Digital Transformation

Is it time to admit that it’s over (with your ERP)?

Trevor Dunne
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Are you wondering if your relationship with your ERP has run its course? There are a few ways to tell, say the ‘ERP relationship therapists’ at Grant Thornton

Breaking up is hard to do, but breakups are an inevitable fact-of-life. Despite this, admitting to yourself that a relationship has run its course is never easy. So, replacing a system that you’ve invested so much time in, can seem gut-wrenching and something we’d rather put off to another day! However, if the system is holding you back, or making your staff and customers unhappy, then maybe it’s time to face reality.

In our line of work, we see massive interest in those with a wandering eye for something better, exploring the market for a system that allows them to fulfil their potential but unfortunately, we see just as many pressing on in an unhealthy relationship with the system they have. So if the system hasn’t actually ‘fallen over’ but the whole thing has become a bit of a disappointment, here are five signs that your relationship with your ERP is at an end.

Everything starts to grate on you

Things that you used to find forgivable or even quirky, now has you tearing your hair out. Having to wait ages for an answer, having to dumb down every process or transaction so the system can handle it, only puts pressure on you. You start to wonder if it’s the system or you that is the problem! Regardless of whose fault it is, you are seeing increasing complaints from frustrated staff or customers who have to complete too many manual or duplicate tasks across too many systems or tools and struggle to get the information they need. These days, staff want to work with the latest technology and will vote with their feet and leave if they feel that they are being left behind.

It’s easy to get past one or two things that bug you, no system is perfect after all, but when the system’s user experience or functionality is lagging behind your business need, your relationship is on a downward trajectory.

You no longer feel a spark

Do you remember back when you first implemented the system and it was the centre of everything? If those days feel like a lifetime ago and you now find yourself running processes outside of the system (go on, how many excel sheets are you secretly running the business on?), then it is a major indication that the relationship is on the way out.

While it’s perfectly healthy to resort to excel for some reporting requirements, if you are using it for transactional purposes or to generate new data it is a sign that the relationship might be fraying at the edges. You will need to address this sooner rather than later. Once you take the data out of the system and start changing it with excel – you can never really go back to the way things were. That’s probably not ideal. You are now less efficient, less effective and you’re keeping data to yourself, where no one can report on it! This can only go one way.

Why must we always drag up the past? Can’t we look to the future?

Are the fights to get at your own data never ending and ultimately unresolved? While everyone will struggle at some stage or another, not every interaction that you have with the system should end up in a screaming match. You just know that everyone else is running prescriptive and predictive reporting and thinking about the future - yet here you are, struggling to know what’s already happened.

Rather than pushing the system away slowly and painfully, a clean break is often the best and kindest thing to do for all parties concerned.

There is no trust [in the data] whatsoever

Rule number one of relationships: trust is EVERYTHING. If you have no trust in your ERP system and what it’s telling you, this is a big red flag.

If the system isn’t working to help you, leaving you to pull together information from several systems or spreadsheets to present a report, or even worse, if poor data has embarrassed you in front of senior colleagues, it’s going to be a slow and painful decline. If you can’t believe what you’re bring told, and have to really dig for the truth, moving on might be the best thing you could do for yourself.

You’ve started to look at other systems… a lot

It is completely normal for your eye to wander from time to time. Maybe you’ve started to look at bolt on solutions, and using separate tools to get your job done. However, if you find that this is not just every now and then but you’ve got a proliferation of tools, applications, reporting aids, data models, robotics, and point-to-point integrations, then you need to really question the suitability of what’s at the heart of your business. Are you really committed?


The needs to business (and people) change: as we mature our needs evolve. These days, everyone’s expectations have been raised and what was good enough at one stage of our development may not be sufficient for where we see the company going, and how we intend to get there.

This might sound bad but it may actually be a cause for celebration. You could be doing so much better! These days there are plenty more systems in the cloud! You just need to find the right one.

Get in touch if you want find the right match, and fall in love with your ERP again.