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5 Most Uncomfortable ERP System Implementation Debacles

Published on 10 August 15
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There is a whole lot of speculation floating around when it comes to standard ERP systems. As a hard core professional observing and experiencing the world of ERP systems since years, all I can say is All that glitters is not gold â something we have been explained since childhood. It, indeed, proves to be true in this case. No doubt, there are benefits and advantages to it, but the amount of debacles and troubles that are being observed around are alarming. True facts, as they appear, bring to our notice the obvious mess and nightmares that are encountered while implementing ERP systems. Disturbed multi-million dollar software deals, expensive and discomforting law suits against substandard implementations and big complex implementation fiascos are a few of the many outcomes of a hassled ERP implementation.

It would be startling if you glance through some of the disasters that have been encountered by renowned organizations going in for ERP systems, more so, because the solution providers are well known giants in this domain since years.

1. Failure of SAP implementation at Avon Products Inc.

However much the ERP giant claims to prove that there were many other factors also responsible for the implementation at Avon Products Inc., it is a true fact that these standard SAP systems now fail to offer easy and simplified user experience that todayâs modern day customers need. Avon had to stall its n-year software project which was initially implemented in Canada and was to be rolled out globally. The reason they were forced to take this decision was that the company employees found it difficult and complex to implement and it disrupted their regular operations, leading to a large attrition rate. Avon was compelled to write down approximately $ 125 million on its balance sheet owing to this failure.

2. Garbage disposal giant entangled in a legal battle with an ERP giant

One of the globally leading garbage disposal giant âWaste Managementâ got intertwined into a legal battle worth $ 100 million with SAP, on the 18 month installation of its ERP software. One of the prime allegations on the ERP solution provider was that its executives participated in a deceitful sales scheme that resulted in an enormous failure. Reacting to this, even the ERP giant filed a case against Waste Management accusing them of violating the contractual agreement by failing to timely define business requirements and not giving sufficiently knowledgeable users, to which Waste Management further reacted on false documentation. Gosh, what happened to the 18 month dream installation is a question mark.

3. Californiaâs state controller sues SAP for failure in payroll software implementation

A leading ERP system provider SAP was drawn into a legal battle by Californiaâs state controller who claims that their ERP software never worked correctly and has generated significant errors in payroll, especially calculation of taxes, wages and retirement accounts. This happened during their 8 month pilot run for a 1500 employee office, during which, there were hardly instances when the software provided accurate data, whereas this system was supposed to serve 2,40,000 workers and replace their thirty year old legacy systems.

4. Possible upload of fake patient data through an ERP medical app

These issues were observed in a SAP systemâs application records, which stored clinical data about patients including laboratory results and images, implemented by ERPScan, a California based organization that deals with enterprise application security. The error that was found was that any virtual attacker could tamper with a configuration file and change the medical records on the server, enabling it to send fake information. Yet another flaw that was found out affected its MDM software, a mobile client that lets you access other business applications in the organization.

5. HP and its SAP implementation mess

This is a classic tale of the worldâs leading giant HPâs centralization of its different North American ERP systems onto one single ERP giant. Around 2004, when the project managers took this big leap, owing to lack of planning and other reasons, eventually, the entire project cost HP $ 160 million which was a revenue loss almost five times the projectâs estimated cost. On further analysis, it was declared that the major problem was the assimilation of all the problems together that individually did not seem to create any nuisance.

This is just a brief recollection of few of the many incidents that I have read / observed / witnessed in my professional span of umpteen years. What needs to be taken care of, before plunging into ERP systems, is yet another huge topic which can be debated. But, yes, I hope this article surely convinces you not to adapt to ERP systems just because they are BIG names.

Do share your experiences on the above topic and feel free to communicate your feedback on this article.





























There is a whole lot of speculation floating around when it comes to standard ERP systems. As a hard core professional observing and experiencing the world of ERP systems since years, all I can say is All that glitters is not gold â something we have been explained since childhood. It, indeed, proves to be true in this case. No doubt, there are benefits and advantages to it, but the amount of debacles and troubles that are being observed around are alarming. True facts, as they appear, bring to our notice the obvious mess and nightmares that are encountered while implementing ERP systems. Disturbed multi-million dollar software deals, expensive and discomforting law suits against substandard implementations and big complex implementation fiascos are a few of the many outcomes of a hassled ERP implementation.

It would be startling if you glance through some of the disasters that have been encountered by renowned organizations going in for ERP systems, more so, because the solution providers are well known giants in this domain since years.

1. Failure of SAP implementation at Avon Products Inc.

However much the ERP giant claims to prove that there were many other factors also responsible for the implementation at Avon Products Inc., it is a true fact that these standard SAP systems now fail to offer easy and simplified user experience that todayâs modern day customers need. Avon had to stall its n-year software project which was initially implemented in Canada and was to be rolled out globally. The reason they were forced to take this decision was that the company employees found it difficult and complex to implement and it disrupted their regular operations, leading to a large attrition rate. Avon was compelled to write down approximately $ 125 million on its balance sheet owing to this failure.

2. Garbage disposal giant entangled in a legal battle with an ERP giant

One of the globally leading garbage disposal giant âWaste Managementâ got intertwined into a legal battle worth $ 100 million with SAP, on the 18 month installation of its ERP software. One of the prime allegations on the ERP solution provider was that its executives participated in a deceitful sales scheme that resulted in an enormous failure. Reacting to this, even the ERP giant filed a case against Waste Management accusing them of violating the contractual agreement by failing to timely define business requirements and not giving sufficiently knowledgeable users, to which Waste Management further reacted on false documentation. Gosh, what happened to the 18 month dream installation is a question mark.

3. Californiaâs state controller sues SAP for failure in payroll software implementation

A leading ERP system provider SAP was drawn into a legal battle by Californiaâs state controller who claims that their ERP software never worked correctly and has generated significant errors in payroll, especially calculation of taxes, wages and retirement accounts. This happened during their 8 month pilot run for a 1500 employee office, during which, there were hardly instances when the software provided accurate data, whereas this system was supposed to serve 2,40,000 workers and replace their thirty year old legacy systems.

4. Possible upload of fake patient data through an ERP medical app

These issues were observed in a SAP systemâs application records, which stored clinical data about patients including laboratory results and images, implemented by ERPScan, a California based organization that deals with enterprise application security. The error that was found was that any virtual attacker could tamper with a configuration file and change the medical records on the server, enabling it to send fake information. Yet another flaw that was found out affected its MDM software, a mobile client that lets you access other business applications in the organization.

5. HP and its SAP implementation mess

This is a classic tale of the worldâs leading giant HPâs centralization of its different North American ERP systems onto one single ERP giant. Around 2004, when the project managers took this big leap, owing to lack of planning and other reasons, eventually, the entire project cost HP $ 160 million which was a revenue loss almost five times the projectâs estimated cost. On further analysis, it was declared that the major problem was the assimilation of all the problems together that individually did not seem to create any nuisance.

This is just a brief recollection of few of the many incidents that I have read / observed / witnessed in my professional span of umpteen years. What needs to be taken care of, before plunging into ERP systems, is yet another huge topic which can be debated. But, yes, I hope this article surely convinces you not to adapt to ERP systems just because they are BIG names.

Do share your experiences on the above topic and feel free to communicate your feedback on this article.

This blog is listed under Cloud Computing and Enterprise Applications Community

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