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The Key to a Successful ERP Implementation? Avoiding These 5 Mistakes

ERP software is deployed as an all-encompassing solution for inventory management, accounting, ordering, purchasing and contract management, CRM, and more. These features come together so businesses can take advantage of process alignment, lower IT costs, and cross-department visibility. 

Enterprise software is an investment, and to foster an environment for a successful ERP implementation- it is essential to be aware of the biggest and most common ERP implementation mistakes so they can be avoided: 

Insufficient Planning

A successful ERP implementation is no small feat. It’s been reported that 29% of all ERP implementations fail, which is why it’s critical to prepare appropriately for the transition to a new solution. 

Many organizations fail to plan sufficiently before starting an ERP software evaluation. Companies that complete a successful ERP implementation conduct an internal audit of all processes and policies in each department- so they can be documented, analyzed, and optimized for the new system. Successful companies provide their employees with the education they need to make their roles more efficient- while simultaneously improving the new solutions adoption rate. This process should be done with an experienced ERP consultant who will ensure each process goal will be met and that the new solution will fit all the requirements.

Not Including Employees

Naturally, people are resistant to change, especially when they feel the legacy system was “just fine.” Top management should be enthusiastic and dedicated to process improvement; that enthusiasm should trickle down to all staff. Simply put, employee buy-in is essential. Without buy-in from the company’s internal team, the ERP implementation can become much more cumbersome and time-consuming. 

 Companies must recognize the breadth of time, money, and resources that will go into the project. As such, preparing to implement a new ERP solution is an excellent time for companies to reflect on their internal processes and operations. Organizations that have gone through successful ERP implementations take the time to: 

  • Educate their internal team on the ERP implementation process
  • Solicit feedback from team members at all levels to ensure the solution is successful for their daily/monthly/quarterly tasks 
  • Choose a team member/manager from each department to assist with the implementation at the department level 

Assigning the Wrong Team Members

Commonly, companies assign the wrong people to their implementation team. For example, junior staff members are frequently assigned to the project because of the fear of committing the senior staffs’ time. This can create problems because while they tend to have an excellent understanding of their specific functions, they lack knowledge and understanding of the company’s strategic goals and operation.

Conversely, overloading a project with C-level executives is also a mistake. They possess a solid knowledge of future goals, but might not have a detailed understanding of day-to-day operations and processes. A “hands-off” manager will be at a loss when it comes to discussing exactly how business processes should be executed in the new software.

So, who should you place on a NetSuite implementation team? Middle managers are a solid fit as they are both users of the software and in tune with high-level strategic goals. They must be empowered to facilitate C-level buy-in and support because they will be responsible for choosing how the application is used and how to construct business process flows.


ERP software comes with a wide range of product functionality. Custom invoices, automated billing, third-party integrations, and much more. These features help companies maximize their investment and help optimize their company’s operations. These features, while powerful, can be complicated, and companies may run the risk of “over-customizing.” It is crucial for company leaders to clearly articulate the systems they want to replace and which solutions they want to integrate. Companies must establish objectives upfront. While integrations and custom development might be the best option to align fully with unique business processes, over customization can cause the platform to become unrecognizable and effectively useless. 

To avoid over customization and ensure that companies take full advantage of the features ERP solutions offer, it is strongly recommended that the lead project manager or implementation contact create a master list with the features implemented. Organizations can later use the master list to track usage, analyze outcomes, and periodically review the list to determine whether the functionality is working as intended. 

Choosing the Wrong Partner

Before you award an ERP implementation to a particular vendor or company, it’s essential to do your research on your shortlist of potential partners. Whether your company decides on a NetSuite Implementation or another ERP solution, due diligence is critical. 

When it comes time to select an ERP implementation partner, ask each potential partner for both general references and references from customers in your specific industry. Reviewing references from your particular industry will give you a good idea of how well versed the consultant is in offering customization for your specific business type. While not every solution is the best fit for your business processes, the ERP implementation consultant you select should thoroughly review your business processes and assess how the solution will best serve your company’s needs. 

Read more: Top 6 ERP Implementation Failures (and What They Cost)

Companies have a better chance of a successful ERP implementation by creating a well-thought-out plan including an audit of internal processes, involving their current employees to create buy-in, and finally, avoiding the most consequential ERP implementation mistakes by finding a trusted partner. Finding the right partner will save your company time, money, and resources, ultimately yielding a better-fit solution for years to come. 

For more information on successful ERP implementations, visit our NetSuite Implementation Services page or click here to speak to a member of our team.

Business Process Self Assessment Worksheet