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Acuity’s ERP implementation tips: Avoid a business horror story

9 Minute Read

Do you like scary movies?

We’re taking inspiration from a few to bring you our top 9 tips for preventing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation horror.

Done right, you could see payback for your investment in just a few months, streamline your workflows and processes, save time, cut costs, and increase profits.

Done wrong, your ERP solution can result in agonisingly low productivity and delays in processes and communication, causing nothing but gloom and pain for you and your team.

Heads will roll before we allow you to make a costly mistake in your business, so read on for some of our expert advice.

One, two, Acuity’s coming for you…

Did you know?...

In Japanese, the word for 'nine' is very similar to the word for 'torture' when spoken. Therefore, 9 is considered an unlucky number in Japan.

1: Changing your system could be murder… without approval from the senior team

Can you imagine it?

You take the plunge into the deep dark unknown without input or approval from the boss.

A month later, the invoice crosses their desk.

You better run!

We don’t want to see that happen to you, so first and foremost, get your team on board (see Tip 6), starting with your boss(es) and senior management.

This project will require time, money, and resource (see Tip 2), so you’ll need input and approval from those at the top for it to happen.

2: “So, what’s the plan?”

There were a few steps (and a lot of zombie-killing) along the way to Shaun and Ed arriving at their safe space, The Winchester.

While you won’t need to kill your mum’s boyfriend, when implementing a new ERP, you do need to have a plan in place to avoid being attacked by a hungry zombie (or an equally threatening mistake).

You should consider:

  • Your business’ pain points – what problems do you want to solve with a new ERP system?
  • Your budget for the project
  • Do you have a hard deadline for the system being in place?
  • What is the end goal?

This should result in a clearly defined project scope for your internal team and ERP partner to ensure everyone knows what is expected and what you are working towards.

Once you’ve secured a partner (see Tip 4), consider outlining goals for the duration of the project.

These should be internal and external – a detailed plan for everyone involved which outlines each action and a deadline for its completion.

Having these goals will help you keep the project on track and gives you visibility of who is accountable should something be delayed or go wrong at any given time.

Get a lesson in planning from Ed and Shaun in the clip on the right, complete with a few zombie murders for good measure.

3: “Ah yeah. Ooh, ah. That’s how it always starts. But then later there’s running and screaming.”

Admittedly, Jurassic Park movies aren’t horrors, but that sentiment from Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm is spot on.

Many businesses get caught up in the excitement without considering how they’ll get to the point of it being useable.

To get the most from your system, put the work in during the research phase and avoid sleepless nights!

Get in touch with several potential ERP partners, provide them with your project scope (see Tip 1) and have a call with each of them to discuss:

  • how long they estimate the project will take,
  • their implementation quote and any other fees (including training),
  • what their process would be,
  • what input they would need from your team,
  • and what support you will get post-implementation.

You can then get the project started without fear of it turning into an Indominus Rex and swallowing you whole!


4: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That lovely ERP system you’re implementing could well turn into a 25-foot-long, three-tonne murder-loving shark one day.

You see, if your new system will only accommodate a certain number of users or records, there’ll come a point in your company’s growth where your solution is no longer a solution… it’s just a hungry shark devouring your business’ potential.

So, you’ll just end up needing a bigger boat.

Future-proofing your business (and chosen solution) is one of our goals for all our customers.

Look for an ERP solution that is flexible enough to allow you to add and remove users as needed so you can facilitate change and growth for years to come.

In other words, make sure your boat is big enough.

Take a look at the Jaws clip (left). Warning: explicit language.

5: “Come and play with us… Forever… and ever… and ever.”

There would be nothing worse than being fooled into a false sense of security by an ERP vendor, selecting them as a partner and then discovering they’re nightmarish and there’s no way out. Don’t get trapped.

You don’t want to make any hasty decisions, so make sure you do that research (see Tip 3) before you sign any contracts.

Bear in mind that you won’t just be working with this company for the duration of your ERP implementation project, but they should also be there for you afterwards to provide any support you need.

It can also be tempting to reduce costs by cutting corners and opting for a less comprehensive support package from your chosen ERP partner.

But this is essentially like putting the last nail in your own coffin.

Should you experience problems with your software, or it becomes obsolete further down the line, you’ll be faced with something more terrifying than those twins: enormous, unexpected costs.

Many businesses opt to instead use in-house IT departments for maintenance, however, it is unlikely that they will have the in-depth knowledge and experience that a partner can provide.

A good quality support package from your chosen partner provides you with a wealth of knowledge and more in-depth support and maintenance.

So, don’t plan your own funeral prematurely, and make sure you’ve checked out all escape routes!

Watch the creepy clip from The Shining (right)… be warned, it’s a bit gory!

Unlucky number 9...

9 diamonds were stolen from Mary Queen of Scots' crown, and the massacre order for the Glencoe MacDonalds was written on the back of a 9 of Diamonds, now known as The Curse of Scotland.

6: No tricks, just treats with the right team

Your ERP partner will assign their own project manager, but it is risky to rely solely on them, as an outsider, to manage the project.

We recommend assigning an internal project manager who will act as a single point of contact for your ERP partner and ensure that plan you put together (Tip 2) is followed.

Trick or Treat

Your project manager should be someone with good knowledge and understanding of the project scope and, of course, someone you can rely on.

Next, appoint your project team.

We recommend that your team should be made up of department heads and one or two other members of staff who will work with the system, to gain their knowledge and foresight into how it should work from the start.

But what happens if you pick the wrong team?

Just remind yourself of all that running and screaming, nightmares and the three-tonne murder-shark.

7: Lock all the doors and turn on the lights…

It’s always the same in horrors, isn’t it?

The protagonist goes to bed, leaving the doors unlocked and then hears a bump in the night.

They go to investigate, but they never take a weapon, and for some bizarre reason they never turn on the lights.

We all know there’s an axe wielding murderer lurking around the corner, but no matter how loudly we yell at the TV, they still don’t run.

Any person with common sense would lock the doors at night.

Don’t leave your new system vulnerable either; consider how you’ll secure your new ERP solution to prevent data breaches in the event of an attempted hack, or data loss should something go wrong if your solution is hosted on-premises.

8: “We all go a little mad sometimes”

… but it shouldn’t be a result of your ERP system.

There is a major mistake that companies often make post-implementation that is difficult to come back from.

Without training, your team will be sat in the corner, rocking and humming, with a look on their faces like they’ve just had to witness one of Norman Bates’ bloody murders.

You wanted this new ERP system to help increase efficiency and productivity across your business and you have the tools to do that now, but you won’t see the results unless the staff using it know how it works!

Make sure your staff get training – or they could end up in one of ‘those places’.

Right: the clip from Psycho. That smile is enough to make you shudder.

9: “Sometimes dead is better.”

This quote from Pet Sematary is the perfect one to end on, and brings us to our final tip, which is two-fold…

Firstly, kill off your old system.

You needed the new ERP system because your old is no longer up to scratch, so don’t keep it running in the background for your historic data or “just in case”.

It’s time to purge and say goodbye to it for good.

Secondly, don’t dig your own grave.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably in desperate need of that new ERP system.

We know it’s a terrifying thought but sitting back and hoping the Frankenstein of a system you’ve created from your old ERP solution and countless manual workarounds will one day be what you need is a recipe for disaster.


Further reading...

What is ERP and how can it help me?

ERP is a common term used in business, and it is likely to be one you will come across regularly, particularly as your business grows. Discover ERP and how it can help you.

Discover ERP

Why Manufacturers need ERP Software

A look at some challenges that manufacturers face, and how implementing an ERP Solution can help solve them.

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