ERP Implementations Reimagined – Part 2

What’s the problem with ERP implementations, and why do so many projects fail to live up to expectations? More importantly, what can be done about it? This four-part series, ERP Implementations Reimagined, presents a new, forward-thinking approach that will drastically improve ERP implementation success. In part 1, we talked about the flaws in the Sure Step Method used by most Microsoft Dynamics partners. In part 2, we’ll address the problem of Shadow ERP.

A justified expectation is that today’s advanced technology will expedite business processes and make them more accurate and cost-effective. Sadly, in the ERP realm, the opposite has been confirmed. Many technologies affiliated with ERP platforms (Windows, the mouse, the browser) have negatively impacted efficiency.

Particularly in the field of ERP, technology advancements have made installation, maintenance, and upgrades more difficult and expensive. UI components designed to make ERP more universally accessible have served as a band-aid to cover more profound functional limitations.

The real underlying problem is that implementation methodologies have failed to parallel changes in user behavior. The result is unsuccessful ERP selection, upgrades, implementations, and adoption.

You’ll know you have a failed ERP adoption when you begin to see “Shadow ERP.” Shadow ERP represents the unseen workarounds and disparate software components that do much of the promised work (but never delivered adequately) by the ERP.

Eliminating the need for Shadow ERP patches requires a drastically innovative approach to ERP system implementation, training, and support.

Rethinking ERP implementation methodology

A significant problem is that Microsoft Dynamics partners follow the same old implementation methodology. Microsoft’s Sure Step Methodology and its derivatives offer partners a hammer for ERP selection, implementation, and upgrade projects rather than a precision tool.

  • Sure Step project templates, workflows, and process maps will document an implementation, but they are not flexible enough to anticipate and overcome obstacles.
  • Sure Step methodologies don’t focus on the three elements of successful implementation: time, budget, and delivery of requirements.
  • Sure Step’s stop-by-stop road map can’t compete with implementation experience and expertise.

Another problem is the failure to identify, catalog, and understand Shadow ERP as a cause of failed and challenged projects. A lack of understanding of Shadow ERP components will add considerable time and cost to even successful.

What is a Shadow ERP?

Sophisticated ERP software is rarely implemented without critical functionality crippled by some combination of the following:

  • Software inadequate for functional requirements
  • Software improperly set up
  • Training poor or incomplete
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Lack of user adoption
  • Inadequate ongoing support

Shadow ERP happens when your expensive ERP platform does not fully allow users to execute their required business processes. If your team cannot do everything they want on the ERP platform, they must resort to manual workarounds. They may require customizations, additional software tools, manual processes, even the dreaded Excel spreadsheets. These are all examples of Shadow ERP.

Our experience is that management rarely is aware of the breadth and scope of Shadow ERP in their company and is shocked when it is revealed.

Imagine replacing a traditional hand saw with a sophisticated chainsaw hoping for a dramatic improvement. Now imagine that you receive no instructions or training. After hacking up everything in sight, might you be tempted just to go back to the trusty old hand saw?

And what happens if you find out that your expensive new ERP is so complex that you need extensive workarounds (Shadow ERP) so your team can complete their tasks?

Understanding your Shadow ERP

Understanding the Shadow ERP concept is fundamental in reimagining ERP implementation methodology. In Part 3 of this series, we’ll discuss identifying Shadow ERP elements and using our analysis to reimagine ERP for success.

Our team at Pelorus Technology is dedicated to identifying and implementing new and improved methodologies, attitudes, and tools to set a new standard in speed to value ERP implementations.

From quick questions to in-depth discussions, we want to be your resource, regardless of where you are at in the decision-making process. Contact us to talk to an expert.

By Pelorus Technology, www.pelorustechnology.com

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