It is no secret that the wrong enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can cause more headaches than companies can deal with. As a result, the vendor selection process is vitally important for businesses planning their next ERP implementation. In addition to choosing the right service provider and system, firms must also pay close attention to end-users if they truly want to maximize the use of ERP software in the long run.

InformationWeek's Jasmine McTigue recently asserted that a failed ERP solution is a costly one. This is especially the case for on-site deployments. A survey conducted by the news source found that 77 percent of business technology professionals said there is a likelihood that their organizations will invest in on-premise ERP by 2015, with 34 percent reporting it is somewhat or very likely to occur.

McTigue explained the wrong deployment is extremely expensive. One of the problems with ERP solutions is that businesses often do not support the workforce, causing various shortcomings as a result. Some companies believe that IT staff members can handle whatever comes with ERP, but this is not always the case, given that many employees are already responsible for intensive tasks.

Firms that truly want to get the most out of their ERP solution should ensure their staff members are fully supported. Given that these are the ones who will be working with ERP daily, any rift between the IT department and the company can have a negative impact on the morale of personnel and overall productivity.

In an interview with CIO, John Hoebler, managing director at a consulting firm, said some ERP systems fail because organizations never use the solutions' most advanced features.

"This is shocking, considering the millions companies invest in [their ERP systems]," Hoebler told CIO. "Without knowing features, companies miss opportunities to automate business processes, complete functions faster and meet business objectives."

According to Kevin Herrig, president and CEO at an ERP software specialist, a lack of proper employee training is another reason behind failed ERP solutions. Herrig told CIO that if companies do not make training and communication priorities, businesses may own "a very expensive version of Excel."

Employee training vital
A Midsize Insider report by Contel Bradford also highlighted the importance of employee communication and training regarding the use of ERP software. Organizations should create ROI projections for their deployments, include decision-makers in the implementation process and have programs to teach staff members how to use the new system.

If personnel are constantly struggling with technology and receiving little help from executives on how to leverage the solution, more problems will be created than solved. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses always ask for feedback from users to ensure their needs are supported with the right infrastructure and tools to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.

According to Bradford, vendor selection cannot be overlooked for companies planning to invest in ERP. A midsize business in particular should view the websites of potential service providers to see their offerings, communicate with the firm and learn how previous clients have found the business's platforms.

A failed ERP deployment will cause businesses to go back to the drawing board, losing money, productivity and position compared to competitors. Infor solutions are some of the most effective systems available, helping companies of all sizes and industries take advantage of ERP's potential. Firms planning to adopt a new platform should consider Infor software to meet their specific demands.