Why do many ERP Implementations Fail?

August 3, 2022

Reading Time : 7 Minutes

Business Management Consulting Firm

Why do many ERP Implementations Fail?

Practical Insights from High-Risk ERP Implementations

Let me share some practical experiences from my past dealings with high-risk ERP implementations. In project management, “risk” refers to any unexpected event that can impact a project, either positively or negatively. ERP implementations can fail for countless reasons. This article will highlight some key factors.

First, let’s look at some data regarding implementations: 55% – 75% of attempted ERP implementations and digital transformations fail!

Here are a few key indicators to consider for your implementation:

Poor Execution of Business Process Review (BPR)

What is BPR? Business Process Review (BPR) involves discovering an organization’s current processes to understand which ERP modules to configure and how to do so without disrupting business. The quality of BPR execution significantly impacts the results.

Common Issues:

  1. Incomplete Questionnaires:
    • Customers often fill out BPR questionnaires poorly, missing critical business data/scenarios necessary for consultants.
    • CIOs or IT Managers filling out questionnaires in isolation is a major red flag. These should be completed by departmental stakeholders or leaders.
  2. Ineffective BPR Sessions:
    • Consultants sometimes let the new ERP module guide the questions, lacking contrast with current processes.
    • Customers often think BPR is focused on new ERP features instead of discussing existing processes. I’ve had clients ask post-BPR sessions, “When will we discuss our current processes?” This is a big fail.
  3. Poor BPR Deliverables:
    • Deliverables, like PowerPoint slides, Visio process maps, or Excel sheets, need to be of high quality to help customers make informed decisions. Poor process mapping can lead to misunderstandings about software requirements.

Project Resources (Customer Team)

Having the right project resources is crucial for a successful implementation. The wrong people can delay or impede progress.

Common Issues:

  1. Lack of Availability:
    • Core team members often juggle their full-time jobs alongside the implementation, leading to poor knowledge transfer.
    • Set agendas a month in advance and send calendar invites for the project’s duration, treating them as blackout dates for core team members.
  2. Inflexible Thinking:
    • Team members unable to think outside the box may resist new ERP functionalities, pushing for customizations that add time to the project.
    • Forward thinkers open to new ideas are essential for progress.


Legacy data is critical for maintaining customer service levels and connecting the supply chain during ERP migration.

Types of Data:

  1. Static Data:
    • Includes customer master, part master, and vendor master records. Entered once, used in transactional records.
  2. Dynamic Data:
    • A subset of static data, representing line details for transactions.

Common Data Issues:

  1. Incorrect Vendor Records:
    • Missing vendor payment terms can add manual processes to accounts payable.
    • Terms should be global from day one to manage cash flow effectively.
  2. Updating Payment Terms Ad Hoc:
    • Planning to update terms upon receipt of invoices can lead to inefficiencies.
    • Ensure vendor records are accurate from the start.
  3. Incorrect Customer Records:
    • Missing customer credit terms can impact cash flow and sales commissions.
    • Confirming payables and receivables during go-live is critical, but static data accuracy from day one is essential for process integrity.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right implementation methodology and independent consultant is key. An effective and clear implementation plan tailored to your organization is crucial. Explore our other blogs for more tips on successful implementations.

For more information about how Scaled Solutions Group can assist with your ERP implementation or digital transformation, call us at (866) 957-8419 or visit www.Get-Scaled.com.