ERP Systems and Technology

Maybe It Was Your Fault: Who to Blame When Your ERP Project Isn’t Going Well

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Replacing a government enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is one of the more difficult projects finance professionals will take on. While the technology part can be complex, the real difficulty is that ERP projects are about more than just technology. Every project that takes advantage of the new system will also require changes to policies, processes, and people. At the same time, ERP projects are highly visible, with much at stake. Think about the ERP system as being the infrastructure for public administration—much like roads, bridges, transit stations, water lines, parks, and schools. ERP systems allow governments to provide the services that keep the organization functioning, managing every dollar, employee, vendor, and customer. Now think how crazy it would be for a community to modernize all its infrastructure at once. When we implement a new ERP system, that’s essentially what we’re doing for the organization. We not only expect that the transition will be completed on time, but we also expect that it will be completed without major disruption to the services that rely on it and that we will come out of the project with efficient processes, smart policies, trained employees, and new modern system features. What could possibly go wrong?

GFOA’s experience and research in this area shows time and again that success or failure with ERP projects is not determined by the vendor you chose, the capabilities of the actual software, or other outside factors. The biggest predictor of project success is whether an organization is prepared going in.

  • Publication date: February 2024
  • Author: Mike Mucha