Leadership and User Experience can Make or Break an ERP Update

Make or Break ERP Update

Cosmetic re-seller Avon is a prime example of what happens when end-users are left out of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation. The cosmetic giant was in the midst of implementing a $125 million software rollout, Forbes reported, when they decided to nix the project altogether. The reason for the pull-out: “while the new system … worked as planned, it was so burdensome and disruptive to Avon representative’s daily routine that they left in meaningful numbers.”

The result…

The project has resulted in large numbers of their IT staff resigning the company.  “The technical project itself was very well structured,” a source told IT Decisions. “But for a project of that magnitude to work you need a sponsor right at the top. So if there is resistance to change, things get done with support from above.”

What is significant about this case is that is that it could have been avoided. Time and again we work with clients, typically in the manufacturing industry, who ensure top leadership has signed-off on the project.

Avoiding the problem

Particularly at the top, as CEO make sure you understand how important this implementation is for your company. Updating software can mean a significant ROI with time saved by automating processes and heightened visibility between departments. Conversely, projects will fail if top leadership doesn’t keep in mind how the updates will affect end-users. Avon’s leadership missed out on implementing software that would make everyone’s lives easier. Instead, the situation spiraled out of control, costing unnecessary expense and loss of personal.

While this is a high-profile example, these cases are not overly rare. Businesses often view implementation of the software as successful simply because it is installed and in the hands of users. Nothing could be further from the truth. Businesses must be able to effectively use the software for the implementation to truly be a success. This means modeling the software to fit the business and it’s needs.

Business process modeling might be one of the fundamentally most important parts of successfully implementing an ERP. Unfortunately, this is often where businesses cut corners. While investing in these processes in the beginning may cost a little more. Ultimately, these practices will save businesses money.

Can this be avoided? Yes, and we are in the business of working with companies to ensure the software is implemented effectively in the first place.

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