BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT
Mounting an ERP Recovery Effort? Check Out These Resources
We hear from many manufacturing and distribution teams about ERP project failures and how to mount an ERP recovery effort. Based on our depth and breadth of experience with enterprise technology projects, we know what a failed project looks like and we know how to avoid it. Here is a roundup of recent blog posts on the subject of what it takes to mount an ERP recovery effort.
The Earmarks of Failure
In our blog post What are the Most Common Challenges with ERP Implementations? we describe some of the telltale signs of a poorly designed and executed implementation:
- An over-extended implementation team with unrealistic expectations.
- Lack of an organizational change management strategy that focuses on people, process and technology.
- The absence of a coherent future state vision, relying instead on “how we’ve always done it.”
- Data management challenges when enterprises can’t access data or aren’t using it effectively.
What is an ERP Recovery Effort?
A recovery effort is a strategic process to remedy past failures and weaknesses the organization experienced with a previous ERP project. An ERP recovery effort could involve further enterprise technology evaluation, or selection and implementation of a new technology option. It might include all of those phases. Above all, the recovery effort must include a business transformation focus that analyzes the current state and creates a blueprint for the future state of business processes.
Undertaking an ERP Recovery Effort
Admitting that a project has failed and making the decision to focus on recovery is itself a daunting task. Significant investments in time, money and resources have already gone into any enterprise technology project and making the leap to recovery brings additional costs and commitments.
At the core of an ERP recovery project is a strategic analysis of:
- The previous scope of work, project budget and timeline
- Organizational structure and accountability of the ERP project team
- Whether a business case for change was clearly defined and communicated
- Feedback from project team members, stakeholders and end users involved in the previous project
- An analysis of ERP risk categories that were evident in the past project
Defining the Roadmap to Recovery
It’s clear from successful business process improvement projects involving ERP software selection and implementation that a well-thought-out roadmap and strategy will point the project toward success. Some steps include:
- Project organization is where recovery starts. It includes evaluating the project’s scope, objectives and organization. Gaining alignment on project focus areas is a must. Among other steps, Ultra recommends defining a steering team, ERP project team and process owners.
- Current state analysis is a deep review of how operations and processes currently work and where weaknesses or gaps exist.
- Education in “what is possible” with a new enterprise software solution is the next logical step and involves vendors and consultants.
- Defining future state opportunities, also known as business process re-engineering helps the team identify the gaps between the current state and industry best practices.
- Creating a business case for change is the main project driver for the project and includes the business value statements that become project goals.
- With a focus on business process transformation, the team creates a project charter and transformation roadmap to define the deployment strategy for recovery.
An ERP Recovery Effort Success Story
Ultra recently worked with a process manufacturer to recover from a failed ERP implementation.
The manufacturer needed to replace a legacy ERP solution that would not scale to its expanded business volumes and could not manage production consolidation operations. Standalone and manual methods were obstacles and the company wanted improved reporting.
Rather than focusing on a business process improvement strategy, the company went straight to vendor demos without a clear vision of how a new ERP system would add value.
Calling on Ultra for expert assistance, one of the managers noted “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.” Fortunately for the ERP team, they had not yet made any purchase, since they realized that they didn’t know how to go about the process of ERP solution evaluation and selection.
Our team helped the manufacturer leverage enterprise technology to achieve true business process transformation by creating a vision of the future state and defining the business value for the project.
Final Thoughts on ERP Recovery Efforts
Regardless of how an enterprise fails in its ERP solution project, it’s imperative to follow a recovery roadmap that includes both business process transformation and return on investment.