The Third Deadly Sin of ERP Implementation: Excluding Critical ERP Users from the Process

The Third Deadly Sin of ERP Implementation: Excluding Critical ERP Users from the Process

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#3: Excluding Critical ERP Users from the Process

The IT department and the C-suite do not own (and may never interact with) your core business processes. So the project team should include key people—end users and functional managers—from across your organization who are regularly involved in those processes.

When the right people are involved from the beginning, you’re more likely to get hundreds of crucial decisions correct, you significantly improve the odds that your process changes are spot-on, and you help ensure the success of the implementation. Plus, you’ll have a group of employees who are engaged with the implementation process who will invest in its success.

Failing to involve users can have a huge downside: Technology-only decisions that ignore the human element often result in the selection of an unsuitable solution, poor user buy-in, resistance to change, misdirected efforts and costly rework. The implementation of a solution that fixes little, breaks proven processes and creates new operational complications can have a devastating impact on an organization. Engage stakeholders in ERP selection and in decisions—big, medium and small—that will affect the processes they use.

Engage stakeholders in ERP selection and in decisions—big, medium and small—that will affect the processes they use.

Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a complex undertaking that requires careful planning and consideration. However, one common mistake that organizations make during the implementation process is handling the decision within the IT department and C-Suite, excluding critical ERP users from the decision-making process. This can have significant negative consequences on the success of the implementation and the overall effectiveness of the ERP system.

This post will look at:

  • The importance of including key stakeholders and end-users in the ERP implementation process 
  • The potential pitfalls of excluding critical users
  • The benefits of engaging ERP users from the beginning of an ERP implementation project

7 deadly sins of ERP implementation


Some mistakes are just bad strategic or financial decisions. Some are the inevitable consequence of situational or organizational factors. These are The Seven Deadly Sins of ERP Implementation.


The Importance of User Involvement in ERP Projects

1. Understanding the Core Business Processes

The IT department and the C-suite may have a good understanding of the technical aspects of the ERP system, but they may not have a deep understanding of your organization’s key business processes. By excluding critical ERP users from the implementation process, your organization misses out on valuable insights and expertise related to these processes.

Including end-users and functional managers from across your organization ensures that the implementation team has a comprehensive understanding of the processes that the ERP system will support. This understanding is crucial for making informed decisions and designing effective workflows within the system.

2. Making Informed Decisions

Implementing ERP solutions involves a multitude of decisions, ranging from system configuration to process redesign. Excluding critical users from these decisions leads to a lack of understanding of the specific needs and requirements of different departments and functions.

By involving users in the decision-making process, your organization can tap into their knowledge and experience to make more informed decisions. Users can provide valuable insights into the challenges they face, the desired outcomes and potential improvements. This collaborative approach ensures that decisions align with the needs of the users and your organization as a whole.

Implementing ERP solutions

3. Ensuring Process Changes Are Effective

Implementing an ERP system often involves significant changes to existing processes. These changes can impact the daily work of end-users and functional managers. Excluding them from the process can result in resistance to change and poor user buy-in.

Your organization ensures that the process changes are well received and effective by the end users through their involvement in the process. Users can provide valuable feedback on proposed changes, identify potential pitfalls and suggest areas for improvements. This approach increases the likelihood of successful process changes and user adoption.

4. Engaging Employees and Promoting Success

When you exclude critical ERP users from the ERP implementation process, your organization misses on the opportunity to engage employees and create a sense of ownership and investment in the project. Employees are more likely to embrace the new system when they feel valued and included. Therefore, they are more likely to actively contribute to the project’s success. 

Furthermore, engaging critical users from the beginning also helps to build trust and open lines of communication between the implementation team and end-users. By working hand-in-hand, your organization builds the foundation of partnership necessary to seamlessly transition to a new ERP solution.

The Pitfalls of Excluding Critical ERP Users

1. Unsuitable Solution Selection

One way that your organization can end up selecting an unsuitable Enterprise Resource Planning System is by excluding your critical ERP users from the decision-making process. Without their input, you may overlook important functional requirements or fail to consider the specific needs of different departments.

An ERP system that is not tailored to your organization’s unique requirements may not effectively support core business processes. The end result is inefficiencies, data duplication and frustration among end-users. Ultimately, this undermines the purpose of implementing an ERP system in the first place.

2. Poor User Buy-In and Resistance to Change

When end-users are excluded from the process, they may feel disconnected and resistant to the changes being made. This can result in poor user buy-in and a lack of enthusiasm for the new system.

