Implementation Risk

Another day, another ERP vendor sued over an implementation failure. The customer did not achieve success implementing core ERP software and naturally blamed the vendor for inadequate support. You would think that by now someone somewhere would understand what it takes to successfully implement ERP software – and you would be correct. Success depends upon the executive management of the organization implementing an ERP system for its own use. Only the executives can decide which features are priority number one for an implementation. Only the executives can say no to users who wish to alter commercial ERP systems rather than alter their personal workflows to take advantage of purchased software. Only executives can monitor the implementation process to see that it is on time and on budget. (The implementation process and executive responsibilities are detailed in HarrisData’s Quick Start Implementation Guide). Unfortunately, some executives would rather shift blame than do their jobs.

That said, no vendor should hide behind this executive responsibility instead of doing their part in assisting a customer organization’s implementation process succeed. In this instance, the vendor faced several self-imposed challenges which may have inhibited their ability to assist the customer. The ERP software was sold through a distributor, putting an intermediary between the vendor and direct communication with the customer’s executives. The ERP vendor was acquired by a larger consolidator, requiring new relationships between the vendor, the distributor, and the customer. The vendor’s project team assigned to the customer implementation left the vendor (this is attributed to the acquisition, but occasionally happens anyway). It is the vendor’s responsibility to support the customer through these day to day challenges (although the vendor in question may focus acquisitions more on big footprint / cost reduction than improved support / organic growth of acquired products). The vendor did not do so to the customer’s satisfaction.

Frank Scavo focuses on concrete things a customer organization can do to minimize these type of implementation risk. They are an excellent set of recommendations. HarrisData makes it easy for our customers to take the recommended steps by implementing our Software Customer Bill of Rights in our OmniLicense for ERP software. We also try to maintain contact with customer executives throughout the implementation to remind them of their responsibilities and options, and to make sure HarrisData lives up to our commitments. However , success depends upon the customer executives and is their accomplishment when achieved.

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