300 Quotes for ERP Implementations

Brett's Hobby

Brett with his personal ERP library

I consider myself an ERP/Cloud implementation practitioner on the road to becoming a better ERP advisor and leader.  I have been on this path for 20 years and believe that I have much to share with my peers.  I also believe that I still have much to learn on this journey.  My hope is that you will partner with me in the never-ending quest for ERP implementation success.  During my ongoing research I have collected a database of over 3000 quotes on ERP-related topics (pains, success, best practices, failures, mistakes, implementations, selections).  Here are my top 300 quotes.

# Quote Resource Author(s)
1 Often the problem lies not with the ERP concept. But in the demand for quick fixes and rapid cures to underlying structural problems. e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
2 Putting yourself on the same side as the customer is one of the best ways to avoid the massive rework caused by the customer deciding that the product you just spent 12 months on is not the right product after all. Rapid Development  Steve McConnell
3 Reliability is results driven.  Repeatability is input driven. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
4 One of the most important areas in enhancing the value added to clients is designing the presentation of information so that it can be readily assimilated and internalized as knowledge. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
5 All of the work that goes into development is not adding value until the software is in the hands of the customer. Lean Software Development Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck
6 Iterations systematically reduce the trade space, grow the knowledge of the solution, and increase stakeholder buy-in.  At the same time, each iteration, or spiral, is planned to mitigate specific risks in the project. Evolutionary Process for Integrating COTS-Based Systems (EPIC) Carnegie Mellon – Software Engineering Institute
7 “Good people can make a bad system work; bad people can’t make a good system work”. The Reengineering Handbook Raymond L. Manganelli, Mark M. Klein
8 “The truth is, no organization plans to fail – rather, they fail to plan…” Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
9 Many ERP implementations proceed without sufficient knowledge of the possibilities or potential in the new systems.  This relegates the design process to a discussion of repeating the current design (the only thing the client knows) or implementing a process that the consultants happen to know (limited to what the consultants have experienced). Maximize Return on Investment Using ERP Applications Worster, Weirick, Andera
10 There are literally thousands of decisions that must be made on these projects.  The project team must be empowered to make most of them.  That is one reason organizations must put their best people on these teams. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
11 Achieving early wins and optimizing user buy-in can pave the way for controlling both political and fiscal costs down the road and increase the chances of delivery project on time and on budget. Total Cost of Ownership: A strategic tool for erp planning and implementation Richard West, Stephen L. Daigle – California State University
12 In making design decisions, the entire process should be considered, not just the individual steps, in isolation.  As in many things, the business process is only as good as its weakest subprocess.  Most of the attention should be focused on the process bottlenecks. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
13 To integrate business processes, there is a tendency to employ a bottom-up technical integration, stitching together application components that were never intended to work together at the business level. Business Process Management – the third wave Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
14 The “Train the Trainer” Pitfall: It is not realistic to assume someone can be trained several weeks before the go-live and expect him/her to deliver quality training. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
15 Requirements creep must first be differentiated from requirements evolution (elaboration). Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
16 Two overriding criteria that mast be present if the implementation of a COTS solution are to be successful: realistic expectations and organizational flexibility. Successful Packaged Software Implementation Christine B. Tayntor
17 Every organization that implements an ERP system is, in effect, reengineering. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
18 Remember that if you fail to implement, who cares what the software (ERP) does? Modern ERP Marianna Bradford
19 Not all process-integration problems are technical, and not all about IT.  Integrating computer systems is not the same as integrating the business. Business Process Management – the third wave Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
20 Having an ERP system is not a luxury but a necessity. It is a must for survival in this competitive world. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
21 A major cause of this difficulty is that organizations building these systems tend either to assume that components can be simply thrown together or they fall back on the traditional engineering skills and processes with which they are familiar-skills and processes that have been shown not to work in the building of a COTS-based (ERP) system. Evolutionary Process for Integrating COTS-Based Systems (EPIC) Carnegie Mellon – Software Engineering Institute
22 The acquisition of the tools, of and by itself, will not make you proficient in their use and thus will not provide a competitive advantage. ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
23 Inclusion of end users promotes acceptance of the solution and helps break down “us versus them” barriers.  Working together, the two groups will provide a balanced evaluation. Successful Packaged Software Implementation Christine B. Tayntor
24 “Planning can become mechanistic and succumb to a checklist mentality.” Balancing Agility and Discipline Barry Boehm, Richard Turner
25 Good design can’t fix broken business models – Jeffrey Veen Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
26 When managers of a company select an ERP package to implement, they are “buying into” the ERP vendor’s view of a certain industry’s best practices and relying on the system to support their efforts to embrace these practices. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
27 The gap between a person’s current knowledge level and the knowledge requirement associated with the change will directly impact the probability of success for those individuals. ADKAR – A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community Jeffrey M. Hiatt
28 Prototypes are generally designed to handle only the nominal cases; they aren’t expected to handle the exceptional cases. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
29 The development of knowledge is an iterative process, in which experience and lessons provide the basis for deeper understandings in ongoing feedback loops. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
30 Organizations are now in a business environment where their success will depend on their ability to rapidly respond to changing business requirements. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
31 ERP is commonly misperceived as a computer system.  Not so.  It’s a people system made possible by the computer software and hardware. ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
32 The starting step for business-driven implementation is the creation of business process maps. Secrets to a Successful COTS Implementation Nick Berg
33 It is better to know all the questions than some of the answers.  – James Thurber Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
