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Why does council or business ERP fail?

ERP Strategy

Why does council or business ERP fail?

Any initiative that involves change can create concerns and worries, but the negativity that greets ERP initiatives is unparalleled in business and IT.

The three main reasons for this according to Gartner’s latest research are:


  1. The history of ERP initiatives is littered with large, failed projects that resulted in lost revenue, damaged reputations and disrupted careers.
  2. Most recent past ERP initiatives have been undertaken to implement monolithic systems based on IT-driven assumptions. A “successful” IT project is often viewed as less than satisfactory by end-users. Q: Is IT at fault?
  3. The emergence of digital business, paired with the poor success rate of ERP initiatives, has resulted in ERP losing its appeal to top talent. This leads to a talent gap that naturally compromises outcomes in such complex initiatives.

Source: Gartner ERP Implementation

How do we fix it?


  1. Re-engage Business Managers, Superusers and end-users.

    • Identify they key business stakeholders not IT who are charged with delivery of the technology. Choose those who will contribute most to the future digital business and will be affected by the new or the ERP initiative you want to revise. Team only with those people who have a positive attitude toward the initiative and credibility within their departments, and are willing to support the initiative, changes or improvements enthusiastically. No obstructive or negative people allowed!
    • Ensure then that the team mix is composed of people who are also capable of thinking “outside the box,” alongside those with large-scale program experience. Avoid favouring the latter when transformation needs are high. These are not all IT people…
    • Leverage peer advocates “behind the scenes” as early as possible — get them excited about the initiative or the revision, and let them “market” it for you. Look beyond project teams to task these advocates.
    • Minimize change resistance by motivating reluctant people to join the initiative. Show them early successes (“How do I help achieve that vision?”) and benefits (“What’s in it for me?”). If they remain negative – keep moving on and ensure your ERP Champions keep focused on clear goals.
    • Take tactical actions to set expectations for the coming changes at all levels of the organization: training, coaching and reexamination of incentives whenever needed. IT doesn’t communicate these changes. This is a business initiative enabled by technology tools and change management.

  2. Turn End-User Indifference into Enthusiasm by Forging an Emotional Connection

    • Always enthusiasm stems from emotion and passion. Without enthusiasm, most stakeholders will be indifferent to an ERP initiative or any revising of ERP and its goals. Remember indifference is our ‘primitive default’ around almost any environment that does not trigger a sense of risk or reward. Again focus on what is in it for your end-users?

  3. Paint the new Colorful Picture of the Desired Future State

    • ERP does not exist for its own ends and the objective of any ERP program is not to “go live” in as short a time as possible. ERP is to deliver business value — including post-go-live. ERP is at the heart of digital business enabling tangible business outcomes where the value lies – so where does the value lie in each phase of the ERP rollout? They should be part of the goals and milestones, and form part of the statements of deliverables.
    • Sadly, ERP is often also considered as a system of record. ERP must be viewed within the larger scope of systems of record, differentiation and innovation. Organisations do realise at some point that differentiation and innovation will still be largely supported by data generated by systems-of-record capabilities. When will you re-track your ERP to get the value from it?
We have been working with regional authorities and councils, state and federal entities to perfect, retract or evaluate their ERP or software procurements for over 17 years. Call and ask to speak to one of our clients – we would be glad to have you speak with them to find out how we do it better.