IT experts' post-mortem analyses of failed projects are not the real causes of failure, but are superficial appearance. Their conclusions are always so vague that readers are even more confused and at a loss after reading.
Too many enterprise information decision makers adopted those wrong analyses and impulsed their vague conclusions, and then infered bad or even wrong information systems implementation strategies, so repeated the same mistakes that had made by predecessors and caused ERP projects to fail repeatedly. Because no one was held accountable, it was always the company or the government that suffered losses due to the failure of the ERP projects, that is, the entrepreneurs, shareholders, and the civilian.
On the basis of technology, this article draws away from the scientific perspective and clearly exposes the real reason for the failure of large ERP projects. It can be used by large companies, government departments, and schools as a reference for future information policy decisions to avoid repeating the same mistake of others.
Every time a large-scale ERP implementation project fails and causes major losses to the enterprise or government department, so-called IT "experts" flock out and do hindsight analysis. Their analysis are all the same – "ERP software is no problem. It is the consultant or the victim company to be blamed for, especially the latter!"」
The vernacular translation of such comment is: "ERP software is absolutely perfect without any flaws. The victimized company deserves it!". It is equivalent to: a certain person taking the medicine produced by the world's largest pharmaceutical factory exaggerating its efficacy, and died of a strong side effect. The judge ruled: "The drug is produced by the world's largest pharmaceutical company, so its quality is unquestionable, and there is no need to test its ingredients. The negligent person is the doctor who wrote the prescription or the drug taker, and in particular the latter should bear the main fault responsibility".
These so-called IT "experts" all made a common mistake - equating the purchase price of ERP software, the software vendor's brand, and even software vendor's stock market value with the quality of ERP software.
Battle-hardened grand mothers with long term engatements in the traditional markets know how to prevent this trick. For the following reasons, only "experts" from the IT industry and academia are used to repeating this layman's mistake:
These "experts" do not fully understand the ERP software (in fact, because of the complexity of the software, all the people in the world may in their lifetimes fail to thoroughly understand it; even if you really find a trick or technique hidden deep in the software today, because the software is inextricably linked and intertwined, you will forget its details tomorrow).
Moreover, even though the software has been faintly perceived to be poor during the trial of those softwares, they still draw this conclusion: "The fact that this software vendor has numerous believers can not happen for no reason. The problem is on me for being unable to understand this grandeur software."
As a result, the software vendor's brand overrides the experts' own profession and the software's quality.
Their hindsight comments on failed large scale ERP implementations are eternal: "80% of the top 500 companies on Wall Street use this world best ERP software and are 100% satisfied. These benchmarking companies in the world have successfully implemented this ERP software. They proved the quality of this ERP software is unquestionable. Only this unique company is in trouble. You tell me: Who is the culprit?"
These "experts" just leave this sentence without saying: "With superb management, planning, strategy, etc. skills, I can easily work with any ERP software of any quality and bring any failed ERP projects back successful."
Their mentality of "it is the boss, the shareholder, or the civilian paying, not me" is strong and tenacious. They follow the motto "Encourage employers to buy ABC software or XYZ hardware and will never be removed from the post". They adhere to the belief that the wise man stands on the shoulders of giants and has a bright future. They adhere to the value of "private self-interest first. If necessary, reverse right and wrong, misinterpret facts, at any cost!"
Therefore, in their career lifetime, no matter where they work, they will only recommend the software or hardware of a specific manufacturer to the company or government department he serves, and fall into stealth comprador.
Because they don't deeply understand the quality of ERP software, blindly believe in famous ERP vendor's brand, and are even occupied by strong selfishness, so each time these “experts” review the cause of the failure of the ERP project, they have never doubted the “suspects” that novice IT knows first – software. They have always condemned these two sets of vague terms: "people" and "management". Their conclusions and allegations usually consist of just one sentence, but they refuse to explain in detail the reasons for the allegations and the basis of the conclusions. They also refuse to respond to readers' inquiries.
