Why do ERP implementations often suck?

Digital Transformation

There is a widespread misconception that ERP implementations have some magical powers. Their implementation will result in a massive improvement in efficiency and customer experience. Many Business Cases claim to recover the investment in less than 5 years. However, these claims are often far from reality.

So, why can we not deliver the expected value from the ERP implementations?

Why do ERP implementations often suck?

There are many reasons and aspects to this question. One of the top reasons is that businesses lack a holistic view of implementation. Software is only a part of the transition from the current state to the new state. There is a broader aspect that we ignore.

Here are a few considerations:

Customer Journeys

Have we mapped the customer journey? Do we know how our customers will interact differently after implementing a new ERP?

Do we know the different customer segments, their touch points with our business and mapping their journeys?

What problems our customers may face after the implementation? What is our plan to support them?

Employee journey

How much do we know about our employee’s perception of the new ERP? Do they feel comfortable, threatened, or insecure? All employees are not the same; we can group them together into different segments as well. What is your plan to manage the change among all the employee segments?


Similarly, have we considered how the interaction with our suppliers will change? How are we managing the ongoing relations and support with your Suppliers?

The point is that ERPs in themselves are pretty useless. They return results based on our inputs and set logic. The value is in the understanding of the human element (holistic view). Let us call it Human experience. It can be your customer, employee, supplier or some other.

The problem is that we focus too profoundly on implementing ERP that we miss the big picture. Especially the Human experience part!