Monday, 23 January 2017

CEO Education

ERP vendors have often described to me their prospects as being in a “raw state”—raw in the sense that they are new to the process, haven’t done this before and are expecting some guidance. While having a prospect eager for guidance is great for the vendor, they find themselves in a dichotomy.

On the one hand, by wanting to provide great truthful advice, some vendors can, unfortunately, place their sale at risk when competing vendors tell a contradictory and simpler story. On the other hand, some clients, while needing the advice, view it with a high degree of skepticism, thinking the advice might be manipulated because, “After all, they are just trying to sell me something.”

There is no doubt in my mind that executives contemplating replacing their ERP system should obtain some education in this process before they embark on their journey. It is critical they understand what it takes to get the best from software vendors and to fully understand how they should behave in the relationship, thereby ensuring they have the right resources and budget to ensure success.

Until recently this education has been sadly lacking, leaving executives to their own devices. This is, in my view, a major contributing factor to the very high failure rate of ERP implementations. It is unacceptable that in excess of 85% of them fail in some form or another. What is also unacceptable is the high number of acrimonious relationships between client and vendor. This is a major reason why there is such a high churn rate between vendors. I know some successful Microsoft vendors, for example, who have based their whole growth strategy on picking up unhappy customers from other vendors.

While this is great for them, my view is that these relationships should not get to the point of failure in the first place.  This situation should not exist. There has been a significant level of pain and financial waste to get to that point. We should do something to stop it.

Some education on what is an acceptable expectation for both parties helps to set the stage for success. Unfortunately, this understanding is currently being forged in the heat of battle.

Should this type of education be available before executives commenced their ERP journey and entered into a relationship with a vendor, I firmly believe the number of executives whose careers are put at risk due to failed implementations would be dramatically reduced, and the success rate of implementations could be in the 80 percentile rather than the failure rate being at this level.

For this reason, I have developed two workshops designed specifically to help executives select the right product in the first place and to show them how to successfully implement their ERP.

For more information on my workshops, contact me on: and have “Workshop” in the subject line.

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