Why do ERP projects fail and how to avoid the pitfalls.

If you’re thinking about installing an ERP, you’re probably a little cautious. You’re no doubt wondering why ERP projects fail up to 75% of the time according to Gartner and how to avoid the pitfalls many businesses face. We’re here to help with this 2-minute read.
1 June 2023 by
Why do ERP projects fail and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Jonny Edge

No measurable goals

Having the goal of fuelling growth just isn’t SMART. You need measurable goals that can be benchmarked and compared against as you roll out your ERP. Failing to properly document the metrics by which your ERP project will be evaluated is a huge reason why ERP projects fail. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to ERP and time bound.

No management buy-in

Lack of executive support is a major reason why ERP projects fail as well. If the person holding the budget isn’t convinced, they’ll see a return on their investment, your project will fall flat on its face. But the impact doesn’t end there. Without buy-in at the top, your employees are less likely to get on board, focusing on the disruption of switching systems, rather than the benefits. And you’ll need the full support of your executive team behind you to dedicate the necessary resources to the project. If management isn’t on board and you start taking people away from their daily tasks, you’ll not enjoy the reaction from the c-suite.

Data migration issues

Moving your old system data to a new home can create a host of challenges you didn’t think of beforehand. Trash in = trash out. And most ERP project managers are too optimistic about the quality of their existing data. Data migration also isn’t as simple as exporting a few Excel spreadsheets either. To do migration properly, all data should be cleaned and then mapped, field by field, into the new system.

Not fit for purpose

If you choose the wrong ERP vendor, you’re going to struggle. While it's rare that ERP software is mis-sold, it’s possible. However, usually, the issue is down to poor documentation of requirements before going to market. An expert ERP installation partner can help you avoid this pitfall. They’ll work with you to build out a detailed scope and send it to a few selected ERP providers for evaluation and comparison. This will ensure a better match and prevent you from wasting money on bells and whistles you don’t need.

Obsession with processes

Just because you’ve always done it this way, doesn’t mean you should. Often, businesses become too entrenched in maintaining outdated processes instead of thinking of ways an ERP could help streamline their workflows. During your mapping sessions, your partner should support you to review your ways of working and find the best approach, even if that means some things change.

Poor testing methods

ERP Focus explains that without serious and repeated testing, building from a single test of every [business-critical process] and progressing through volume tests and a mock go-live requiring practice at synching up the old systems to the new, the shock and surprise of problem volume at ERP go-live will collapse the implementation effort. So, make testing a high-priority item before and after your rollout for the best result.

Low user uptake

When people don’t see how an ERP will help them do their jobs better, they’ll naturally resist the change. Without the right onboarding and focus on the benefits, users will not move to the new ways of working. A culture change is required for any ERP project to succeed. Plus, you’ll need to access ongoing support and training from your ERP rollout partner. Without this, you’ll be left on your own to troubleshoot issues and answer questions from your team members who are trying to learn a new system. Smart IT has its own training academy to help with any development requirements your teams may have. Click here to find out more or register for a free trial.


Want to make your ERP project a success? Our expert team has the skills and knowledge needed to help you avoid all these common pitfalls. Talk to us today.

Why do ERP projects fail and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Jonny Edge 1 June 2023
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