In part one of this series, we explored four of the top ERP problems that primarily involved the pre-implementation phase. The second part in the series addressed some of the serious problems companies often face when they are actually implementing their ERP systems. The last four, items 10 to 13 on this list, are more technical - the types of problems IT staff may have to confront in order to keep your shiny new ERP tower from tipping over.
10. Not decommissioning legacy applications - In case you are unclear about the terminology, the word “legacy” is a polite way of saying “old”. Those 5, 10, or even 15-year-old applications that have your company’s data locked away in them need to go. The process of freeing your company from them may be arduous, but it will be worth it in the long run. The last thing you want is to have a new ERP system with the old legacy applications hanging off of it. That would just require more maintenance and support.
11. Not having an active load testing environment - Setting up a few users to test your new system will not be enough if you want to avoid the costly and time consuming effects of unplanned downtime. You need to find out how your system will hold up under a heavy load similar to the type your real users will put on it. That type of test environment may not be easy to set up, but the benefits far outweigh the costs of being prepared.
12. Ignoring third-party support alternatives - Sometimes you can save a lot of money by choosing a third-party support provider. It is a mistake to think that the only way to get good support is directly from the vendor. In some cases, third-party support can even be better and preferable for you and the vendor. For example, some Microsoft partners have decades of experience offering support to Microsoft Dynamics ERP customers. Many of them can provide a more personalized support system that big vendors probably would not be able to offer. In some cases, they can also give you deep discounts for long-term support contracts.
13. Not having a maintenance strategy - If you have come this far and have not fallen off the wagon, it would be a shame to stop now. Maintenance is the last item on the list, and it is the one that you will consistently deal with throughout the life of your ERP system. Therefore, having a plan in place for it is one of the most important things you can do. That includes both preventative maintenance and any fixes that might be necessary over time. If maintenance is not something you want to worry about over the life of your ERP system, you might want to strongly consider a cloud or Microsoft partner-hosted option.
All of the mistakes on this list are preventable. Now that you know about them, you can easily put planning into motion to make sure your company does not end up as the subject of another ERP horror story. Many of the preventative measures you take to avoid mistakes on this list will also help you avoid mistakes not on the list. Tackle this ERP task just as you would any other major business venture, and you should survive.