Why Do ERP Projects Fail?

Media reports and customer experiences often underscore the pitfalls and shortcomings of ERP projects – to the point where you may wonder if they’re even worth pursuing. Pitfalls can come in many different forms including timelines running long, budget overruns, failed go-lives, difficult change management and more.

With over 17 years’ experience in the field helping companies avoid ERP pitfalls and optimize outcomes, we know that it is possible to achieve amazing end results. We also know what it is like to remediate ERP gone wrong.

Whatever the case, we can assure you it is clearly better and more cost-effective getting it right the first time. Whether you ultimately choose VistaVu, or go in another direction, we want you to get it right. Keeping your sights set on value, alignment and integration go a long way as you seek and ultimately engage a qualified ERP service and solution provider. When these factors are neglected is when ERP projects start to fail. We will take a deeper dive into each of these areas and discuss how you can avoid common mistakes made in the ERP process.


So, what causes ERP projects to fail?

  1. When individuals lose sight of the value you are trying to drive with project scope

Value doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves on the front end. How well users and leaders adapt to change can be especially difficult in cultures resistant to new systems. Overarching ROI value largely gets stifled in such environments, as people are unwilling to consider new ways of doing things and become insistent on keeping old processes in place. This can lead to an expansion of scope and over-customization of solution modules to accommodate current outdated approaches or processes. Among other downsides, this can easily translate into higher expenses and uncertainties regarding the introduction of future processes.

Both long- and short-term value need full consideration early on, with sharp awareness and acceptance of what should become best practices harmonized with the ERP solution’s core advantages or functionality.


  1. When internal resources are not aligned to the objectives of the project

Alignment of internal and external participants comes down to respective expertise and strong master planning. Forming the right internal team with well-defined roles and dedication to the project is key. This may require backfilling key resources during the project timeline. Knowing your participants from the inside out, including who ultimately does what and when. Make sure attitudes are in the right place as modernization is a mindset just as much as technology serves as a conduit to operational management.

In addition, it is important to find a service provider the understands business impacts and touchpoints as much as technical ramifications and support considerations. Ensure they have experienced consultants and resources for all stages of success, from planning and deployment to success after going live.


  1. When vital integrations are left out of scope

Integrations – particularly across global organizations – can be particularly risky and daunting. A focus on integrations should be widespread, across all global offices. The requirements for both government regulations and additional systems that are leveraged for doing business need to considered when starting your project. This should be a focal point early on as it may impact on scope decisions. Many projects that ultimately fail, push critical system integrations into Phase 2 and often are never revisited again. This then impacts on user’s ability to efficiently perform day to day tasks as well as hinders the overall adoption of the system. It is vital that you plan properly to accommodate commitments and timelines of your critical integrations at the beginning of your project.


As a small or midsize business looking to operate with utmost efficiency and service levels, it pays to know what can make ERP undertakings risky, and conversely, highly rewarding when done right. How companies proceed from the beginning is what will often mean the difference between successful and failed ERP projects.

Established platforms and experienced specialists are critical in the success of your project. Get a feel in advance for how your provider overcomes problems including with respect to managing internal participants and stakeholders. Be open yet ask tough questions about everything from determining meaningful milestones to achieving measurable outcomes such as clear-cut ROI.


How to get it right…and on time

Successful ERP cannot be taken for granted or underestimated. The value also cannot be ignored. When done right, it gives companies their best shot at being their best. Selecting the right partner will make a profound difference. Check out our blog ‘How to Accelerate ROI for Your Cloud ERP Investment’ to learn more about how to achieve the best results with your project.

Below are some suggestions to help get started on the right ERP foot, regardless of industry or type of business:


  • Set measurable and achievable objectives most relevant to your company
  • Hold internal resources and external partners accountable in achieving milestones and ensure you are realistic with resource time requirements
  • Help your team embrace change by spending time learning the selected systems best practices and hold process re-engineering workshops
  • Make proper training a priority to support adoption
  • Implement internal project governance with steering committee meetings which include your selected implementation partner
  • Plan for current needs while charting long-term course to deeper ROI


Here at VistaVu, we have uniquely divided our team into Implementation and Customer Success divisions to provide the support you need from implementation and beyond through to optimizing and leveraging your technology investment. Our experienced team has expertise across many different industries to provide Cloud ERP, Integrations and Technology Solutions.

We welcome the opportunity to answer any and all of your questions regarding the ERP implementation process, including how to ensure your team has a successful project. Customer experience is a strategic priority for us as we help our customers RUN GREAT


About the Author

Laura Herkalo, Director of Presales

Laura Herkalo is the Director of Presales at VistaVu Solutions. She has extensive knowledge of SAP Business ByDesign with over 10 years of experience as a Pre-Sales Solution Engineer and Solutions Consultant. Laura is known for her technical knowledge and regularly contributes to materials to further both staff and client learnings on all solutions.

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