• ERP Systems
  • 10.11.2022

5 Tips for Managing Risk During an ERP Implementation

Project Success Mastered by avoiding common ERP implementation mistakes.

Dr. Andreas Maier
Dr. Andreas Maier
10.11.2022
5 Tips for Managing Risk During an ERP Implementation
“ Rules always cost the business something. This cost must be balanced against business risks. “

Like most business owners, you're probably excited about the prospects of implementing a new ERP system. However, ERP implementations can be complex and risky, so taking steps to manage risk during the process is essential. This blog post will discuss five tips for managing risk during an ERP implementation. Following these tips can help ensure a successful implementation and avoid costly mistakes.

1. Understand the risks associated with ERP implementations

ERP implementations are notorious for being risky projects. Several risks are involved, and many companies have failed due to inadequate planning and execution. By understanding these risks, you can take steps to mitigate them and increase the chances of a successful implementation.

Complexity

One of the most significant risks involved in ERP implementations is complexity. A complex implementation can lead to confusion and frustration among employees and increase the chances of mistakes. To avoid these risks associated with large and complex ERP implementations, it's essential to break the implementation down into manageable steps and ensure employees are adequately trained on the new system.

Risk of data loss

One of the most significant risks associated with ERP implementations is the risk of data loss. This can happen for various reasons, including system failures, human error, or malicious attacks. To reduce the risk of data loss, it's crucial to have a solid backup and recovery plan in place. Additionally, you should ensure that all employees know the importance of data security and understand how to protect sensitive information.

Business disruption

Many businesses underestimate the risk of business disruption during an ERP implementation. This can be a costly mistake, as the short-term loss of productivity can significantly impact the bottom line. It's essential to budget for this potential disruption and ensure that your team is adequately prepared to deal with it.

Implementation costs

ERP implementations can be costly, and the costs can increase significantly if the system is not adequately implemented. One of the most significant expenses associated with ERP implementations is running the system. Some systems require expensive hardware and software, and the maintenance and support costs can be substantial. Additionally, there are often costs associated with training employees on the new system. If these costs are not taken into account, they can quickly become a drain on resources. Budgeting for all potential costs (Total Cost of Ownership - TCO) associated with an ERP implementation is essential, or you may regret it down the road.

Time required for implementation

Another risk involved in ERP implementations is the risk of running over time. This challenge can happen for various reasons, including complexity and lack of planning. When projects run over time, it can often lead to frustration among employees and increased costs. To avoid this risk, it's crucial to have a clear plan and ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page. Additionally, you should ensure that you have adequate resources to complete the project on time.

The risk of running over budget is also a challenge, as projects are often delayed when processes are unclear, or the partner doesn't get all the information upfront (requested by the client). So clear communication is vital and should be continually throughout the project with updated plans and evaluations regularly.

2. Plan for potential risks

A successful ERP implementation requires careful planning and risk management. One of the best ways to manage risk is to create a risk assessment. This document will identify the potential risks associated with the implementation and outline how to mitigate them. The risk assessment should be developed early in the planning process and updated as the implementation progresses.

It's also important to partner with a company with ERP implementation experience. This partner can help you navigate the risks involved in an ERP implementation and provide guidance on mitigating them. By working with a partner, you can reduce the chances of encountering costly mistakes during the implementation. 

3. Implement risk management procedures for more complex integrations

Risk management procedures should be put in place early in the planning stages of an ERP implementation. This will help to ensure that all potential risks are identified and addressed. The procedures should be updated and tailored to the organization's specific needs as the implementation progresses.

Some of the critical components of mature risk management procedures include:

  • Risk assessment: This document will identify the potential risks associated with the implementation and outline how to mitigate them.
  • Communication plans: Clear communication is essential for a successful ERP implementation. Plans should be implemented for regular communication among all stakeholders, including employees, management, and the vendor team.
  • Back-up and recovery plans: A solid backup and recovery plan is essential for protecting your data in case of a system failure or other emergency.
  • Testing procedures: Testing the new system thoroughly before going live is necessary. This plan will help to ensure that there are no surprises when the system goes live.
  • Change management plan: Any significant changes during an ERP implementation can lead to increased risk. A change management plan will help to minimize these risks and ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

4. Monitor the implementation process

Closely monitoring the implementation process is essential for a successful ERP implementation. This monitoring includes regular testing and communication among all stakeholders, including employees, management, and the vendor team. By ensuring that clear communication and testing are thorough, you can minimize the risk of problems during the implementation. 

5. Address any issues that arise during the implementation

If problems occur during the implementation, addressing them as quickly as possible is essential. This speed will help to minimize the risk of costly mistakes and ensure a smooth transition to the new system. By working closely with all stakeholders, you can ensure that any issues are addressed quickly and efficiently. 

6. Communicate openly and frequently

The success of an ERP implementation depends on good communication between all stakeholders involved in the process. Communication should be open and frequent, so everyone is kept up-to-date on progress and any potential issues that may arise. 

Conclusion

An ERP implementation can be a complex process with many potential risks. By following these tips for risk management, you can minimize the chances of encountering problems during the implementation. Close communication and regular testing are essential for a successful implementation. If any issues arise, it's important to address them quickly so they don't cause further disruption. With careful planning and risk management, your organization can successfully implement an ERP system that meets its needs. 

About the author
Dr. Andreas Maier

Andreas is a result-oriented CEO who brings nearly 30 years of experience gained in the high-tech industry. His experience ranges up to leading positions in Fortune 100 companies such as rentalcars.com (PCLN) or Intrasoft International, a leading EU based R&D software vendor. He holds a Ph.D. in Neural Networks from the University of Cologne, Germany. 

In the past Andreas has successfully founded and co-founded several startups among others XXL Cloud Inc., eShopLeasing Ltd, and WDS Consulting SA. His expertise is strongly focused on modern headless Commerce and the optimization of processes in IT ecosystems.

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