5 common finance director frustrations with ERP implementation. It looked at how implementing ERP – potentially a career-making move for a finance director – can rapidly turn into a living nightmare without the right management or implementation methodology.

One thing it didn’t explore, however, was what you can do if you end up in this position yourself.

For some organisations, the best option is to bring in another ERP consultant to bring the implementation back on track. This is called ERP project recovery, and can help heal the disconnect between business and software that causes implementations to fall short of their original goals.

Worried your ERP implementation may have gone off the rails? Here are five signs it’s time to think about ERP project recovery.


1. Scope creep

Scope creep is a phenomenon where the scope of a project steadily increases over time, constantly pushing the finishing line further and further away. It’s exceptionally harmful in large-scale IT projects like ERP implementations, which are already prone to duration overruns (some 57% take longer to complete than originally planned, according to a 2016 survey by Panorama Consulting.)

If scope creep looks like it might add months to the timeframe of your ERP implementation, undertaking project recovery is a good way to set more realistic expectations and refocus on what your business really needs from the solution. It’ll help you identify quick wins and deliver measurable results as soon as possible.


2. A low rate of end-user adoption

A low rate of end-user adoption is another strong sign it’s time to think about ERP project recovery. There are lots of different reasons that staff might resist using a new solution, ranging from a failure to understand how they currently work – which would ideally have been captured during a business process review – to a lack of engagement and training. Project recovery will help you drill down to the source of their discontent and fix the issues preventing buy-in.


3. Critical business needs are unmet

Some ERP implementations appear to go perfectly well until you realise they simply haven’t addressed a critical business need. We once helped a make-to-order manufacturing company that had been sold an Epicor implementation based on make-to-stock processes. It ended up generating 19 million unnecessary material movement transactions in one year, costing the company a lot of money – all because of a lack of planning on the part of its ERP team.


4. The same old process problems reoccur

When it comes to deep-rooted process problems, ERP isn’t a silver bullet. In fact, it’s easy for implementers to simply recreate their flawed processes in the new solution, meaning long-standing inefficiencies never really go away. If you’re in the middle of an ERP implementation and realise the same old process problems are reoccurring, it might be time to think about project recovery.


5. No tangible ROI in sight

Finally, if your ERP implementation is dragging on and on with no tangible ROI in sight, it might be an early warning sign that your project is headed off the rails.

Granted, a lot of implementations follow the “big bang” methodology, which means a fully functional solution is rolled out to the entire business at once after a period of 12 to 18 months or more – there’s no phased ROI, so the company has to trust in the suitability of the final product. However, we recommend an agile approach to ERP implementation – one where the quickest wins are identified at the outset of the project, and the software is implemented in stages that reflect the business’ priorities.

This way, project recovery tends not to be necessary at all – the solution can be continually tested and adapted as the business grows and changes.


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