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

What Comes First: Implement the System or Optimize Business Processes?


Everyone understands that implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system will bring change to an organization. We asked our survey takers whether they agree that organizations who perform the bulk of their change management and process improvements before ERP implementation fare better than those who attempt most of that work during or after ERP implementation.

Strongly agree 45.95%
Partially agree 35.14%
Neutral/undecided 0.00%
Partially disagree 16.22%
Strongly disagree 2.70%

As many as 81% of respondents partially or strongly agreed that addressing the bulk of change management needs and process improvements before implementation starts will result in a better outcome. As Julie Hunt, President of Julie Hunt Consulting, noted: “Extensive work must be done before the technology is brought in: work to uncover problems, roadblocks, and unexpected issues, and resolve them to improve the effectiveness of the implementation.”

A significant number (35%) partially agreed with the above statement, such as Celia Fleischaker, Chief Marketing Officer at PROS. “Doing work up front is great, but being open to additional change and improvement during the process is important. The vendor may bring some options to the table that might not have been considered prior to the implementation.”

And as Tim Andreae, Vice President of Alliances at First Insight, remarked, “Sometimes [a new] ERP is an enabler or driver of change not enabled by previous systems.”

In summary, most of the experts agreed that preparing for an ERP implementation involves business changes, and organizations should proactively improve their processes prior to implementation to increase their chances of success. However, organizations should also be open to the positive changes that are inherent to the ERP solution itself. This matches our position at TEC, where managing more than 600 enterprise software selection projects has provided ample opportunity to settle the question.

What Comes First: Implement the System or Optimize Business Processes?

“Doing work up front is great, but being open to additional change and improvement during the process is important. The vendor may bring some options to the table that might not have been considered prior to the implementation.”

—Celia Fleischaker, Chief Marketing Officer, PROS

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