Top 5 Reasons ERP Implementations Fail

by | Aug 22, 2022 | NetSuite

The Innovation team here at ScaleNorth focuses on NetSuite clients looking to maximize their investment in NetSuite. The spectrum of companies we work with range from forward thinking, innovative clients strategically looking to continuously improve and automate business processes to implementation rescues for clients still struggling to go live on NetSuite.

Working with a wide range of customers, we have noticed a difference between the successful companies and the companies struggling to get up and running.

Here are the top five reasons we see implementations fail or struggle to reach a fully optimized state.

1. Management Buy In, Commitment, and Expectations

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementations are complex, require change management and are a huge time commitment on the existing staff. Companies that set the expectation of getting set up as quickly as possible with limited resources are more likely than their counterparts to fail. Organizations who have strong management buy-in, have realistic expectations, and are prepared for unknowns to arise have a much greater chance of success.

2. Lack of Internal Resources –

Third-party NetSuite consultants like ScaleNorth are an invaluable resource to your NetSuite implementation efforts. However, there is still work needed from your internal staff. If key personnel are unavailable, overstaffed, or unwilling to assist in an effective and timely manner, scopes and timelines can spiral out of control. Avoid underestimating the resource commitment of both utilizing the team during the implementation process, and developing them for post go-live success while maintaining current business operations.

internal resources for ERP Implementations

3. Trying to Customize the New System to Be Just Like the Old System –

Remember that you are upgrading for a reason. Strategic ERP implementations are not designed to exactly replicate the existing system. While many key functionalities will be copied over, look to build a system that will scale with your business while providing more functionality, automation, and visibility. Focus on an architecture that is fully cross-functional and gives you a single source of truth among your data.

4. Lack of System Requirements and Reporting Requirements –

Having a clear idea of what your needs are, and what constitutes success and failure will be pivotal to a successful ERP implementation. A list of system requirements will be essential. You don’t need to dive deep into the technical details, as your NetSuite consultants will handle that, but you’ll want to know “I need to be able to do A, B, C” and “I want to have visibility into X, Y, Z.”

5. Post Go-Live Optimization and Support –

Many firms focus so primarily on the implementation, that they neglect to plan for the post go-live environment. How do you plan to maintain, customize, and optimize NetSuite once you’re live? Too often, we see businesses that are struggling because their implementation team (whether in-house or external) have gone on to other projects once NetSuite is up and running and no longer have capacity to assist. Having a project team that’s available for the long-term will be crucial to ERP success.

By acknowledging and planning for the hurdles listed above, you’ll be putting yourself on the right track to NetSuite implementation success.

successful erp implementation

Here are 4 more tips that will help you ensure your ERP implementation goes smoothly.

1. Understand Your Resource Gaps –

ERP implementations are not easy, and most employees have not been through a NetSuite implementation. Understand resource gaps and hire bench strength to support the implementation. The resources could be either new internal resources or external consulting services.

2. Set Your Chart of Accounts, Departments and Classifications Correctly the First Time –

Using your legacy chart of accounts because it is what is familiar or keeping departments, classifications, and other intelligence in your chart of accounts is a recipe for disaster. This often leads to requiring manual data manipulation, custom report writing or re-implementing a new chart of accounts in the future.

3. Optimization Does Not Stop at Go-Live –

Commit to continuously improving and automating your system. Invest in developing and training your team and engage your team post go-live to understand opportunities for improvements.

4. Think Big –

Your team can make a significant difference with the new system. Commit to building your system to scale. The entire organization does not have to be up and running all at once but set expectations and build a strategy to drive your innovation roadmap.


ERP migrations are big projects that you want to get right the first time. When businesses try to cut corners on their implementation, whether it’s through an unprepared in-house team or a “budget” implementation partner, they end up in a really tough spot to be. This causes them to seek out a best-in-class implementation partner like ScaleNorth to rescue the struggling implementation.

With a 100% implementation success rate, ScaleNorth is well-suited to conduct these types of rescue missions. However, clients find that it’s quicker and more cost effective to engage an industry leader like ScaleNorth from the very beginning.

If you’re looking to migrate to NetSuite, or feel that your instance is not optimized to its fullest potential, contact ScaleNorth’s team of expert NetSuite consultants today.

Speak with one of our Netsuite Experts today.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.