Failed ERP Project? You’re Not the Only One

ERP Success Failure

Nike, Hershey’s, and HP. What do these three companies have in common?

Disastrous ERP implementations so big, they are referenced many times over in articles and blogs across the internet.

A company of any size can fall victim to a failed ERP implementation. No business, large or small, is immune to project failures. It’s not surprising that various surveys over the last decade have found that about two-thirds (sometimes as high as three-quarters) of ERP projects have failed by some measure. In large part, due to challenges of bringing projects in on time, on budget, and with the agreed functionality.

So, what can you do to ensure a successful ERP project even in the face of odds that are often stacked against you?

In this article, we’ll explore some of the key components of successful ERP implementation that we’ve discovered during our 25 years in the business. 

What Can You Do To Ensure a Successful ERP Project?

Following are some recommendations to keep in mind.

Requirements - Gather your requirements. All of them. Then prioritize the requirements based on how critical they are to the success of the business. Take the most critical requirements only and keep the rest in a separate list. To ensure a successful implementation, it’s imperative that you focus the majority of your efforts on the few key requirements that actually drive business.

Team-led not Management-led - It’s imperative to the success of the project to have a team made up of core-business functional leaders. Leading that group is an IT project manager backed by an executive sponsor, there to ensure a successful implementation and evaluate whether the business needs and back-end technical requirements are all being met. Management support is critical to a successful implementation - but it’s the team must take responsibility of leading the project.

Change Management - A new ERP system impacts almost every aspect of a business. When people’s jobs are redefined and processes are completely changed, the way in which you address change management is crucial... and it all starts from the top. Leadership needs to be on board and supportive of the implementation team, proactively communicating with the staff, and providing as much clarity on the future state with roadmaps and communications, encouraging questions and providing answers, and listening.

Interactive Training - Oftentimes project managers will postpone training until right before the Go-Live date. For many users, this comes with much angst and concern and places undue stress on them. Users are then presented with their new process, mostly focused on the new steps to complete tasks. What is typically neglected is an explanation as to why their old process has changed, what the new process is trying to accomplish, and feedback between users and implementers. By engaging the users early and providing interactive training with sufficient time for questions and answers, users are more confident and better equipped to tackle their new system.


An ERP implementation does not need to be the dreaded project that sends employees scrambling to update their resumes. With the right planning, not only can ERP implementations complete on time and within budget, but they can also be less stressful and encouraging for employees as they are given the opportunity to see the upcoming roadmap, train, and be provided the tools to be successful.

If you need help with your next ERP implementation, contact Equation Technologies to schedule a free consultation.

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