34 Ironically, customizations don’t add value by default.  By default they subtract value, at least in the short run through costs associated with analysis, design, and development. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
35 In general, the more comprehensive the system, the more complex configuration will be. Successful Packaged Software Implementation Christine B. Tayntor
36 There is often a level of arrogance in ERP consultants who are taken with replacing existing systems, a level of arrogance that is generally counter-productive. Maximize Return on Investment Using ERP Applications Worster, Weirick, Andera
37 Companies should be careful not to automate non-value-added processes in the new system. Optimize Your ERP System: How to Avoid the Implementation Sins Sage ERP X3 Whitepaper
38 You give me good people and a great process, and we’ll beat any organization with the best technology but a poor process and under motivated people. Information Week – Focus on the Process Doug Patterson, VP and CIO
39 The longer a team, large or small, goes without delivering an integrated product to a review process, the greater the potential for failure. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
40 If you’re using a waterfall model, forgetting something can be a costly mistake.  You don’t find out until you get down to a system testing that one of the requirements was missing or wrong. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
41 A time-tested maxim in training is always to build on what you know. Principles of the Business Rule Approach Ronald Ross
42 Standardization is the key antidote to low productivity. Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
43 Off-the-shelf solutions also do not provide a competitive edge for long – any technology your company can buy today your competitors can buy tomorrow.  Senior executive must consider a new set of questions: What business processes bring us our identity and competitive advantage? e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
44 The way to reduce the impact of defects is to find them as soon as they occur. Lean Software Development Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck
45 Tools like Enterprise Resource Planning, Lean Manufacturing, Total Quality Management, and others are all essential.  Each one alone is insufficient ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
46 Implementations must shift from “design and build” unique products to “buy and integrate” standard products. Secrets to a Successful COTS Implementation Nick Berg
47 It is recognized that information accuracy is not a system problem, but rather a management problem. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
48 Do it once, right at the source. Principles of the Business Rule Approach Ronald Ross
49 At the end of the day a computer problem is probably a business problem. e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
50 There is an inclination when implementing packaged applications to use new technologies to implement the same old ways of doing things. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
51 ERP SaaS requires greater discipline and control for success than on-premise implementations. Cloud Can Bring Out the Best of ERP Brett Beaubouef
52 There is no such thing as a stand-alone ERP module.  ERP is designed to work in concert with other modules as part of a business process. ERP Business Solution Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
53 ERP systems will not exhibit their full potential unless they are properly integrated with other enterprise software applications. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
54 Successful implementations are done internally.  In other words, virtually all of the work involved must be done by the company’s own people.  The responsibility can’t be turned over to outsiders, such as consultants. ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
55 Chris Koch of CIO.com writes that “Blank sheet reengineering can lead to unrealistic business process designs that can’t be implemented through enterprise software. Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
56 A common mistake made by many business leaders is to assume that by building awareness of the need for change they have also created desire. ADKAR – A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community Jeffrey M. Hiatt
57 Collectively employees do understand the processes, but individually, they do not. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
58 Optimizing a business function is futile and non-value-added if it is not part of a revenue/competitive business process. Maximize Return on Investment Using ERP Applications Worster, Weirick, Andera
59 Discipline creates well-organized memories, history, and experience. Balancing Agility and Discipline Barry Boehm, Richard Turner
60 Unsuccessful companies start their ERP implementation effort with automation, bypassing the critical steps of understanding and simplifying their processes.  These companies believe that automation alone will improve performance and lead to productivity gains.  Automating complex or nonvalue-added processes, however, will not increase productivity or provide measurable improvements in performance. e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
61 Teams proceed in a linear fashion with little reliable feedback – they have good ideas, but they don’t test them in the cauldron of reality.  Documents don’t work. Products do.  Effective simulations or models of the actual product. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
62 The Standish Group found that the number one reason that projects succeed is user involvement.  Easy access to end-users is one of the three critical success factors in rapid-development projects.  Good relationships with customers improve actual development speed. Good relations with customers improve perceived development speed. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
63 The four key characteristics or enablers of knowledge transfer in communication are: (1) Interactivity, (2) Bandwidth, (3) Structure, (4) Reusability Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
64 The underlying philosophy is that in smaller, less rigid structures, employees are closer to the customers and can respond faster. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
65 Business rule solution:  Real-time delivery of business logic to knowledge workers as errors actually occur creates a seamless, never-ending, self-training environment. Principles of the Business Rule Approach Ronald Ross
66 (ERP) Service organizations are essentially big “people machines”, where having a high level of turnover is just as deadly as if a manufacturer was constantly asked to change machine parts. Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
67 The goal of an integrated enterprise is to reduce information float, that is, the time between when data is captured in one place in the system and when it becomes available and usable. e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
68 The advantage of the incremental approach is that the company can get feedback on the implementation and how it is received and possibly fin tune the implementation strategy. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
69 ERP is a philosophy for operating a business model.  If your company does not want to adapt to this philosophy, save yourself the headache and don’t pursue ERP. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
70 There is no such thing as an easy implementation of an ERP project. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The Great Gamble Ray Atkinson
71 Selecting the consultants (and an implementation methodology) is as important as selecting the (ERP) package. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
72 The big bang approach promised to reduce the integration cost in conditions of thorough and careful execution.  This method dominated early ERP implementations and it partially contributed to the higher rate of failure in its implementation. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