Resistance to change can hinder the successful implementation of an ERP system and prevent your organization from realizing the benefits it offers. Without active user participation, your firm may struggle to overcome resistance and fully leverage the capabilities of the ERP system.

3. Misdirected Efforts and Costly Rework

Without the input of the critical users of the ERP system, your organization may end up investing time and resources in developing processes and workflows that do not align with the needs of the end user. 

Misdirected efforts can result in inefficiencies, confusion and frustration among end-users. It may also require additional time and resources to correct and optimize the ERP system, leading to increased costs and delayed implementation timelines.

4. Limited Knowledge Transfer and Training Opportunities

An ERP’s critical end users possess valuable insights and experiences they can share with others to facilitate the adoption and effective use of the new ERP system. Therefore, by excluding these users your organization is missing out on this valuable knowledge. 

Without end user involvement, your organization may struggle to provide comprehensive training and support. This can result in a steep learning curve, reduced productivity and increased reliance on external support.

Engaging Critical ERP Users

The Primary Benefits of Engaging Critical ERP Users

1. Improved System Fit and Effectiveness

Engaging critical ERP users from the beginning ensures that the system is tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the organization. Their input helps to identify gaps, define functional requirements and design workflows that align with your organization’s core business processes.

By involving critical users, your organization ensures that the ERP system is a good fit and effectively supports the day-to-day operations. This leads to increased efficiency, improved data accuracy and enhanced decision-making capabilities.

2. Enhanced User Adoption and Satisfaction

When end-users are involved in the ERP project, they become active participants and stakeholders. They have a voice in shaping the system and are more likely to embrace the changes and actively contribute to its success.

Engaging critical users promotes user adoption by addressing the concerns they may have, providing training and support and involving them in the decision-making process. This leads to higher user satisfaction, increased productivity and a smoother transition to the new system.

3. Increased Communication and Collaboration

Involving critical users in the ERP implementation process fosters open lines of communication and collaboration between the implementation team and end-users. This collaborative approach encourages feedback, promotes idea sharing and facilitates problem-solving.

Effective communication and collaboration help to address challenges, resolve issues and optimize the system. It also builds trust and strengthens relationships between different departments, fostering a culture of teamwork and cooperation.

4. Empowered Employees and Ownership

Engaging critical users empowers employees by giving them a sense of ownership and responsibility for the success of the ERP project. They become advocates for the system and actively contribute to its continuous improvement.

When employees feel valued and empowered, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and strive for excellence. This leads to increased productivity, higher employee morale and a positive impact on the organization as a whole.

Primary ERP Users

Primary business users of ERP systems are the individuals who heavily rely on enterprise resource planning systems to perform their day-to-day tasks and play a critical role in various departments within an organization. These business functions can be optimized with a well-managed ERP project, pushing your company forward toward future success.

1. Finance

The finance team, including accountants, financial analysts, controllers and other finance personnel, are primary industry users of ERP systems. They utilize the ERP system for tasks, such as managing accounts payable and receivable, tracking budgets, generating financial reports and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.

2. Human Resources

The HR department leverages the human resource management module of the ERP software to manage employee data, payroll, benefits administration, training and development programs and performance reviews. With an ERP system, HR personnel can streamline workforce management processes, enhance employee engagement and ensure accurate and efficient HR operations.

3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Sales and marketing teams heavily rely on the CRM module of the ERP system to manage customer relationships, track leads and opportunities and close deals. With a comprehensive CRM solution integrated within the ERP system, your organization can effectively manage the sales pipeline, provide personalized customer experiences and optimize sales and marketing strategies.

4. Supply Chain and Logistics

Supply chain managers utilize the ERP system to manage inventory, track shipments, optimize logistics processes and ensure efficient supply chain management. With real-time visibility into inventory levels, demand forecasting and order fulfillment, your organization enhances supply chain operations, reduces costs and improves customer satisfaction.

5. Sales and Marketing

Sales representatives leverage the ERP system to manage customer accounts, create proposals, track sales orders and monitor sales performance. By consolidating customer data, sales teams can gain a holistic view of their customers, identify potential upsell and cross-sell opportunities and improve overall sales effectiveness.

6. Manufacturing

Production planners, schedulers and quality control personnel heavily rely on the ERP system to manage production processes, track materials, ensure quality control and optimize manufacturing resource planning. By integrating manufacturing operations within the ERP system, your organization enhances operational efficiency, reduces manual tasks and improves overall productivity.

