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ERP Experts Survey | TEC 2019
Part Two: Expert ERP Project Advice from A-Z—The Inside Scoop

ERP Project Timeline Benchmarks


Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is a major undertaking for any organization, so it’s useful to have a benchmark timeline in mind before beginning a custom plan. We asked our survey respondents how long, in their experience, an average company takes to implement an ERP system.

As is the case with ERP budgeting, the answer is, “it depends.”

Project Timeline by Company Size

One primary factor that an ERP project timeline depends upon is the size of the company, so we asked our respondents to estimate what companies of different sizes should expect.

Numerical responses were aggregated for small businesses, small to medium businesses, medium-sized companies, and large enterprises. For each size category, we developed an approximate bell curve of answer popularity, from which we derived summary range estimates from the center of each bell curve.

Reasons for ERP Project Delay

ERP deployments are almost guaranteed to face delays for a variety of reasons. We asked survey respondents to select the three factors they most often find are at fault for these delays, from the following list:

  • Unrealistic original timeline
  • Insufficient preplanning and preparation
  • Changes in project scope
  • Neglecting necessary customizations earlier in the process
  • Insufficient internal support and resources to keep implementation on track
Unrealistic original timeline 58.33%
Insufficient pre-planning and preparation 69.44%
Changes in project scope 80.56%
Neglecting necessary customizations earlier in the process 13.89%
Insufficient internal support and resources to keep implementation on track 63.89%

Brian Sommer, founder of TechVentive, aptly suggested communication problems as an additional source to consider: “Usually lousy communication between vendor and IT and business—the three points of the triangle—causes the delays.”

The project timeline charts can give you an idea of what to expect, but to stay on the lower end of the implementation estimates, make sure you plan extensively and define the scope, devote significant resources to the challenges, and keep the communication lines open.

“Proper planning with the help of experienced consultants before signing the implementation contract can greatly reduce the risk of timeline overruns often associated with ERP adoption,” concludes TEC’s CTO, Mehdi Aftahi.

ERP Project Timeline Benchmarks

“Proper planning with the help of experienced consultants before signing the implementation contract can greatly reduce the risk of timeline overruns often associated with ERP adoption.”

—Mehdi Aftahi, CTO, TEC

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