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Navigating the ERP transformation journey: Tales of benefits and challenges

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

By: Priyanka Nagpal | February 28, 2023 | Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Transformation | ERP Implementation

Navigating the ERP Transformation Journey: Tales of Benefits and Challenges
Navigating the ERP Transformation Journey: Tales of Benefits and Challenges

The introduction of any new technology can be a daunting task for any company. It's not just about selecting the appropriate software but also ensuring its seamless integration with the company's current systems and data. In today's rapidly changing landscape, staying updated with the latest trends is crucial to stay ahead of the competition. According to a Gartner report, ERP implementations can lead to improved productivity and over 20% cost reduction than those without.


ERP software has become a necessity for many companies that want to take advantage of their data, streamline processes and improve efficiency. But despite its benefits, ERP implementation can pose challenges for some organizations. To make this process more complicated, many companies are using multiple systems at once - the software they're using now, plus an ERP system. In addition, outdated systems. limited resources, and lack of time or expertise to understand how ERP implementations work, add to the challenges in a company's ERP transformation journey.

It's essential to understand the needs of the organization from an ERP system to be able to leverage the benefits of ERP.

A company had ambitious growth goals but was facing challenges in effectively managing its business processes due to fragmented data, inefficient processes, and a lack of visibility into operations. To overcome these challenges and become a market leader in their industry, they engaged the help of our ERP consultants to embark on an ERP implementation journey.


As a result of the ERP implementation, the company was able to streamline its processes, reduce manual effort, and minimize errors, leading to improved efficiency and productivity. The company experienced enhanced data accuracy and accessibility, which was a significant benefit of the ERP system.

With ERP, they had a centralized source of truth for business data, allowing employees to access the information they needed to make informed decisions quickly. This resulted in a 35% reduction in decision-making time and increased customer satisfaction through more personalized and responsive service.

However, there were challenges during the ERP implementation journey, with integration issues being one of the biggest hurdles.

Integrating ERP systems with existing systems is complex and time-consuming, and testing for data quality and accuracy throughout the implementation and integration process is crucial to ensuring ERP success.

Maintaining data quality can also be a significant challenge, as ERP systems rely on accurate data. Additionally, user adoption is essential for the effectiveness of an ERP system, which is why change management and training strategies must be incorporated into the ERP transformation plan. The company's ERP journey was not without its ups and downs, but with the right guidance and support, they were able to navigate through the challenges and reap the benefits.


ERP systems are intended to have the ability to expand and adjust to shifting market circumstances, making it possible for companies to expand and adapt.


What could be some business motivators to begin an ERP transformation journey?

ERP systems provide benefits like improved customer service, better financial reporting, faster decision-making, and more efficient operations.

For a company looking to leverage the business case benefits of ERP software, it is important to adequately consider the business processes that need the support of an ERP system. It is essential to understand the needs of the organization from an ERP system, identify business goals, and frequently evaluate the progress of the project against the business goals, to be able to leverage the benefits of ERP.

What could be some business motivators to begin an ERP transformation journey?
What could be some business motivators to begin an ERP transformation journey?

If you are considering implementing an ERP solution, consider these benefits:


Improved efficiency

By streamlining business processes, reducing manual effort, and minimizing errors, ERP solutions can lead up to a 19% reduction in inventory and a 20% reduction in overall operating costs. With a centralized source of truth for business data, employees can more easily access and use the information they need.


Enhanced customer service

ERP systems can lead to increased customer satisfaction by helping companies better manage their interactions with customers, providing more personalized and responsive service. With an ERP system in place, a company's customers have access to more information about their orders and shipments and can interact with the company faster.


Better financial reporting

The centralized financial data provided by ERP systems facilitate better financial reporting by allowing easy access and analysis of data. This enables real-time monitoring and reporting of financial information across various business departments and locations.

ERP system integrates financial data from different sources such as sales, purchasing, inventory, and payroll to offer a complete view of the company's financial health.

Automated financial processes, such as accounts payable and accounts receivable, can be handled by the system, which reduces errors, enhances accuracy, and improves efficiency. ERP also generates financial reports such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements quickly and accurately, reducing the need for manual data entry.

By providing businesses with better financial visibility and control, ERP systems help them make informed decisions and stay competitive in today's dynamic business environment.

Faster decision making

ERP solutions enable informed decisions faster due to enhanced data accuracy and accessibility, leading to better decision-making and increased customer satisfaction for companies implementing ERP solutions compared to those who do not. An ERP system also provides real-time data and insights, allowing managers to make informed decisions faster.


While ERP software can lead to many benefits for a company.

Only 20% of organizations achieve the business case benefits of their ERP projects despite investing substantial resources in implementing ERP systems.
What are these challenges?

Companies face various known and unknown challenges throughout the ERP transformation journey.

Overlooking the challenges that come with an ERP system, can lead to suboptimal implementation and underperformance.

We walk you through some of the key challenges faced by businesses implementing ERP systems, broken down by the ERP implementation phase.


What are some of the challenges in an ERP transformation journey?
What are some of the challenges in an ERP transformation journey?
What do all these pieces need to work together? And how can you ensure that they do?

Navigating the ERP selection maze: Overcoming challenges to find the right fit

A Gartner research report titled "The Real Reason ERP Implementations Fail to Deliver Value" reveals that many ERP projects fail due to underestimation of complexity and resources, lack of clarity on business requirements, and inadequate change management. The study examined ERP implementation projects in different industries and found that a substantial proportion of them did not achieve the anticipated benefits. The report highlights that many organizations did not give sufficient consideration to the business processes they wanted to support with their ERP system, resulting in subpar implementation and poor performance.


