How to Recover After a Failed ERP Implementation

So Your ERP Project Failed — Now What?

If you’ve ever been in the midst of a failed ERP implementation, you know only too well the major headaches such a massive failure can cause. The aftermath often involves extremely long hours at work, routine tasks that suddenly take much longer than they should, costly errors and an understandably frustrated staff.

Unfortunately, failed ERP implementations are entirely too common. No wonder so many companies are reluctant to take the dive and change systems. What happens when your nightmare comes true and the project goes underwater?

If you’ve recently undergone a failed ERP implementation, take a deep breath. There is hope. Here are five helpful steps you can take to fix a failed ERP implementation.

1. Assess the problem

Why did your last ERP implementation fail? Was it due to the partner’s failure to implement properly or the company’s inability to follow through? Check out our blog on 5 common reasons for a failed ERP implementation to see if any of these issues ring true to your situation.

Keep in mind that the implementation may not be fixable unless some of the underlying issues are fixed first. For example, if the staff’s lack of commitment to change is the issue, there is no way for an ERP partner to fix that problem. In that case, the answer may be having the difficult conversation with your staff and deciding what is going to change to avoid the same bad result in any future ERP implementation projects.

2. Decide to salvage or scratch

Sometimes you need to start over, and sometimes it’s better to fix what you’ve already started. You can discuss with your new ERP partner which option is better for your company.

The extreme of course is starting over. If you choose to start over, you will lose a lot of historical data that could have been beneficial to making future financial decisions. However, that loss of data is sometimes the lesser of two evils when the number of issues that need to be fixed is so overwhelmingly high.

3. Manage the project wisely

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Project management is key to the success or failure of any project, including ERP implementations. That’s why we have staff specifically dedicated to oversee and manage the details of our larger, more complex projects.

4. Involve your staff

Making sure that your staff is part of the decision-making process is key. They will be more willing to change if they have had a chance to voice their concerns and desires along the way.

Keep in mind that most ERP implementation projects will require some internal changes. The way you do things in one system may not work in a new system. It’s important to let your staff know this while assuring them that the new processes will have their best interests — and their input — in mind.

5. Customize only when needed

One of the biggest issues ERP partners face is when a client simply refuses to change in any way. This requires the partner to implement a lot of additional customizations to make the new system work like the old system did. This is particularly dangerous if the customizations are not properly tested.

When possible, it’s best to change internal processes to work the way the system is designed. That said, we certainly do not shy away from necessary customizations — combined with good product management and defined testing to ensure the solution can work with said customization.

To see how we can help you turn around a failed ERP implementation, contact Boyer & Associates for a free consultation. We will assess the damage and help you determine the next best step for your business. Make your business better with Boyer!