Secondary ERP Users

Secondary ERP Users

In addition to the primary users of ERP systems, there are secondary users who interact with the enterprise resource planning system in various capacities. Let’s take a closer look at these secondary users:

1. Senior Management

CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives utilize the ERP system to access real-time data and insights that enable them to make informed business decisions. With access to key financial and operational metrics, senior management can monitor the overall performance of an organization, identify business trends and drive strategic initiatives.

2. IT Department

The IT department plays a critical role in managing the ERP system infrastructure, including installation, configuration and updates, plus providing technical support to users. They ensure the smooth operation of the ERP system, maintain data security and integrate the system with other business applications.

3. External Vendors

Suppliers and other external partners may have limited access to the ERP system for specific tasks, such as submitting invoices, tracking purchase orders or collaborating on supply chain management. By providing external vendors with controlled access to relevant data within your ERP software, your organization enhances collaboration, improves efficiency and strengthens relationships with their partners.

4. Customers

In some cases, your organization may grant customers access to a limited portion of the ERP system to view their order status, track shipments or access support information. By offering self-service capabilities, your organization enhances customer satisfaction, reduces manual inquiries and empowers customers to manage their interactions with your company.

Best Practices for Involving ERP Users

To ensure the success of an ERP project, don’t commit the third Deadly Sin of ERP Implementation. Instead, your organization should follow these best practices for involving ERP users:

1. Identify Key ERP Users

Before diving into the enterprise resource planning software implementation process, it is essential to identify the key ERP users who will be directly impacted by the system. These users should have a deep understanding of their respective areas of responsibility and be able to provide valuable insights and feedback. By involving key users from the outset, your organization ensures that the implemented solution meets your actual business needs.

2. Form a Cross-functional Implementation Team

Creating a cross-functional implementation team is critical to the success of an ERP project. This team should consist of representatives from different departments and functions, including end users, functional managers and IT personnel. By bringing together individuals with diverse perspectives and expertise, your organization ensures a comprehensive understanding of the business needs and a holistic approach to the implementation.

3. Involve ERP Users from the Beginning

To foster user ownership and engagement, it is crucial to involve ERP users from the very beginning of the implementation process. This involvement should extend to the selection of the ERP solution, the design of the solution and the decision-making process. Seeking user input and feedback at each stage ensures that their needs and preferences are considered, leading to a more successful implementation.

4. Provide Training and Support

Comprehensive training and ongoing support are crucial for successful ERP user involvement. Your organization should provide training on the new system, as well as support users in adapting to the changes brought about by the implementation. Training and support initiatives should be tailored to the specific needs of each user to ensure a smooth transition and maximize user adoption.

5. Prioritizing Change Management

Implementing an ERP system often involves significant changes to existing processes and workflows. To ensure a smooth transition from legacy ERP systems, companies should prioritize change management and involve ERP users in the process. Giving users a voice in how the new system will be implemented helps them gain an ownership interest in the project and reduces resistance to change.

It is essential to be patient and understanding during the transition period. Change can be difficult, and users may require additional support and training to adapt to the new system. Celebrating successes along the way can help keep users motivated and engaged.

6. Foster Open Communication and Collaboration

Open communication and collaboration are vital for effectively involving ERP users. Your organization should create a supportive environment where ERP software users feel comfortable providing feedback, asking questions and sharing concerns. Regular meetings and updates should be conducted to keep users informed about the progress of the ERP software implementation and address any issues or challenges that arise.

7. Continuously Seek User Feedback

User feedback is invaluable in ensuring the ongoing success and optimization of unique ERP solutions. Throughout the implementation process and beyond, your organization should continuously seek user feedback. Regularly soliciting input from ERP users helps identify quality solutions for ERP software improvement, address concerns and make necessary adjustments to the implemented solution.


Excluding critical ERP users from the ERP software implementation process is a common but costly mistake. By involving key stakeholders and end-users from the beginning, your organization can tap into their expertise, ensure effective process changes and promote user adoption. Engaging critical users of ERP solutions leads to improved system fit, enhanced user satisfaction, increased communication and empowered employees.

To avoid the third deadly sin of ERP implementation, your organization must recognize the value of user involvement in modern ERP solutions support and setup and make it a priority throughout the implementation process. 

Ultra Consultants is your primary business tech partner, and we leverage our exceptional ERP expertise, deep industry experience, today’s best practices and a rigorous, proven methodology to help your organization realize the benefits of modern enterprise technologies—and see real bottom-line results.

Put Ultra’s experience to work for you. Get started by requesting a free discovery call today.

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