ERP Implementation: 5 Common Challenges of Upgrading to ERP Software

Photo: Tianyi Ma / Unsplash

Implementing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is a great way to improve your business processes and climb to new heights. Having said that, there are a few common challenges to overcome if you want to reap the benefits. To ensure you’re able to plan accordingly, we’ve put together this list of common obstacles faced by businesses when they first upgrade to an ERP system:

Employee Trust

One of the biggest challenges you will likely face is your employees not trusting the software. The major concerns experienced on this front are staff worrying that the software may make their job obsolete or that it will fail to do the job properly. 

Take AP invoice automation, for example. While it will make your accountant’s life a whole lot easier once properly implemented, there is a solid chance that they will resist the change at first as they’re worried about the bills not getting paid. This will pass eventually, and there isn’t really much that can be done apart from riding it out.

Skill Gaps

Another issue that you’ll commonly face is skill gaps within your team. Switching to new software means, in many cases, learning not just a new system but also a whole new way of doing things. While this will make your operations far more efficient over time, there’s a very real chance that productivity will decline at first as people adjust to the new platform. 

This obviously isn’t their fault, as there is always a learning curve with anything new, but it is something to be aware of. We suggest providing thorough training and allowing extra time for tasks to be completed and reviewed during the transition stage in order to minimize the number of problems that pop up.

Integration with External Stakeholders 

If you outsource some aspects of your business, such as your eCommerce order processing, logistics, and fulfillment, you’ll need to find a way to integrate these services with your chosen ERP software. While this can seem difficult when you’re looking at a solution that’s fresh out of the box, most good ERP solutions are fully customizable, so this should not be a barrier to implementation. 

Data Security and Migration

You’ve probably collected quite a lot of sensitive data over the years, so it makes sense that migrating it all from one platform to another will be challenging, both in terms of the amount that needs to be moved and the security of that data while it is being moved. In this instance, we suggest finding a good cyber disaster recovery platform and performing a backup prior to migration. Incidentally, this is an excellent security measure to keep in place going forward, as it will give you protection against both malicious and accidental data breaches. 

Actually Making The Switch

Implementing ERP software is a significant project, and there are many factors that must be considered during the transition. To be able to make the transition smoothly, you or the person in charge will need specific project management and problem-solving skills. Even if you possess these skills generally, if you do not have a subject matter expert on your team, the transition can be tough. 

To help mitigate this, we suggest ensuring that all relevant stakeholders – both internally and externally – are appropriately trained prior to actually making the switch to your new ERP platform.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of five of the common challenges that can arise when upgrading to ERP software, you’ll be better prepared to deal with them if they pop up in your organization. Good luck.