73 There is no such thing as a competitive ERP implementation methodology.  Only thing competitive for implementation partners are its people. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
74 It may take months to adjust learning curves with an organization.  A major challenge in ERP implementation is the selection of the adequate training for the end-user and education. ERP Implementation Challenges & Critical Organization Success Factors Rajeshwar Vayyavur
75 Implementing the ERP system and realizing the promised benefits are two different ball games. Implementation can be a success, but if the operational phase is not planned and organized properly with the support of all the people involved, then the promised benefits will not materialize. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
76 In the absence of knowledge and ability you can expect lower utilization throughout the organization, incorrect usage of new processes and tools, a negative impact on customers and sustained reduction productivity. ADKAR – A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community Jeffrey M. Hiatt
77 If the project should start to derail, consultants are the easiest to blame. Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
78 The organizational culture and the nature of projects will be different from company to company.  Thus, two ERP implementations can never be identical. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
79 Claims of ‘proven paths’, ‘best practices’, and simplistic implementations methodologies, that fail litter the ERP landscape as each software company seeks to gain some form of advantage over its rivals. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The Great Gamble Ray Atkinson
80 Implementation audits are necessary to keep the project on track.  Audits should be conducted to compare project results, business objectives, systems objectives, and project objectives. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
81 Information and intelligence are half of the equation.  The other half is flexible and adaptive production processes that can swiftly respond to threats and/or opportunities. ERP Lessons Learned – Structured Process Wayne L. Staley
82 The rule is efficiency never trumps effectiveness. ERP Lessons Learned – Structured Process Wayne L. Staley
83 “Paralysis through analysis” in a futile attempt to develop the perfect solution. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
84 Companies need a systematic method of analyzing the impact of business processes and a more reliable way of introducing new process designs. Business Process Management – the third wave Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
85 When failure is not blamed but considered part of the learning process, people feel secure in taking bold steps outside their narrow territory, and that is when things start happening. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
86 Where knowledge transfer is a key objective, project handover should be formalized, rather than just letting the engagement end. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
87 Some people mistakenly assume that agility connotes a lack of structure, but the absence of structure, or stability, generated chaos.  Conversely, too much structure generates rigidity. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
88 In order to manage these changes, it is important for the implementation team to document changes that must be made to individual jobs and execute plans to help people transition to their new jobs. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
89 ERP SaaS 101: Great customer service can overcome a multitude of software sins. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
90 ERP 101:  How you gather business requirements sends a message. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
91 On time, in scope and on budget means nothing if an ERP customer is not willing to provide a reference. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
92 Extracting and cleansing the data from the existing system can be the single largest task in the project ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
93 The goal should not be to fail fast but to learn fast. R “Ray” Wang: An interview by Bob Morris Ray Wang
94 “Certified consultants are able to translate business requirements into software configurations far more effectively than non-certified consultants. They can also provide a much more realistic forecast of what your CRM will entail in terms of time and resource requirements. “ Top 50 CRM Quotes Jim McPeak, vice president, Envoy Corporation
95 content without the context of business process is meaningless Twitter Quote Dennis Howlett
96 End results modeling and pilot room testing with the company can eliminate surprises and uncover almost all “invisible” ghosts in the closet ERP Readiness Checklist Gerry Poe
97 ERP is a semi-finished package.  The user organization must configure to meet their needs. Enterprise Resource Planning Jyotindra Zaveri
98 A good ERP is more than just good software. It involves an institutional commitment to connecting people, processes, and resources Twitter James Young
99 The data migration phase of a project can consume up to 30% of the total project resources.  The most common flaw in data migration planning is that too few resources are invested in it Top 10 Reasons Why Systems Projects Fail Dr. Paul Dorsey
100 Implementing ERP well is a difficult, but not impossible task. It requires not only that you work hard, but that you work hard on the right things. Website ERP Focus
101 Before buying into a new cloud-based web development methodology, understand that the new development environment will not help with long-established problems characterized by poor project management. Transitioning the Enterprise to the Cloud Ed Mahon, CIO at Kent State University
102 The cost of fixing a service defect may be as small as a keystroke, but the opportunity cost downstream may be enormous, such as losing a customer to a competitor. Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
103 As an adult, I often see software projects that fail merely because the developers and managers who work on them don’t follow the instructions. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
104 But technology is not reengineering.  Reengineering changes the business processes – the way the work is done. The Reengineering Handbook Raymond L. Manganelli, Mark M. Klein
105 During a period of organizational change, a company’s reward structure should be linked to achievement of the goals mandated by the change.  The policies and procedures for rewards and censures must be made known to all employees at all levels, and must be implemented fairly and impartially. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
106 Process is not a substitute for skill. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
107 Many of the major decisions and actions that ultimately determine whether a project is a success or a failure occur very early in the life of the project. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
108 What businesses need is not a one-time fix for individual processes but an environment that combines business and technical systems to produce processes that flex and recombine as required by changes in the market. Business Process Management – the third wave Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
109 The cost of complexity isn’t offset by what you can charge.  Complexity creates opportunities for you to fail your customer. Wall Street Journal, 9-17-2002) Gerand Arpey – American Airlines President
110 Projects that skimp on upstream activities typically have to do the same work downstream at anywhere from 10 to 100 times the cost of doing it properly in the first place (Fagan 1976; Boehm and Papaccio 1988). Rapid Development Steve McConnell
