Successful enterprise resource planning (ERP) deployments appear hard to come by these days, placing greater emphasis on how businesses research potential software and service providers before ever embarking on an ERP implementation. A recent Panorama Consulting survey found that nearly 75 percent of companies are facing extended launches, with 14 percent reporting "organizational issues" being the major cause.

"Now, more than ever, our findings are emphasizing the importance of organizational change and its impact on implementation duration," asserted Eric Kimberling, managing partner of Panorama Consulting Solutions. "Successful organizations know that the amount of time and money they invest in training, communication and risk mitigation directly affects benefits realization and overall project results."

Companies are not just experiencing deployment delays, but other challenges. The survey found that two-thirds of respondents indicated that they have achieved less than half of their anticipated benefits from these tools, up 6 percent from the previous year. Another 51 percent had a disruption during their "go-live" stage, with two-thirds undergoing a disruption for at least one month.

The percentage of organizations using an ERP consulting firm increased from 23 percent to 83 percent during the past year. However, the survey found that one-third of respondents are not satisfied with the services from these vendors.

"The ideal consulting firm is one that can come alongside your organizational and ensure that every dollar spent on your ERP project contributes to your organizational goals and objectives," suggested Kimberling. "While many ERP consultants claim to understand organizational change management, few have a strong and proven methodology that is designed to impact every stakeholder in your organization."

The right vendor can turn things around
Organizations struggling to realize their ERP software's full potential are clearly not alone in this regard. That is why a reputable vendor that is an expert in this field is such a valuable commodity. Whether a firm wants to host an ERP solution at an on-site location or implement a cloud-based environment, Infor solutions are some of the most effective on the market.

The service provider has gained an impressive number of clients, coming from various fields. Infor software is clearly up to the challenge of helping businesses, regardless of their particular industry, maximize their investment in ERP. Companies that want to make their next ERP deployment their last for a while must have a leading vendor like Infor in their corner.

Firms that do not conduct the proper research before selecting software and a vendor are likely to become another statistic. IDC conducted a survey on behalf of UNIT4 Business Software and found that some businesses spend $1.2 million annually making changes to their ERP suites, with others' budgets exceeding $4.1 million. In some cases – 15 percent – organizations have had to completely re-implement entire systems.

It is not surprising to learn then that nearly 70 percent of participants have launched entirely new ERP solutions during a three year time span.

Michael Fauscette, global vice president of software business solutions at IDC, explained that it would be a good assumption that software deployed in the past three years would be easy to customize and more flexible than older solutions.

"The survey data though shows a very different picture," he added.

There is no special formula that will suddenly help businesses achieve successful ERP deployments. All companies need are the right mindset, clear goals and the proper research to find the best fit for their operations and industries. Firms that continue down the same path will never be able to break their current mold.