The reason behind (most) failed SAP implementations

ERP implementation failure reasons

Having worked on global SAP implementations in Cosmetics, Consumer goods and Fashion industries, in all positions from data analyst to project manager, without getting  SAP online training‌  or  professional certifications‌  while changing jobs to face the migration challenges, and having to hide in my CV my participation to some failed SAP implementations projects, the reason behind Revlon's failed implementation is clear, and standard: mismanagement and miscommunication are behind their ERP implementation failure.

Chances of success with SAP are only 50-50

1- Micromanagement

It is unfortunately common during SAP projects to find the same issue. Managers with little to no skills in management are put in charge of large teams in various streams that they do not know about. As a result, they tend to micromanage the collaborators in order to better report to client on topics they do not understand and can't explain themselves.

As a result, the highly paid experts lose interest in their work, resulting in below average tests that lead to missing scenarios to implement, test and validate properly, as the chain of communication is not working as it should with trained experts, thus ultimately leading to an ERP implementation failure.

How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team

2- Miscommunication

Working in company organized in silos, meaning different business units that have all in common from the outside, but competing against each in other on the inside for internal power competition leads to a global lack of communication, especially with external resources that are paid to implement a global system, but are unable to organize local business knowledge transfer meetings within the company.

Art of communication in project management

3- Failing combination

Coupled with a global inability to manage a project, this is the key for any  SAP implementation‌  to fail - adding more micromanagement meetings and more managers on a failing project, the common solution, does not work, brings the client silos to remain within their business units, the consultants to lack time for real work, everybody being busy in useless reporting meetings and slowly losing interest for the global project, up until the decision to roll back to the previous ERP after the ERP implementation failure and leave there the failed SAP implementation.

Reasons for ERP failure, and how to avoid it

How to avoid an ERP implementation failure?

  • Trust your team.
  • Bring them together.
  • Hire motivated experts.
  • Minimize chain of management and reporting.
  • Get an unlimited  SAP online training‌  subscription for EVERY users.
  • Get them  professional certifications‌  whenever even if they don't ask for it and especially when they get new responsibilities.
  • Pay attention to the  migration challenges‌  and prepare solutions for them.

On top of that, management usually fails to provide the necessary basic to the employees: available meeting rooms, correct working areas (open spaces are not a solution for employees supposed to be thinking), convenience such as cantine and leisure break areas, and what should probably be a basic in any technology project, but isn't, good tools and services, from choosing  a VPN‌  that works to providing employees with laptops that will fit their usage.

ERP failures 2018 and SAP failures 2019

Several ERP implementation failure happened over the years, and 2018 was actually a big one for this kind of failures. Remember to get  professional certifications‌  for your project members to help the chances of your  SAP implementation‌  to succeed!

15 famous ERP disasters, dustups and disappointment

Revlon SAP ERP implementation failure is a good example of fails; their implementation in 2018 did not work and could not sustain the manufacturing processes.

When REVLON Changed ERP But Should Have Perhaps Settled for Simply Changing Its Lipstick

In that same year, Lidl scrapped their  SAP implementation‌  project after having lost €500 million in the project, mostly due to implementation issues related to their customization.

Lidl cancels SAP introduction having sunk €500 million into it

Worth&Co made the ultimate decision to stop using their Oracle ERP in 2018 and started to convert to a different ERP system, mostly because they failed to implement correct communication between IT department and users.

Oracle ERP lawsuit underscores installation hardships for big systems

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