111 Decreasing variability early in the process has larger impact than decreasing variability late in the process. Lean Software Development Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck
112 ERP packaged solutions, however, come at a price.  These apps require organizations to reengineer established business practices to accommodate application constraints. e-Business Roadmap for Success Dr. Ravi Kalakota & Marcia Robinson
113 Applying knowledge is the final step that makes the knowledge valuable. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
114 Agile methods universally need close relationships with the customer and users of the systems under development. Balancing Agility and Discipline Barry Boehm, Richard Turner
115 Process thinking is a discipline. Maximize Return on Investment Using ERP Applications Worster, Weirick, Andera
116 The less you know the more money they (consultants) make. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
117 Are the business processes that will be automated clearly understood and documented?  An adage says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” The software equivalent is less positive “If you don’t know what it is you’re automating, no system will help”. Successful Packaged Software Implementation Christine B. Tayntor
118 Deliver sooner rather than later.  It is rare to get 100% support for any project; “fence sitters” will wait to see how things turn out before giving their support. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
119 the success or failure of a new system hinges directly on the acceptance of that system by the organization’s end users Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
120 Although consultants may participate in testing to some extent, employees should drive the majority of testing.  Doing so maximizes knowledge transfer and readies them for real life under the new system. Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
121 Training and education of users, customers and suppliers is an important part of adoption and satisfaction of the ERP system. Critical Success Factors in ERP Implementation Tammy Bahmanziari
122 Optimizing individual function areas generally does not result in optimization of the whole process because, within departments, only individual activities are goal oriented. Business Process Oriented Implementation of Standard Software Mathias Kirchmer
123 If you do not define the lowest level of detail required for reporting, you will not be able to design the transaction input to achieve that result. ERP Implementation Best Practices Success And Cautionary Tales Valerie Campbell CPA CGMA
124 The first comprehensive picture of whether the accounting numbers balance and make sense will arise during the month end process. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
125 Overspend on consultancy is often compensated for by a cut-back in training.  This is not helped by the fact that training costs tend to be under-estimated in the first place. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
126 Users only care about their experiences. Transitioning the Enterprise to the Cloud Ed Mahon, CIO at Kent State University
127 Data migration/conversion is always customer specific. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
128 When implementing a new ERP system you need to start data migration from the existing legacy business systems as soon as possible. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
129 The ability to trace requirements flow from their source (originator), through the various project phases (design, prototyping, customizations, testing, piloting, and delivery) is a requirements generation best practice. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
130 Bait and switch.  This is the practice of displaying certain consultants, during the sales process, to show the sales company understands business and the ERP implementation process to ensure a successful outcome. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The Great Gamble Ray Atkinson
131 If you want to achieve “exceptional” results, the ERP implementation project must be a top priority for senior management. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
132 The cost of control obviously should not exceed the cost of inaccuracies. ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
133 Utilize a “test first” approach.  Test scripts are written in advance of any configuration or development. Secrets to a Successful COTS Implementation Nick Berg
134 Visibility promotes accountability. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
135 Success is not to be found in excellent project management alone. ADKAR – A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community Jeffrey M. Hiatt
136 When data lacks high quality, it is useless regardless of the supporting IT infrastructure in place.  There is where data governance comes in.  Data governance involves the creation and management of the organization structures, policies and processes needed to define, control, and ensure the quality of enterprise data. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
137 The rumor mill and grapevine are active in most companies, and it is in the project team’s best interests to preempt them by providing clear, consistent, targeted, and ongoing communications. Successful Packaged Software Implementation Christine B. Tayntor
138 In order to increase the chances that the conversion will go smoothly, do a dry run test of the conversion plan prior to the real go-live. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
139 A common mistake is to design and configure the system for only the first site and worry about the others later. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
140 The proposed process designs should always be designed within the logic of the ERP systems. Maximize Return on Investment Using ERP Applications Worster, Weirick, Andera
141 It’s impossible to meet expectations when a turn-key, customized solution is setting the expectation. Self-Quote Brett Beaubouef
142 Customers tend to interpret requirements broadly, and developers tend to interpret them narrowly. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
143 The training in a rapid implementation should be hands-on. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
144 Benchmarking has its limits. The Reengineering Handbook Raymond L. Manganelli, Mark M. Klein
145 Information technology provides two distinct capabilities for improving the performance of work.  The first, and more familiar, capability is automation: The second capability is information. The Reengineering Handbook Raymond L. Manganelli, Mark M. Klein
146 Interaction drives innovation.  Innovation emerges from the interaction of diverse individuals. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
147 In an organization undergoing change, building a resilient work force by widely disseminating the change vision and strategy and by minimizing disruption is essential. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
148 Business process redesign must incorporate management process redesign. Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
149 The success of the Go Live day is measured by the lack of problems. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
150 One guiding tenet is every present: any change we administer should add more value, cost less, or deliver services more rapidly. Transitioning the Enterprise to the Cloud Ed Mahon, CIO at Kent State University
151 No company, no manager is sufficiently brilliant to think about all of the complexities and complications inherent in a cross-functional ERP project. Mission Critical – Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems Thomas Davenport
152 With ERP you always implement across a business process, regardless of the product scope.  #stopsilothinking. Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
153 If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Personal Quote Derek Bok
