Projects may fail to deliver for a variety of reasons. Poor outcomes often arise because partners do not have the right staff, they lack the necessary experience, they cannot manage the project or because the initial budget was set too low.
Each phase of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project – evaluation, selection, implementation – is critical to success. Unfortunately, not all ERP implementations go as planned. ANEGIS understands that a successful Dynamics 365 implementation is more than just a technical solution. Our approach considers people and process, as well as technology. Our portfolio contains many project recoveries and re-deployments of Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects that failed entirely or just did not deliver in full.
Often, not enough attention is given to operational change and business process transformation. Change management requires training, communication, user readiness and support. This key aspect of a successful ERP deployment is often neglected due to resources being diverted to day-to-day operational issues.
These projects can always be recovered with the help of a competent partner who is open and up-front about the potential costs and knows how to push the buttons that will fix outstanding issues.
The first step of ensuring your project meets business objectives is to carry out a full project audit. We will conduct a full analysis of your business processes and let you know the pure and unvarnished truth about what went wrong and how to fix it.
The project team can start to develop a project recovery roadmap to define the short-term and long-term changes that need to be made in order to improve business processes, increase system usage and maximise benefits realisation.
Remedial work can range from simple retraining on software and processes to reengineering the solution from the ground up. This may include revised environments, configuration code development, use of different modules (or plug-ins) or just a different approach to using the software.
Signs that your ERP project is heading for failure
Enterprise-class business management systems are never one-size-fits-all solutions. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations (formerly Microsoft Dynamics AX) projects may fail to deliver on business objectives for a number of reasons, including:
- The wrong tool was selected for the job. ERP systems are not one-size-fits-all, and whether generic or niche, should be closely aligned to the business requirements, growth plans, and data and infrastructure strategies.
- Problems arise right from the bidding process, where one partner underbids another with no real hope of implementing successfully for the price quoted. Partners may also promise to deliver on expectations which are not realistic.
- The partner has not understood the complexity in the client’s business, and as a result the client hasn’t set aside enough money in the budget to finish the job.
- The client implementation team is over extended. An internal implementation team staffed only with part-timers indicates a lack of commitment towards the project.
- As soon as the project starts, the partner switches out the project team for junior or less capable staff. A core team should be in place from start to finish.
- Rushing straight into the solution design without having a complete understanding of the whole business function. Missed requirements can cause a complete, and costly, redesign.
- Implementation contracts are too vague. Deliverables and a price for each deliverable should be clearly stated from the beginning.
- Lack of involvement from executive-level stakeholders will lead to vague decision-making, poorly defined and communicated business value for the project and inevitably extended budgets and deadlines.
- Internal politics hamper decision making – conflict over ownership of business processes and other internal issues can derail a project without clear leadership.
- Poorly planned and executed data migration is the single greatest cause of a go-live postponement. A project plan without substantial and timely data cleansing will almost certainly hit the buffers.
- Internal project resources are reassigned to other priorities – under resourcing leads to delays and increased costs.
- The partner’s system is not set up to capture concise data for each business objective and fails to prevent slippage.
- Significant budget and schedule overruns with no realistic mitigation plan. Deadlines and milestones are consistently missed – slippage due to poor project management will see costs mount and momentum dwindle.
- More customisations are necessary than were planned – the more customised the system, the more expensive it will be in the future to support, upgrade and maintain.
Eight ways for a project to go over budget
- Labour – the internal implementation team needs to be properly staffed. Organisations that assign too few or only part-time members to the team often find they have under-resourced and need to compensate later, increasing budgeted labour costs.
- Training – system users will need to learn new skills to fully take advantage of improved business processes and more efficient workflows. Organisations often under-estimate user training or view it as an area that can be skimped on, but this is a false economy that may lead to under, or improper, utilisation of the system.
- Testing – testing should be continuous, throughout the implementation, testing software, configurations, migrated data and security settings as they are being delivered. Defects discovered later will incur greater costs.
- Change – failure to sufficiently invest in and plan for change management will lead to process mistakes, reduced productivity and lower ROI.
- Requirements – any requirements not captured prior to the solution design will cost more to include further down the line. An unrealistic schedule creates pressure to rush straight into the solution design without having a complete understanding of the whole business function, including the unhappy path.
- Data – poorly planned and executed data migration will cause delays and budget overrun. The time required for data cleansing is often under-estimated.
- Hardware – for on-premises deployments, the infrastructure will need to be maintained. Even when the hardware has been correctly specified and configured, there will likely be unplanned costs for repairing, replacing and upgrading system elements.
- Scope – there is a tendency to get carried away with unnecessary customisations and additional features outside the original scope. Scope creep diverts focus from the project goals and core issues and can lead to out-of-control budgets.
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