Article

Delivering your Cloud ERP transformation

Mark O'Sullivan Mark O'Sullivan

We've all likely seen plenty of research studies on the % of ERP implementations that fail.

A quick review of various research studies show failure rates of between 25 and 75%. But take all of these studies with a healthy pinch of salt as they usually have a specific agenda behind them. How ‘failure’ is categorised, who is surveyed (e.g. business users versus sponsors) and the population assessed, all have a significant impact on the results.

What is clear is that there are a significant number of Cloud-based ERP projects that do not deliver on either the original business case or internal stakeholder expectations for the project. So, what are the key learnings you can take from these projects and, as importantly, what has worked for those that have delivered success?

We work with businesses and organisations from all sectors and tiers of the UK economy. We have discussed the drivers of Cloud ERP transformation success from board level to workstream lead. We'll avoid bombarding you with statistics or percentages. Instead, we'll simply share with you the top four themes that we have collated from those conversations.

The move to the Cloud has the potential to deliver transformational benefits for your business; improving control, driving efficiency and automation, giving you access to data and insights to support decision making and enhancing user experience. Focusing on these four key lessons will greatly improve your chances of achieving them:

Get ahead of the timetable

For those businesses that have implemented a Cloud ERP, a consistent driver for budget and timetable overruns was a failure to sufficiently prepare for the implementation. Business readiness activities, such as Chart of Account design, wider operating - model reviews, internal team recruitment and role back-filling, could all have been done earlier to get ahead of the timetable

2 Engage, engage, engage

The move to the cloud should focus on the adoption of leading practices embedded in the software, as opposed to significant adaptation or customisation. This drives an increased focus on understanding the resulting change to working practices, processes and roles and responsibilities. Engaging key user groups early in the project, and then maintaining that through implementation was a consistent theme of those projects where businesses successfully delivered their Cloud transformation strategic objectives.

Under-promise, over-deliver

It's tempting when putting together a business case to get drawn into unrealistic potential cost savings. I always put a huge health warning on any business case where the savings are derived from taking out 0.5 FTEs from one area and 0.25 from another, or, are based on benchmarks that don’t sufficiently consider different business and service delivery models.

4 Choose your implementation partner carefully

There is a wide variety of implementation partners out there, with very different approaches to delivering the standard phases of an implementation. Successful projects were characterised by a strong, trusted relationship with the partner, where their team worked collaboratively with the business around a shared view of the required business outcomes. 

If you would like to further explore the subjects raised in this article or to discuss your organisation’s plans for Cloud ERP transformation, then please get in touch.

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