Why ERP implementations fail: 4 common mistakes to avoid

Introduced in the late 1990s, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a software tool that enables companies to optimize their performance. It can be used in all business sectors, and is essential for better management of both SME’s and large companies. ERP enables you to centralize your organization’s information system, secure your data, and improve the productivity of your staff. To implement this IT solution in your company, you need to take a few precautions. As experts in the design of digital tools, Lemon Learning addresses why ERP implementations fail and 4 common mistakes to avoid.

Understanding ERP and its impact: the importance and complexity of ERP systems

ERP is a software that helps companies better manage their management needs. It can be customized to meet your company’s specific requirements. For example, you might consider implementing ERP software to improve your company’s sales management, purchasing and supply management, or invoice management. It all depends on your objectives. However, ERP is a technical and somewhat complex system. Implementing it requires patience and attention to detail.

Mistake #1: Lack of strategic planning

Before implementing ERP software in your company, you must first clearly define your objectives. Analyze your needs, and assess the contribution ERP software can make to your process. You also need to consider the budget you’re willing to allocate to the implementation of ERP software. These planning efforts will enable you to customize your future ERP solution as much as possible. Depending on a number of factors, you may opt for:

  • Cloud ERP
  • SaaS ERP
  • on-premise ERP

Start to formalize your needs and objectives in a detailed ERP specification. It should cover the essential aspects of ERP software implementation, in this case financial resources, human resources, profitability, etc.

Are you interested in implementing an ERP or replacing your current system? Check out our article Top 5 ERP vendors in 2023 (+ 16 ERP systems) and download our list of ERPs.

Mistake #2: Neglecting user training and support

Enterprise resource planning can be a complicated tool to handle and is one of the main reasons why ERP implementations fail. It incorporates a vast array of functions that are inaccessible to the untrained. To enable your company to benefit from all the advantages of ERP software, you need to do some upstream work. Start by identifying the departments in which the system will be deployed. Depending on your company’s needs, this could be accounting, human resources or customer service.

Then select employees who will undergo in-depth training to better master the operation of the integrated management software. To ensure successful implementation of an ERP solution in your company, avoid short, intensive training sessions. This won’t allow your team to get to grips with all the tool’s functionalities. Instead, opt for a gradual, regular introduction. For optimal implementation, you also need to ensure that your ERP software users are properly supported.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the importance of change management

ERP software has the power to reshape your employees’ tasks and work routines, making some processes simpler, automated, or even obsolete. As a result, your company’s operations and service delivery methods will experience substantial transformation. However, employees may encounter challenges adapting to these changes, potentially resulting in resistance to change.

To guarantee the success of your project, focus on the transition process. Involving your employees in the ERP software deployment is key. Seek their input and encourage them to provide suggestions for the most effective implementation of the ERP software.

Mistake #4: Ignoring maintenance and regular updates

Most ERP service providers offer regular maintenance of their tools. They also carry out frequent updates to protect their infrastructures from potential security risks. But, before entrusting the design of your ERP software to a publisher, you should check the services they offer in the event of a breakdown. Are they able to provide immediate remedial maintenance for your ERP? What are the costs associated with ERP system updates? These are just some factors to be analyzed before choosing an ERP system and setting up an ERP implementation project.

How to avoid these mistakes: solutions and best practices

The implementation of ERP software is a complex project that requires careful, long-term preparation. It’s a decision that should be reached through analysis, research, and discussions with relevant departments. To avoid the usual pitfalls experienced by most companies, your journey should begin with an assessment of the advantages of introducing an ERP system into your organization.

To ensure the buy-in of all end-users and stakeholders in your company, it’s imperative to engage them in the project. Additionally, thorough research into the various solutions offered by ERP software providers is essential. This will enable you to make comparisons between offers, and choose the ERP best suited to your business needs. Take Lemon Learning, for example. We’ll study the specifics of your implementation project with you, and advise you on how to optimize it.

Many technical and organizational errors prevent companies from reaping the full benefits of implementing an ERP system. To make a success of your project, you need to identify them at an early stage and put in place appropriate measures to avoid them. Now you have a better understanding of why ERP implementations fail, take a look at ways to overcome ERP implementation challenges.


Sarah C

Sarah oversees all things inbound marketing, exploring the many business uses and topics surrounding digital adoption. Her previous experiences include B2C and product marketing in the social listening space, uncovering emerging industry trends.