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How do you make a nonprofit ERP implementation succeed?

ERP solutions are organizational backbones for any organization. Which means that a great deal of time and attention goes into selecting the right one and making careful provision to get it up and running.

But in spite of the best laid implementation plans, the success rates for ERP implementation projects are worryingly poor.

  • 74.1% of all projects exceed their budget.
  • 61.1% take longer than expected.
  • 21% of projects fail to meet their desired objectives.

And most startling of all, approximately 75% of all ERP solutions fail.

If these stats prove anything, it’s that organizations often embark on huge implementation projects without fully understanding their potential scope, and without planning for some key potential failure points. For nonprofits in particular, this can be disastrous: pressure is already extreme when it comes to showing value for money, satisfying regulatory demands, and maximizing the impact of every dollar spent on project outcomes.

Okay, so what are we supposed to do about this?

Now we’ve scared you to death, we can reveal that there are actually some fairly simple steps you can take to avoid being in the unlucky three quarters.

Unit4 and our friends at Proteus have analyzed $31bn of project investment data and identified several common hotspots for failure in digital transformation programs. And in doing so, we determined that every single one of these is fixable.


Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch it for yourself here.

The common predictors of ineffective ERP implementation

Project failure or underperformance correlates closely with the following considerations:

  1. Insufficient business commitment to progressing the project into delivery. ERP systems aren’t “plug and play” – even if they’re designed specifically to ease implementation. There must be a strategy for adoption at every level of the business alongside commitment from leadership, management, and teams to ensure that the project doesn’t stall.
  2. A lack of governance and infrastructure. A successful ERP implementation doesn’t just change the system within which your people carry out their workflows, it changes the shape of workflows across the whole organization. This can be extremely disruptive and without careful management at each stage of the process from stakeholder engagement to project planning, role assignment, and project visibility, assurance, and outcome tracking, the process is likely to break down.
  3. A lack of consideration for managerial “soft skills”. This is an issue that transcends the bounds of any given change project. “Change readiness” is an element of both individual project timelines, but also of organizational culture. The skills and tools needed for change have to be a core part of how your people and their leaders do their job, and they’re difficult to instill in the six-week lead up to an ERP implementation.

Click to read ERP product brochure Gated

What can we do to help you avoid this?

Unit4’s ERP is designed to transform the way your organization serves your mission. It provides you with a better way to manage projects and programs, grants and funding and the people who make it all happen. With an intuitive and flexible cloud-based platform, your people can stay focused on what matters—delivering more impact to achieve your mission and providing the visibility you need to make more impactful decisions to help optimize projects, manage partners and volunteers, and understand resources more easily. All this while simultaneously maximizing available funding and building trust and accountability across your entire organization.

Our nonprofit industry model to ensure that your ERP solution fits your needs, rather than forcing you to fit its needs.

It’s based on pre-configured processes structured around a core model with optional additions, allowing you to define a scope that suits your unique needs more efficiently with an out-of-the-box solution that covers all major nonprofit functional areas. Delivery is standardized—each scope includes a pre-set number of days that you can adjust to your needs and requirements—helping you be confident in your timelines and budgets.

Want to learn more?

The insights in this post are some of our favorites from the recent fireside chat between Unit4’s Global Industry Lead for Nonprofit Chris Brewer and Proteus’s Alex Murillo 3rd Sector Tech Summit talk. If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch it for yourself here.

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