As one of those people who uses the financial management software more than most, the controller is often one of those people most heavily affected by an ERP decision. In this, a successful ERP implementation can make your job so much easier, cutting hours of work off your plate each week, empowering employees, and putting your organization in a position to grow. But what exactly is success?

A Three-Stage View

Eric Kimberling compares a full ERP implementation to a rocket launch. During a rocket launch, a spaceship needs to maintain specific velocity to fight gravity. Stage one boosters are the ones that get the rocket off the ground. These fall off once spent, so that stage two boosters can begin and so forth.

Unfortunately, he has found that ten percent don’t even get off the ground and eighty percent get stuck in the second stage. To get to that third stage—the one where the implementation is completed on-time and, where ROI is realized, and where companies can become sustainable, the project needs the first two to go off without a hitch.

  • Stage 1, Complete Failure to Launch: ERP implementations are tumultuous times, and ten percent don’t make it past this stage. Sometimes you choose the wrong software, sometimes the implementation doesn’t get completed, and sometimes the employees fight back. These are often the failures that result in heads rolling, the ones that end up in courts.
  • Stage 2, Existence: 80% of companies make it to the stage where the project is completed. Sounds great, right? Kind of. Just because something is completed doesn’t mean it’s successful. If you miss half of your vacation because your car broke down, it’s not a great vacation, right? Same goes for implementations. Too often, companies run into budget and cost overruns and end up missing out on most of the promised ROI.
  • Stage 3, Going Stratospheric: Only ten percent of projects, according to Kimberling, make it to this stage. This is what happens when implementations are delivered as promised, ROI is realized, and companies are able to realize all the benefits.

Making it to Stage Three: Kimberling’s Advice for Decision Makers

In his whitepaper, The Third Stage of ERP Software and Digital Transformation: 20 Lessons from two decades of transformation, Kimberling offers up a lot of advice for anyone looking at ERP, noting that success isn’t coincidental.

Remember, you’re heavily affected by an ERP decision, so if you hear musings of a switch, you need to know what you’re looking—the last thing that can happen is you smiling and nodding, only to have the rug pulled out from under your feet after the project happens.

Becoming a More Well-Rounded Controller

Numbers may be your forte, but properly implemented technology can make your life much easier. Understanding this, however, requires you to go from the I-shape to the T-shape or even M-shape model, able to hold your own in a variety of functions. The Controller’s Council can help. Get to know more about us and sign up for our email list to learn more.

5 Questions Controllers Should be Asking Their CFOWebinar Tuesday, October 26

As key financial leaders within the organization, Controllers are increasingly tasked with improving the efficiency of operations, implementing new technologies and guiding teams toward paperless workflows. To do this effectively, they need to work closely with their CFOs to drive the organization towards executable strategies that maximize the value brought by investment in technology.