over of a traditional ERP implementation really necessary for your company?

You may automatically respond, “Yes, of course!” Data is the currency, language, and marker of success in a business landscape where digitizing everything has become de rigueur. The promise of overarching, traditional ERPs is also their problem: They try/claim to “solve everything” by tearing down all your inefficient, hard-to-access, and non-communicating data systems; they rebuild everything from the ground up.

Traditional ERPs are too often built atop poor underlying data architecture; this tends to make them bloated and inefficient from the get-go—and making small changes within them requires huge efforts. Further, traditional ERP vendors may promise much more than they can deliver, especially if their ERP design is based on a company’s poor scoping around what’s required and why.

For over a decade, we at 3AG have been helping organizations pull insights from their data systems, including ERPs. In our experience, ERPs don’t usually become the master program running all other data systems they may be presented as. Too often, people end up using ERPs as just one of several data systems; and the longer an ERP is present (ERPs typically live in a company for a decade), the more likely this is to occur. The result? A lot of time, disruption, money, and frustration spent on a solution that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do—make data access and analysis easier and more accurate.

What contributes to this miserable experience? At 3AG, we see 4 common issues associated with traditional, large-scale ERP implementation:

  1. Applying ERPs to systems that don’t require them 
  2. Poorly planned outcomes with no clear goal in mind
  3. Insufficien