ERP Success – Engineer Against Failure

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ERP Success – Engineer Against Failure

I am offering my services to clients and implementers based on over thirty years of experience with
ERP implementation and troubleshooting. In this process I have developed some innovative
techniques that I would like to share with you with a view to providing services to you.
According to Gartner, ERP implementations failure rates can exceed 75%. Meanwhile, global
consultancy McKinsey estimates that more than 70% of all digital transformations fail. Search on
Google for “percentage of erp projects that fail”.

Over the years I have undertaken many troubleshooting projects to turnaround failed and sub-
optimal ERP projects and have built up a body of knowledge that I believe is valuable.
Succeed by engineering against failure

In doing this I have adopted what I term “an Engineering approach”, I am an Engineer by training, by
which I mean that “Engineers succeed by engineering against failure” – it is my contention that the
failure rate of formal engineering projects is much lower than the failure rate of ERP projects and I
have sought to learn from the failures that I have investigated.

In this process I have identified seven “Critical factors causing ERP project failure” and the seven
“Critical factors for ERP investment success”. These are not what most people would think and I
plan to share these with you in a short weekly email.

Factors causing failure

The seven factors causing failure are:

  1. Mythology, hype and tradition – 30%
  2. Inappropriate or ineffective executive custody, governance and corporate policy – 19%
  3. Lack of effective strategic alignment and strategic solution architecture – 16%
  4. Lack of Precision Configuration – 14%
  5. Failure to address soft issues, business engagement and change impacts – 12%
  6. Lack of an Engineering Approach – 6%
  7. Technology Issues – sub-optimal or defective software, hardware, network, etc – 3%
    The percentages represent the extent to which each of these factors has played a part in the
    investigations I have undertaken. It is important to note that the factors with the lower weights are
    still very important but that if the higher weighted factors fail it does not help to get the lower
    weighted factors right.

Factors causing failure

The seven critical factors for success are:

  1. Effective Executive Custody – 25%
  2. Effective Strategic definition and alignment – the Essence of the business – 22%
  3. Effective engineering solution design and implementation approach – 17%
  4. Effective Precision Configuration – 16%
  5. Effective Business Simulation Laboratory operation – 12%
  6. Effective business integration, training, change facilitation, process specification – 6%
  7. Reliable technology – 2%


From consideration of the above it will be apparent that the real issue is not the ERP product, all the
mainstream products are capable of delivering a quality outcome, it is the quality of the
implementation and therefore the capabilities of the implementer that are critical.
In the weeks ahead I plan to share the headlines of my thoughts on each of the above and the
lessons that I have learned in terms of how to implement ERP and other business system projects in
a manner that ensures a successful outcome.