Perhaps the only consolation is that you're not alone in feeling a bit flat and disappointed. According to industry publication SupplyChain, a survey in 2020 of 190 financial and IT decision-makers by UK integrated business systems provider, K3 FDS, found:

  • A staggering 79% were not totally satisfied with the roll-out of their ERP
  • Only 8% deemed the new system was easy to use (although 93% said it was critical to their business)
  • The average budget overspend was 18%
  • 48% found the range of ERP solutions on offer confusing (ERP Guide anybody?)
  • 56% would have been happier with a more standardised solution if it meant they'd have made significant savings to both project time and budget.

And saddest of all, a third admitted they were unsure about the level of honesty offered by their partners.

None of which gets life after implementation off to a good start.

Maybe it was that final invoice that tipped the scale, or the account manager not returning your calls. Or those reports that were due to be sorted out during go-live and ready for the first board meeting are still sitting unresolved with your partner's dev team. And you still haven't had that 'let's do it later' extra training to get the team up to full speed ahead. Whatever it was, you're possibly feeling a little disgruntled and blue right about now.

While you may never return to the heady days of courtship and whirlwind romancing, you should have certain expectations going forward. Here's what we think counts:

Your ERP delivers the cost and functionality benefits you expected, as per your implementation blueprint and checklist. And it's as easy to use in everyday business life as in the demo and UAT. You can scale your business, change direction, and work remotely from anywhere, any time. If you were promised multi-currency and multi-country capabilities, that's what you got because it came with the application and wasn't a third-party afterthought. With ready to use APIs, ERP integration to your other applications was also a piece of cake.

You have clarity of all ongoing charges, whether it's for support agreements, user seats, or new projects. If there's a price change, your partner fronts up like a professional instead of trying to sneak it under the invoicing radar.

Anything your partner left unfinished from the initial implementation – from customising reports, setting up dashboards, to delivering additional training – is done promptly. So you're not left hanging or having to quibble.

Your partner believes in and delivers continuous improvement and thought leadership in real-life after go-live, not just in their sales proposal. So they are fronting up with ideas for business process improvement and automation, and applying intelligent technologies like machine learning and AI to make it easier to support your customers, supply chain, and people.

You have regular contact with your account manager, and your requests are actioned in a timely fashion.

Your partner's support team is responsive, well-resourced, and experienced (and they have a self-service portal!) Their support people aren't their B or C team. And when they can't solve an issue, they escalate it on your behalf and stay on top of the problem until it's resolved.

Your partner keeps you up-to-date with upcoming functionality and version changes, and ensures you know what to expect from your evergreen cloud ERP. In addition, they share R&D roadmaps, run user group meetings, offer product-specific training and networking, and invite you to relevant industry events.

Your partner empowers you to learn, understand and take control of your application, and doesn't force you to stay hands-off. And if you need help – little or large - they're always there.

Your partner values their own business reputation and culture as much as you value yours. They know that what you think and say about them matters, and they know it matters. (That’s why they have a history of long-term customer relationships.)

Nothing kills off that loving feeling more quickly than feeling ignored, under-valued or simply like a source of income. Conversely, nothing keeps it going longer than a shared respect, and a genuine commitment to keeping your application and relationship fresh, value-orientated, and relevant.

And when you've found that, our advice is don't, don't, don't, don't let it slip away.

NetSuite How To Buy an ERP Guide

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