154 One dollar of prevention spent on fail proofing strategies can be worth several thousand dollars of expensive fixes and rehabilitation. ERP A-Z: Implementer’s Guide for Success Travis Anderegg
155 You can succeed with any ERP methodology.  You can fail with any ERP methodology.  The key is correctly applying the methodology. Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
156 An information system only has value when people use it correctly. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
157 The best people for the project are likely to be those who have the least free time, since they are already in key positions. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
158 Train and then re-train: The best approach to training is to do it several times. Once is not enough. Three recommend points of training are follows are: On Design, Before test, Post go-live. Top 5 Recommendations to Ensure Your ERP Implementation is Successful Sandeep Walia
159 Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait. R “Ray” Wang: An interview by Bob Morris Bob Morris
160 A company may employ the most sophisticated software in the world, but unless information is managed, timely, accurate, and complete, the system serves little purpose. ERP Lessons Learned – Structured Process Wayne L. Staley
161 Have successful project managers who are capable of anticipating what can go wrong. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
162 ERP is first an attitude; second, a process, and only third, a set of tools. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
163 Using an ERP system simply to run things in the same way as before implementation is a guarantee of disappointment. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The Great Gamble Ray Atkinson
164 Deferring decision(s) will cause significant risks to the (ERP) project success. Directing the ERP Implementation Michael Pelphrey
165 There are limits to how much change an organization and its end users can stomach at once. Why New Systems Fail Phil Simon
166 How can one manage change if one does not understand exactly what is changing. ADKAR – A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community Jeffrey M. Hiatt
167 One means of ensuring that a fresh approach will be taken to the problem is to eliminate all previously existing reports. Mission Critical – Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems Thomas Davenport
168 If an organization does not have process owners then they are not process oriented. Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
169 Plans are worthless, but planning is everything Personal Quote General Dwight Eisenhower
170 The more the consultants know about the company the better they will be equipped to provide good advice. ERP A-Z: Implementer’s Guide for Success Travis Anderegg
171 Resistance, in many cases, is simply a sign of a lack of communication. ERP A-Z: Implementer’s Guide for Success Travis Anderegg
172 Whilst technology is a great enabler, it is not a panacea in itself. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
173 Slow processes are prone to poor quality. Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
174 Rapid implementation cannot be done with a massive project team. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
175 Rapid Implementations: The data cleanup must start early in the project for the organization to be prepared for the data conversion. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
176 In order to do rapid implementations, trade-offs must be made. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
177 The longer the timeframe and the further apart the milestones in a project, the harder it is to create a sense of urgency. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
178 Customers define value. Agile Project Management Jim Highsmith
179 Adaptive approaches are good when your requirements are uncertain or volatile. Agile Project Management Agile Software Development
180 Prototypes also provide early feedback on design problems and customer preferences. Lean Software Development Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck
181 Iterations provide a dramatic increase in feedback over sequential software development, thus providing much broader communication between customers/users and developers. Lean Software Development Mary Poppendieck & Tom Poppendieck
182 There must be awareness throughout the organization of the importance of scope management. E-Business and ERP Murrell G. Shields
183 Ambition can be as powerful a motivator as pain and fear. The Reengineering Handbook Raymond L. Manganelli, Mark M. Klein
184 An individual’s gain or loss of power within an organization also has a tremendous effect on the change management process. Managing the Change Process David K. Carr, Kelvin J. Hard, William J. Trahant. Coopers & Lybrand Center of Excellence for Change Management
185 Rules build on facts, and facts build on concepts as expressed by terms. Principles of the Business Rule Approach Ronald Ross
186 The user community is frequently the largest variable in the ERP implementation. ERP Information at the Speed of Reality Wayne L Staley
187 The more comprehensive the package, the greater the expense and complexity. ERP Information at the Speed of Reality Wayne L Staley
188 Integrating separate ERP systems is hard.  Each ERP system wants to be the master. Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
189 Competitive advantage comes not from systems, but from doing something better than competitors. Mission Critical – Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems Thomas Davenport
190 Business factors create the need for technical functionality; technical limitations create business risk. Mission Critical – Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems Thomas Davenport
191 There is a misconception that ERP is only for big companies. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
192 Without change, performance would never improve. Modern ERP Marianne Bradford
193 There is a misguided belief that experienced consultants face no learning curves with the software. Control Your ERP Destiny Steven Scott Phillips
194 Not all process-integration problems are technical, and not all about IT.  Integrating computer systems is not the same as integrating the business. Business Process Management – the Third wave Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
195 Software programmers often think they have better solutions than users. ERP Information at the Speed of Reality Wayne L Staley
196 Due diligence may feel like a waste of time and money, but weighed against the high cost of failure, it is imperative. ERP Information at the Speed of Reality Wayne L Staley
197 Nothing is more irritating than being forced to serve the system instead of the system serving the customer. ERP Information at the Speed of Reality Wayne L Staley
198 Be open to new ways to accomplish the same goal. The Executive Guide to Implementing Accounting Software Ken E. Sebahar
199 Every single software implementation project is unique. The Executive Guide to Implementing Accounting Software Ken E. Sebahar
200 Cloud ERP: Good, fast, and cheap.  Don’t expect all three! Personal Quote Brett Beaubouef
201 An ERP implementation is the implementation of a business solution. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
202 A business solution is composed of people, business processes, and technology.  People are the most important component of a business solution. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
203 The implementation of a business solution requires multiple methodologies to be employed (project management, software development, organizational change management, business process management, quality management).  One methodology cannot effectively cover all the required disciplines. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
204 Technology alone does not mature a business model. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
