The timeline of system replacement and the importance of early preparation (Part I)

The ERP system life-cycle is generally thought of as comprising four roughly defined phases:

  1. Acquisition
  1. Implementation
  1. Cutover (go-live)
  1. Ongoing maintenance and enhancement

Implementation is by far the most expensive activity involved in ERP system replacement – expensive in every sense of the word. Implementation budgets are enormous, so significant overruns to implementation budgets are generally seen as catastrophes. Concerted efforts are always made – and properly so – to compress the duration of implementation to the greatest possible extent. (Implementation is such an intense activity that time and money are seen as virtually synonymous. This isn’t precisely true: a schedule overrun is always a cost overrun, but it is often possible to spend more than expected very quickly.) Because of the extreme cost of schedule slippage, all ERP implementations begin with the imposition of a rigid and maximally compressed work plan, one that is negotiated and sanctified by contract prior to the start of work. The consequences of this fact are enormously far-reaching.

It is universally acknowledged that requirements-gathering is a vital part of every significant software project. In deference to this common understanding, a misnamed requirements analysis phase is built into all ERP implementation projects. In practice, these activities are nothing like genuine requirements analysis. Rather, they are exercises in fitting the pegs of the user company’s operations into the pre-drilled holes of the selected ERP product (and, all too often, of the implementers’ experience and knowledge). The activities, duration, and even the results of this so-called requirements analysis are rigorously set in concrete in the contracts for software and implementation services. The overtly stated goal of this phase of system implementation is simply to get through it, on time, with the fewest possible surprises.

Adaptive Growth’s approach addresses the current and great demand for a solution to ERP project failures.

Download our free E-book–The Symptoms, Reasons, and Causes for ERP project failure from our web site