When organizations implement ERP successfully, there is a big gung-ho about it. However, there is a dead silence when there is a failure. Nobody is ready to wash the dirty linen in public. The reason for this failure is majorly remains hidden under the carpet. If you ask experts, there are a few common elements responsible for the jerks and quakes in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) upgrade. It is important for entrepreneurs to know the mistakes that make it a big disaster. Here are a few:
- Overestimating the potential of the team: Certainly the team has been using the system for quite some time, and they know operational part of it. However, they are not ERP geeks who know the ins and outs of technicalities. Most of the time entrepreneurs rely on internal people for it and face major downtime. Hence, it is always important to hire experienced consultants who will take care of a plethora of activities, e.g. system settings, conversions, operating system and network parameters, communication protocols and load balancing.
- Not explaining the nitty-gritty of upgrade: Communication is very important when you upgrade the system. When users are explained the benefits and enhancement, they cooperate for the same. How the system is going to change their life are the critical affairs. Explain it clearly and do not let room for speculations and rumors. Entrepreneurs should always remember that user perception is the most powerful thing, and when they decide to make the upgrade failure, it eventually fails.
- Going into production without mock testing: Believe it or not but it is the biggest reason for failure. Team members, implementer, and top management become so confident and self-complacent that they decide to go with a big bang. Everything collapses on the D-Day causing a major setback. Reports say that when a mock Go Live (or dress rehearsal) happens in the identical circumstances to the actual Go Live, implementation never fails. The shortcomings and weak links get exposed during the mock drill, and you go live with an overwhelming success.\
- Lack of planning: Though it is hard to believe, a large number of upgrades fail because organizations do not plan it well. They feel that it is just a matter of a weekend, and everything will be over by the time people start using it on Monday. However, things become critical as the upgrade spills over Monday evening, and there is a loss of productivity and revenue of one day. To avoid it, there should be a detailed project chart of activities involve in the upgrade. Individual responsibilities should be marked along with the timelines. Review it after talking to respective stakeholders and release the final draft. Once agreed by all, each milestone has to be achieved point-blank. It makes the ERP upgrade a triumph. As the cliché goes, “it takes half an hour to cut the tree, but it takes six hours to sharpen the tool.”
- No load testing: It is important to carry out a load testing after mock drill. Even if the upgrade during the mock test gets over successfully, operational testing with full load is essential. You should not assume that everything will go smooth once you upgrade the system. If the system is unable to take load due to any reason, reverting to the original version would be a cumbersome exercise. Therefore, always run it with full throttle to make sure that it will fly.
These are some of the critical aspects that ERP experts and entrepreneurs do not discuss when an upgrade fails. If these aspects are run through before final implementation, it will be a smooth sailing.
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