How to Avoid ERP Implementation Failure

The right team of people must be chosen for your ERP project in order to avoid ERP implementation failure.

No matter the size of a business, the decision to implement new software, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, should never be taken lightly. Without thorough research and preparation there’s a risk of implementation failure – resulting not only in disruption within the business, but also lost revenue.

One of the most common challenges of any ERP implementation is putting the right team of people in place to pave the way to a successful go-live. The composition of the individuals you bring together forming your implementation team is a critical component to ensuring the long-term success of the ERP project.

Executive sponsorship

The high-level ERP duties of the implementation project must be handled by an executive sponsor. The executive sponsor will almost definitely have had a significant role in determining the best ERP software based on company requirements, budget, and implementation readiness.

This individual’s assistance for the ERP installation project promotes company-wide involvement and participation, which is critical to the system’s performance before and after the go-live phase. Furthermore, the executive sponsor participates in risk mitigation and change management at a senior level. Through frequent assessment, they address systematic problems during the implementation phase and lead top-down change management.

Build a dedicated project team

Changing the behavior of users and functional groups so they can work within the new solution is one of the largest challenges for any ERP implementation. Strong project management and senior leadership support are required to drive this shift. Most businesses going into an ERP implementation will underestimate the resources necessary for a project of this scope. You must have a comprehensive awareness of the resources, both internal and external, necessary for the project.

ERP deployments are a company-wide task and executives from all departments must be willing to commit resources here. Your business will require a dedicated project team that includes users of the ERP platform from within the organization, guaranteeing that the software will support the requirements and operational procedures of all corporate divisions.

The importance of a project manager

An important role in your ERP implementation is a team manager or project lead who can coordinate all activities and report on project progress to upper management. Keep in mind that unless you hire a dedicated set of resources, or bring on consultants, these individuals will have their normal day-to-day responsibilities to also contend with.

In a typical Deacom ERP implementation, this project lead might spend up to ten hours per week on average coordinating activities with the broader team and meeting weekly with the ECI project manager to review project status. The project manager should be able to go into the weeds of implementation while keeping the bigger picture in mind. A team leader that actively engages in both the selection and execution processes will considerably boost your chances of success.

Your project manager will also work with the executive sponsor and report on status to ensure the vision for the project is brought to life.

Additional roles and expected time commitments

Additional roles on your team may include subject area experts from your organization’s Accounting, Sales, Purchasing, and Production departments. They will assist with the design of new processes within the ERP system and help train end-users on their respective business processes. These individuals should expect to spend at least five hours per week during the implementation.

A data or technical expert may also be required who will help extract data from any legacy systems that you are migrating from and will help drive the data validation process. You can expect to have this resource spend anywhere from four to eight hours per week in this role.

Creating a cross-functional team ensures the success of your ERP project. A cross-functional team is one in which employees from many departments understand the system as a whole and how it functions. The business needs of each department will be factored into the solution because of the inclusion of a functional team within the overall implementation team. People who use the ERP software on a regular basis will be represented in these departments, and their contributions and requirements will serve as the foundation for the solution.

The right people can help overcome the obstacle of change

ERP implementations are far more complicated than upgrading to a new software system. Changing organizational operations is typically required to capitalize on the new solution’s promise for increased efficiency and productivity. Your employees will have to adjust their mindsets as well as their everyday work practices, which will result in typical change management challenges.

Resistance to change is often seen as a barrier to ERP adoption; obtaining early buy-in from leadership and stakeholders across departments is critical to the success of your project. Throughout the implementation process, make sure to promote the new ERP’s capabilities and benefits to all stakeholders, especially end users who will be working within the system on a daily basis.

The roles and duties needed to guarantee that all parts of your ERP project are covered will be decided by the implementation project’s requirements. How these responsibilities are defined and assigned will be determined by the size, structure, and complexity of your business. Keeping these elements in mind, building an effective and efficient team requires planning.

To ensure the success of your ERP deployment, your team must be multidisciplinary and made up of individuals from across the organization including senior executives, your project leads, functional subject matter experts, end users, and your ERP software provider or implementation partner.

Contact us today to learn more about how ECI’s team of experts can help you drive a successful implementation of Deacom ERP.

About the author

Demand Generation Manager - Deacom at

Domenick Naccarato has been a featured writer on the Deacom blog for the past 7 years sharing his insight into manufacturing best practice techniques, conversations with customers, and videos of Deacom ERP experts and users.