Could ERP simply stand for ‘Early Readiness Planning’?

Transformation is a complicated and risky endeavour, but when done correctly, it can lead to amazing, future-proofed results.

Unfortunately, early risk indicators are frequently missed by inexperienced teams who do not recognise the signals or when they do, struggle to locate the source of the risk until it’s too late.

Being able to recognise early warning signs along your digital transformation journey by utilising adaptive governance and risk intelligence strategies enables your organisation to steer itself towards success. As well as overcoming and potentially avoiding common challenges and risks, executives will also value the improved visibility and decision-making that Early Readiness Planning brings.

In this blog, we draw on our Consultants expertise and experience to reveal some early threats businesses face, so you can avoid the situation where your ERP implementation is already failing, you just might not know it - yet.

Signs organisational readiness isn’t complete

Failure to quantify the scale of the transformation. ERP systems will span horizontally and vertically over business areas. If organisational design models are incomplete it will be hard to align leadership teams to create effective roadmaps and drive operational optimisation. Start with business aspects and analyse the change impacts. Assess the Spectrum of Change to measure organisational readiness

Prematurely commencing implementation. Possibilities are clear but no clear plan or mobilisation of your own resources. Service integrators can be known to contribute to and actively encourage organisations to jump straight into this phase as their meter starts running.

Requirements documentation incomplete and not signed-off. Put simply, commencing development before requirements are signed -off increases the risk of costly re-work. Have alignment and prioritise your requirements with your Integrator’s development team from the outset.

Adopting the ‘No Customisation’ mantra. Although perhaps a good place to start, ultimately this can be a faulty assumption and an unrealistic goal. If only realised halfway through the journey that there is need for customisation, time and cost budgets can be blown quickly.

Common failure points to watch out for along your Digital Transformation

Absence of Strategic Alignment

Executive Misalignment. Does the executive team have a clear understanding of what this transformation means to the organisation and how it will achieve the organisation’s goals and objectives now and in the future through an IT-enabled strategy? The success of an ERP project requires strong executive support and leadership to remove obstacles and resistance to change. This is impossible if the Board is not aligned with business stakeholders or the delivery team.

Business Case – Cannot be measured. Your organisation may know why it needs to change or transform, but if you don’t know what the benefits are you’re looking to obtain, it is difficult to set the right goals or measure the project’s success.

No clear definition of success. If your success criteria is simply system replacement and to not disrupt the business in the process, in the event of budget overruns a policy of ‘just get it in’ will be adopted. This short-sightedness sets the bar too low and minimises the opportunity to benefit from the tremendous efficiency gains transformations offer and perhaps ultimately the project could be considered a failure.

Outdated Project Governance and Controls

Siloed, bottom-up risk reporting. ​Most teams are prepared to manage risks within their direct control but less prepared for those outside their control – ERP programmes will transcend both. Create an adaptive governance framework that can adjust as the programme progresses.

No contingency budget. Projects do run into the unknown and costings will have to adapt as changes and unexpected customisations are needed. Reserve time and money in your plan to prevent going over budget and repeatedly running to the Board for more money.

Overreliance on the System Integrator and biased technology selection. If solely relying on System Integrators or consultants, this may come at a cost as the technology they recommend will likely serve themselves commercially. If the solution is not a good fit for achieving your organisations goals and fulfilling its true business needs, the digital transformation is set up to fail from the outset.

Inadequate Conference Room Pilot or User Testing. Concentrating on development and not allowing enough time for QA or piloting is a common problem and the realisation that you should have undertaken these will likely strike at exactly the wrong time for your project’s reputation. QA must confirm not only that the system is working, but that it is working for your business.


Our independent, highly experienced team develop right-sized multi-disciplined QA and risk management approaches spanning the entire project lifecycle. We can support your organisation to get the assurance and certainty it needs for your digital transformation to be in the best position possible to deliver its anticipated benefits and avoid expensive pitfalls.

We’ve helped many organisations with their Assurance needs, you can read about their experience here.

Check out the Qual IT team’s full Business Assurance & Consulting capability and learn how our specialists can support your organisation today.

Let’s go on this journey together.

Emma Pryce

Quality Consultant

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