205 Decisions – not documents – move implementations forward. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
206 Our key objective is to assure customer success through early and continuous delivery of value-add business solutions. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
207 Welcome differentiated business requirements, even late in the implementation cycle.  Rapid, iterative processes take advantage of change for the customer’s competitive advantage. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
208 Competitive advantage only comes from revenue-generating business processes. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
209 Customers must adapt their expectations of how software supports business to effectively leverage ERP. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
210 Proactively eliminate non-value-add business requirements from the requirements management process. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
211 Maximizing delivered “Out-Of-The-Box” ERP functionality is key to Return On Investment.  ERP makes for an expensive custom solution. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
212 Knowledge transfer is the greatest value an implementation partner can provide to a customer.   A knowledge transfer process should be formally defined and measured. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
213 Implementation partners should enable customers to lead during the implementation by employing a progressive leadership style. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
214 The only viable solution is a manageable solution. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
215 Better to learn DURING the implementation rather than AFTER the implementation. ERP Implementation Manifesto Brett Beaubouef
216 Consultants are there for guidance, but the final say regarding implementation should fail upon the management’s responsibility. ERP 308 – Most Asked Questions Leonard Frost
217 Instead of doing damage control when the problem arises, it is then more sensible to identify the causes why ERP’s fail before it happens. ERP 308 – Most Asked Questions Leonard Frost
218 ERP vendors must become more aggressive in educating their customers on how to be successful with an ERP system. ERP A-Z: Implementer’s Guide for Success Travis Anderegg
219 To ensure rapid and smooth implementation, team members must be capable of dedicating 60 to 100 percent of their time to the ERP project.  Lower committed times of 20 to 30 percent, or less, do not work well because of the high learning curves required for ERP implementations. ERP A-Z: Implementer’s Guide for Success Travis Anderegg
220 Improvements in the use of the ERP system are an outcome of improvements in the process. ERP – The Implementation Cycle Stephen Harwood
221 How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose. Quote Bill Gates
222 The logic is inexorable – the better the training, the faster you will see the business metrics move in the direction you are looking for. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
223 Most ERP projects’ success or failure is determined well before the acquisition software simply by the approach taken to the section of ERP software and the project overall by the company Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) The Great Gamble Ray Atkinson
224 Starting an implementation with an undocumented, skimpy, or untailored implementation methodology is an open invitation to disaster. ERP Demystified Alexis Leon
225 The cost of control obviously should not exceed the cost of inaccuracies. ERP: Making It Happen Thomas Wallace & Michael Kremzar
226 The more methods (perspectives) you employ to gather requirements, the greater your probability for success. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
227 A deep software discount does not improve the customer’s chances for ERP implementation success. ERP the Right Way! Brett Beaubouef
228 Creating documentation is far easier than generating decisions.  Producing a great volume of documentation does not result in producing a great amount of knowledge. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
229 ERP Selection – focus on business results. Too often we fixate on ERP features and assume that the desired business result is achieved. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
230 Regarding methodologies, there is nothing new under the sun.  Every methodology is based upon a set of rules, environmental conditions and assumptions.  All have strengths and challenges that must be addressed for success. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
231 Eliminate wasted effort is spent gathering ERP requirements that support no business value. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
232 Executive sponsorship is not enough for successful ERP adoption. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
233 As the level of control increases, the level of innovation decreases. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
234 Automating a non-value-added requirement still will not add value to the business. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
235 ERP requirements validation is usually too little and too late. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
236 Competent ERP implementation partners should be able to provide industry and configuration best practices day one. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
237 There is a difference between truly evolving requirements and the project team having an evolving understanding of the requirements Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
238 Knowledge transfer is only the beginning to enablement. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
239 Customer’s existing business model will have both non-value-added and value-added activities. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
240 No implementation partner will have a complete appreciation of the customer’s business solution until the customer makes the investment to perform knowledge transfer with the implementation partner. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
241 Running a report is not a business result.  A business user making a decision based upon information in a report – now that is a business result. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
242 Enterprise ERP solutions support business processes and business processes typically span multiple ERP functional areas (modules). Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
243 ERP Success: Know what features and objectives will NOT be included in the project. The Executive Guide to Implementing Accounting Software Ken E. Sebahar
244 A key aspect of enriching mental models is bringing assumptions to light.  People’s assumptions are their blind spots. Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships Ross Dawson
245 Go at a pace that suits the organization’s readiness Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
246 People can’t be controlled like machines: Service processes are far more dependent on the interaction of people (both internal handoffs and working with customers) than are manufacturing processes. Lean Six Sigma for Service Michael L. George
247 Making the effort to understand your customer’s expectations can save a lot of friction and extra work. Rapid Development Steve McConnell
248 Building a custom ERP solution is not strategic to our organization.  That is the statement that executives make when selecting a public cloud ERP solution. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
249 An experienced implementation partner should know up-front the critical path implementation and configuration decisions that a customer has to make for ERP implementations. Max Your Investment: 10 Key Strategies for ERP/COTs  Success Brett Beaubouef
250 Manual input of data is the best possible training method. The Executive Guide to Implementing Accounting Software Ken E. Sebahar