The overall cost of owning an ERP system, including expenses for software maintenance and support, hardware and infrastructure, consulting, training, and internal staffing, typically amounts to around 4.5 times the initial license cost over five years. In some cases, ERP implementations can take more than three years to complete.

Organizations need to establish a clear why for ERP initiatives and have a clear understanding of their technology landscape, consider alternative deployment models, such as cloud-based ERP, which can help reduce costs and improve flexibility. Companies should then consistently evaluate advancement toward the business justification to guarantee that the project remains on course.
Navigating the ERP Selection Maze
Navigating the ERP Selection Maze

A company had been using a legacy system for years and its IT department was rolling out a new system.


Both of these systems required different processes for creating tasks and assigning them to employees, so there was no way for them to communicate with each other easily.


Having a holistic view of needs that considers both a short-term and long-term state was key to finding the right system for their needs. When implementing the new system they considered all tasks and sequences which they need to be completed in both systems.

There are numerous ERP solutions on the market, each with its strengths and weaknesses. To choose the right tool, companies need to understand their unique needs and select a solution that can address those needs effectively.

Overcoming ERP implementation hurdles: The journey to streamlined operations

ERP implementations can be costly, with 75% of ERP projects exceeding their planned budgets, according to Gartner. Many companies have experienced ERP project failure due to underestimation of the complexity and resources required, lack of clarity on business requirements, and poor change management.

Implementing an ERP system is no easy feat. Companies must ensure that their ERP system is compatible with their current software and data sets, all while maintaining flexibility and security.

If a company is unfamiliar with ERP software or has never implemented it before, it might be overwhelming to set up an entirely new system - even if it's just a small part of their business. Limited resources and experience can add to the challenge. It is vital to ensure that there is enough knowledge pool within the company before starting implementation to not get caught short in the middle of this process.

To increase the likelihood of a successful outcome for ERP implementation, it is important for companies to focus not just the technical implementation but equally on strong project management, adequate training, and change management.

The integration of ERP with existing systems can be a significant challenge and a source of frustration for companies. The lack of data quality and accuracy can also pose a challenge, as ERP systems are only as good as the data they contain. This can result in poor decision-making and low user adoption rates, which can lead to ERP project failure.


To illustrate the complexity of implementing an ERP system, consider the challenge of integrating multiple systems. For example, the company mentioned above was using two separate systems with different processes for assigning tasks to employees, making it difficult for the systems to communicate with one another. Implementing an ERP system requires careful planning, identifying all necessary tasks, and ensuring that each system works seamlessly with the others.

One of the most valuable things about an enterprise resource planning (ERP) setup is its ability to help companies collect information about their operations and make informed decisions based on that information. For example, if a company wants to know how many products are sold each month and by whom at each store location, they can use the ERP system insights to gain knowledge of this information.

But it is important to ensure that the company's data is secure from hackers.

Data security is a major concern for companies implementing ERP solutions. With sensitive data being collected and analyzed, companies need to take steps to protect that data from hackers and other cyber threats. Companies need to get help where they need it, set up robust security protocols, and monitor the system for any potential threats.

Even if the system is well-implemented and contains accurate data securely, it won't be effective if users don't adopt it.

Making sure that employees understand how the system works is also crucial. Employees who are used to working with existing systems may resist changes to their workflow. Without proper training, employees may struggle to use the system effectively, leading to frustration and errors. It is recommended to involve employees in the implementation process and provide training to ensure that they understand how the new system works and drive successful buy-in.


Staying ahead of the curve: Overcoming common challenges in ERP maintenance

As businesses continue to grow and change, data can become outdated or irrelevant, leading to poor decision-making and inefficient processes. Maintaining data quality and accuracy is important to continue reaping the benefits of the ERP system.


Staying Ahead of the Curve: Overcoming Common Challenges in ERP Maintenance
Staying Ahead of the Curve: Overcoming Common Challenges in ERP Maintenance
Companies need to regularly review and update data to ensure accuracy and relevancy. Implement data governance policies and procedures to maintain data integrity and consistency.

Keeping up with system upgrades and updates can be a challenge, especially for businesses with limited IT resources. Delaying upgrades and updates can result in system inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities. It is important for all companies to develop a plan for regular system upgrades and updates, and allocate sufficient IT resources to manage them ahead of time. Alternatively, consider utilizing cloud-based ERP solutions that automatically update and upgrade the system.


Low user adoption rates can hinder the effectiveness of an ERP system, resulting in underutilization and wasted resources. Companies need to provide regular training and support for employees to ensure they understand and can effectively use the ERP system. Encourage user feedback and incorporate it into system improvements and updates.


As companies evolve and onboard new systems, it's important to not overlook the integration with their current ERP to ensure the continued effectiveness of their ERP system.

Integrating with other systems, such as CRM or HR, can be complex and time-consuming, leading to system inefficiencies and errors. For a holistic implementation strategy, companies should develop a clear integration strategy and plan for testing to ensure data accuracy and consistency. Utilize middleware and APIs to simplify the integration process.


Conclusion

To succeed in today's business world, companies need to be agile and adaptable. Implementing an ERP system can help companies improve their operations, capitalize on their data, and stay competitive. However, companies must be aware of the challenges they may face during the implementation and post-implementation phases, including integration issues, data quality and accuracy, cost overruns, and user adoption. By addressing these challenges and with the right approach and support, companies can overcome the challenges of ERP implementation and reap the benefits for years to come.


 

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What challenges are you facing in your ERP transformation journey?


Talk to us at Gravitas Consulting.


 

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