5 Key Chapters in an ERP Horror Story

Business IT has an infamous reputation packed with struggles, failures, and downright terrifying results. Stemming from decades of notorious rants and publications on the failure of IT to live up to its name, technology has become the butt of the joke when it comes to business management experiences.

This reputation has gone on to cover a multitude of IT implementations and components, from printers and laptops all the way up to business management systems. Now, where I can’t share my view on the horrors of IT hardware, when it comes to ERP and business management software, I can definitely shed some light on these dark situations. You see, when it comes to hardware, user error can be a common contributor, but most often product defects are the cause of failures and horror stories. But with ERP, how an implementation is managed is often one of the key causes of a horror story.

So, without further ado, let’s outline 5 of the most common chapters that contribute to the bulk of ERP horror stories worthy of Halloween.

Perilous Priorities

Want to avoid an ERP horror story? You would be best to get your priorities straight first! It’s easy to get caught up on cost, after all, who wants to invest so much time and money into a failure… right? The truth is that money doesn’t buy successful ERP implementations! No matter how affordable or expensive a solution, the ultimate success of an ERP implementation comes from selecting the best fit product for your needs. Select a team and a product that you believe is the best fit for helping achieve your business objectives and system needs, then negotiate on price. Many ERP failures stem from prioritising price first.

Pitiful Planning

Thinking of writing your own horror story? Throw this into the mix. Unless your business runs on luck, this pitfall has a near 100% success rate at ERP implementation failure. Alternatively, map out your needs, document your goals, set milestones and deadlines, and plan thoroughly. As that classic quote states, “no one plans to fail, they only fail to plan”. Not only does planning help you steer the project in the right direction and stay on track, but it keeps accountability between you and your implementation partner.

Treacherous Timelines

Nothing cultivates ERP horror better than rushing the process. It as simple as that. Just like any success, ERP implementations don’t happen overnight. It takes time to ensure success, so nothing is more important than setting achievable timelines and expectations. Planning to do everything all at once at 100mph is setting yourself up for failure from the start. Ensure you set reasonable timeframes and expectations that you and implementation partner can agree upon, stick with it, and as above, weave it into your plan.

Terrible Testing

Another key ingredient to an ERP horror story is forgoing testing. Who needs to test before go-live anyway! Sure, we can fix it on the fly. Not likely! One of the most crucial steps of a successful ERP implementation is ensuring that your software works just as it should. Testing will allow you to remove any road-blocks and kinks before go-live. Planning a robust testing phase allows end-users to get hands-on with the product and run common tasks and activities to make sure the end product can fulfil its purpose.

Traitorous Training

The last and final ingredient to creating an ERP horror story is simple – don’t empower your employees with understanding the system before go-live. That way you can create disgruntled employees who believe that your ERP investment was completely pointless. The reality is that most resistance from employees on a new system rollout stems from a lack of understanding. Ensuring your team are fully aware of how and why the system works is a straightforward way to get end-user buy-in, and enable your team to run and manage the new system from day one.


The reality is obvious, no one set outs to write an ERP horror story, but more often than not, many businesses are left with a mess that otherwise could have been avoided. Following the right process and going through some simple steps can drastically increase the success rate of any implementation.

Planning on being an ERP success story?

  1. Prioritise objectives and fit before the cost

  2. Plan thoroughly

  3. Set reasonable timeline and expectations with your ERP partner

  4. Test before go-live

  5. Train your team

Add these 5 ingredients to a solid product and a seasoned implementation partner and you are closer to ERP success than most companies will ever be! If you are planning on making a change to your business systems and would like some assistance, please feel free to contact our team here. We would be more than happy to help you avoid an ERP horror story!