 

ERP Project 101: Organizational Fit Gap

I think we can all agree that organizational fit is a key consideration for successful ERP selections and implementations.  However, mention the phase “fit/gap” or “gap analysis” and most people will fixate on the ERP software.  There are several examples of functional/software fit-gap templates/activities but very few organizational fit-gap templates/guides.  The goal of this blog is to shed some light on this very important activity.

 What is an Organizational Fit/Gap?

An organizational fit/gap analysis is a comparison of the customer’s existing organizational model that supports the business to the defined organizational model supported (or assumed) by the ERP system.  Consider the following illustration: 

Org Gap Analysis

Organizational Fit Gap Analysis

If you do not know what is changing in the organization then how can you manage organizational change?  Too often I see ERP projects only focus on the “To Be” model and expect business users to figure out how to transition. I have also observed that customers see organizational change activities as an opportunity to reduce implementation costs by performing the activity themselves – regardless of their capabilities. 

In order to effectively conduct an organizational fit/gap analysis there are two key sources of information that are required: 

Information   Source Comments
Customer’s Organizational Structure and Business   Processes A   majority of peers and customers believe that this exercise is a non-value-add activity given the imminent organizational change that will occur as part of   the ERP implementation.
ERP Business Process Maps Consider   ERP business process maps as a demonstration by the ERP vendor to show how   their ERP software supports business processes.

Just as you perform a formal Fit/Gap analysis on ERP functionality you should also consider performing a formal organization Fit/Gap analysis as illustrated below:

Organizational Gap Analysis for ERP

Template to identify possible organizational changes based upon predefined ERP roles/responsibilities

An organizational fit/gap analysis should be performed during the ERP selection stage and refined during the early design stages of the ERP implementation.  Do not limit yourself to performing this exercise only once.  The analysis performed during an organizational Fit/Gap will drive future decisions and implementation activities.

What Activities should an Organizational Fit/Gap Influence?

The organization fit/gap analysis will have a direct impact on your organization change management plan and communication plan.  In addition, this analysis will provide insight into user security requirements.  Utilizing this approach will highlight how well the predefined ERP user security profile(s) align to the organization’s existing users.  As a general rule, the majority of predefined ERP workflows are based upon predefined user security roles; therefore keep in mind that ERP user security profile changes may require additional testing for related ERP workflows. 

Why Do We Need a Formal Organizational Fit/Gap?

Conducting a formal organizational fit/gap enables you to quantify the level of change.  Instead of taking a broad stroke at managing change you can provide a focused effort to accomplishing your objective. Remember that people are the most important component of a business solution.  Given the importance I believe that formalizing this activity is worth the investment.

Summary

Predefined ERP implementation tools, templates, roles can provide limited value to an implementation.  Too often the ERP market wrongly perceives that these predefined components result in faster implementations.  This misconception is most pronounced in the ERP SaaS/Cloud arena.  At the end of the day, an ERP implementation should only move as fast as the customer can handle the change.  Conducting a formal organizational fit/gap can enable the customer to adapt faster by focusing on the specific changes required for success.

Building a Better ERP Estimate

There are several documented examples of ERP implementations that went over budget or did not hit the original go-live date.  There are also many explanations out there to explain why these ERP implementations did not meet budget or timeline.  Instead of repeating common information out in the ERP blogosphere, I would like to speak to a root cause that is typically overlooked by our industry – inaccurate ERP implementation estimations.   In the next sections we will take a closer look at building a better ERP estimate.

Rule #1 – Have the right type of information to calculate an ERP Estimate

Developing a competent estimate for an ERP implementation or major customization can be a challenge for both seasoned consulting partners and a new ERP customer.   In a previous life I developed ERP implementation estimators for one of Tier-1 ERP software vendors.  I also developed both Time & Materials as well as Fixed-Price ERP implementation estimates – some good, some not so good.