In the IT industry, the management "expertise" without software engineering foundation is like building a building on the sand. Therefore, the analysis of the reasons for the failure of ERP projects by these "experts" mostly came from baseless guesses. These "experts" have so good public relations that they never blame any specific object. Their all time scapegoat is always a vague, ethereal, and unpunishable targets – "human" and concept, "management".
The following is the fallacy analyses and their respective true causes for the failure of ERP projects:
Moreover, even if consultants have not collected the requirements of the entire enterprise at one time, they can definitely ask the employees of the enterprise anytime during the course of ERP implementation. There is no convincing reason to use "corporate staff failed to enumerate requirements at once" as the reason for the project failure!
Moreover, many companies have been able to continuously obtain the correct information from their legacy software before implementing the new ERP software, and even hand-made to complete the data that the company needs. Ironically, the new ERP software can't deliver the results the legacy software have been delievering!
Any slightly ethical software vendor and consultant will not blame the enterprise for "being greedy" simply because their new ERP software is unable to provide the application functions that enterprise customers are entitled to use.
If the implementation will definitely be completed with Mary. Why didn't the company replace John with Mary immediately but let the project fail?
The logic is so obvious that the 5th grade primary school students can also infer that it is useless to swap consultants for a implementation doomed to fail, otherwise they would have been swapped already!
Is the amount invested by the company in the ERP project sufficient? Can the enterprise aford the expenditure? How much should the enterprise invest to be reasonable? What proportion of software, hardware, consultants, and miscellaneous expenses should be allocated?
Among many others, it is difficult to have objective identification methods and answers for these questions.
In addition, there were many enterprises that aborted their ERP projects in the midst of ERP implementation, which was a wise move to avoid bankruptcy.
Due to the use of inferior ERP software, even if a life insurance company had spent $367 million on an ERP implemenation within five years so far in 2019, large number of errors broke out immediately after the application software went live, causing serious losses to the company. This case proves that once inferior ERP software is used, even if the company invests huge amounts of money, it will be of little help to ERP implementations.
Moreover, each time an ERP project is implemented, external consultants always interview multiple company employees to understand the company's processes. This phenomenon clearly proves that company employees understand the company's processes better than consultants, not the other way around.
The reason for forcing a company to change its existing working methods or processes is largely because the software is rigid and cannot adapt to the company's existing operations. The consultant then forced the company's ERP users to change their existing good working methods and habits to adapt to their software limitations, which they called "process transformation", "process optimization", or "organization change".
Such criticisms are too general and vague. If you ask, "Exact who are the people who don't have the determination? How do you know that they lack the determination?" You usually don't get a response from the speaker. Therefore, such criticism does not have any reference value.
Common sense points out:
The idea that "The trend is unstoppable, and resistance is ineffective. It is the best strategy to seek another way or increase your value in your workplace." has long been deeply rooted in the minds of corporate employees.
Under the careful guidance of these "experts", no one must be held accountable for the failure of the ERP project. Those who have suffered substantial losses will always be inanimate – enterprises or governments.
The vague comments of "experts" make the real reason for the failure of large ERP projects a permanent mystery. They lack objective or logical foundations, but are speculation or imagination. But everyone sees it as insight. Enterprises and governments repeatedly cited street talks as the basis for IT decisions, so ERP projects repeatedly failed.
The quality of ERP software determines the success of the ERP projects. Its reasons follows:
Numerous cases have proved that once the core quality of ERP software is poor, the second and third adjustment measures are completely futile.
Poor quality ERP software is the main reason for the failure of ERP projects. The introduction of poor-quality ERP software is the first step of chaos and project failure. Buying inferior ERP software at a high price is the beginning of business losses.
Take the wrong first move and lose all:
The enterprise having invested capital and human resources in the ERP project is now under the pressure from internal and external stakeholders. It is unwilling to lose money for nothing. The enterprise with strong financial resources usually repeatedly succumb, so it cooperates with consultant's various demands, and invests more resources to save the ERP project on the verge of failure.
As a result, a life insurance company has been in the state of "rescuing ERP project" for a long time. No one can predict the completion date of the project after the company has spent $367 million as of December 2019 in 5 years.