Simply stated – an ERP implementation estimate is based upon your current understanding of the following areas:

Information Drivers for ERP Implementation Estimates

Information Drivers for ERP Implementation Estimates

 Let’s focus on some specific areas that are typically overlooked or under appreciated. 

Area Description
Customer Participation Implementation partners are generally good about estimating their level of effort to support ERP implementations but fall far short in estimating the effort for the customer.    In the majority of ERP implementations, customer must make available their best and brightest resources to support the implementation.  Odds are that these resources play a major role in current operations.  The ERP estimate should include any need to backfill existing business resources.
Project Scope Project scope refers to the implementation activities that need to be performed and who is responsible for performing the task(s).  Unfortunately, customers see this as an area to reduce implementation costs by taking on activities that they do not have the skills/resource availability to complete (ex. Organization Change Management).  People make ERP successful.
Product Scope Too often business processes and product scope is defined only at the product level (example: we are implementing the ERP’s Purchasing module).  How can I tell what business activities and features are out of scope?  Developing focus is much harder to develop and maintain. 
Implementation Partner Constraints  Every implementation partner has constraints!  It is a just a reality that should be factored into any ERP estimate.  For example, how much lead time should be given for an Implementation partner to replace a consultant?

You can never hope to create a realistic estimate without having valid information on the drivers that influence scope, schedule, and resources.  The next step is to understand your level of comprehension of the information that drives the ERP estimate. 

 Rule #2 – Understand the type of ERP Estimate you are calculating

Per the Project Management Institute’s Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) there are three types of estimates for a project.  These estimates are based upon your level of understanding for project scope, constraints, and assumptions.

Levels of ERP Estimate Accuracies

How Understanding Drives Estimate Accuracy

Simply stated – the more you know about the task(s) at hand the greater the probability of calculating a realistic estimate!  The trouble is that too many ERP implementations do not generate a definitive estimate.   A majority of implementation partners generate estimates during the sales cycle where estimates may approach a budgetary accuracy – at best.  To compensate for the estimation accuracy (-10% to 25%)  many implementation partners incorrectly utilize contingency reserves and management reserves to plug the potential estimate gap.   This is just a bad estimating practice which will most likely result in budget challenges further down in the implementation.  Fortunately, there are steps we can take to develop better ERP estimates.

Rule #3 – Drive to validate and refine your ERP estimate

Estimates can and should change as you learn more about the project.  However, there is an expectation out there that estimates should be defined once and they should be completely accurate.  Here is where I see the process break down.  Once an Implementation partner communicates an estimate too often the customer will latch and consider it an iron-clad promise.  The key driver for this phenomenon has more to do with the Implementation partner setting the wrong expectation when an estimate is communicated.   Customers encourage this behavior by focusing on cost as the key competitive differentiator.  Also, there is a perception in the market that if an implementation partner cannot provide a single estimate then the Implementation partner does not have the experience.  Customers, this may be the case but do not blindly jump to that conclusion.

Best Practices for obtaining ERP Estimates from your Implementation partner

Over the years I have been asked by customers what is the best approach to get a reliable, cost-effective estimate from Implementation Partners.  When should a customer request a fixed price estimate versus a time & materials estimate?  Following are some general guidelines I would like to communicate based upon my experience:

  • Fixed Price versus Time & Materials: Have the Implementation partner provide a Time & Materials estimate for project planning, requirements gathering, and fit/gap.  Once the Fit/Gap is performed you should know exactly what you are up against and then ask for a competitive bid/fixed price estimate to complete the remaining work.
  • Complete Information:  Always ask the Implementation Partner to provide an estimate with the following information
    • Product Scope
    • Project Scope
    • Assumptions
    • Constraints
    • FTE Hour Requirements for both the Implementation Partner and customer resources
    • Estimate accuracy – let customers know up-front that the estimate will change
  • Quantify Reserves: Ask the implementation partner if the estimate contains either a contingency or management reserve.  If so then ask what % of the total estimate is for reserves.  If this % is greater than 10% then this is a sign that the Implementation partner did not gather enough information to generate a realistic estimate.  If the implementation partner does not calculate a reserve then consider this estimate suspect (red flag).
  • Knowledge Transfer:  Just as important it is for an Implementation partner to perform knowledge transfer to enable customer resources to support ERP, it’s as important for the customer to educate the Implementation partner on the unique aspects of their business model.  The better the understanding the better the estimate.

Summary 

There are many of my peers who would consider ERP estimation more of an art than a science.  In my humble opinion, this is a bad philosophy that either results in generating an unrealistic estimate or the customer spending more money than is required.   Customers should also be realistic and understand that estimates created in the early stages of an ERP implementation will change and focus on making the right decisions for mutual success.  Level of effort estimations for ERP implementations are based upon the current understanding of the ERP implementation.  Some ERP estimates are easier to calculate given a predefined implementation scope, however, there will always factors unique to a customer that must be explored, defined, and refined during key milestone implementation activities.

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