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  • Thank you for all attending this audio event.
  • Especially for Sam Graham and Peter Robinson for validating this session as relevant and the issue is global.
  • This particular series is all about why there are very mixed experiences on most of the ERP projects?
  • I have said that the ERP projects are like badly maintained Public toilets. People outside are desperate to get in. And the people inside are desperate to get out..
  • I know this is not an apple-to-apple comparison. Because using a public toilet due to nature’s call is not in anyone’s control, but an ERP project can always be well-planned.. Unfortunately, it is never ever done that way due to a lack of knowledge and approach.
  • Even if it is your own swimming pool and car, there is something called learning swimming and driving before getting into it. 
  • Before I go further on this topic I wish to share that I have handled about 150 ERP implementations in the past 27 years, so I feel I have reasonable expertise on this topic..
  • My expertise is in Manufacturing Industries and India region. So my examples will be around this…
  • Well…in the next 30 minutes I will be covering 4 steps of the ERP project.
  • Shopping list
  • Vendor validation
  • Detailed Demo 2 to 6 hours
  • 14 days of trial
  • Shopping list for ERP.
    • This means getting all the requirements documented first.
    • Do we know what we want? The answer is NO you don’t know what you want.
    • In my last 27 years, only one German customer has specified their crystal clear requirement.
    • Every customer starts saying we are a small company and our requirements are very simple.. This is almost like a dating dialog. I am a very simple and transparent person… this is big bull shit…
    • Every person has their own ignorance, knowledge, and Ego, the same way every industry has its strengths, weaknesses, and gray areas within its system. 
    • When you go without a shopping list what happens… Invariably, you end up forgetting what you want and returning home with mostly unwanted things.
    • Yeah, people prepare a shopping list but it is not good enough. 
    • Look at the movies Rocky 1,2 &3 / Karate Kid / 36th Chamber of shaolin. It has to be deep and really very deep.
    • The list has to be really exhaustive covering all the details of both business process needs and statutory requirements.
    • All department users, HODs and senior management have to sign off approving this list. This is it. Nothing more and nothing less.
    • It has to be exhaustive, so when an ERP vendor covers all the points of your needs, you must be in a position to implement the system and give them the sign-off.
    • You may not implement all of these in one go. But for evaluation purposes, this list is important.
    • Because, before marrying an ERP vendor you should know they have all that you need. At a granular level.
  • Vendor validation
    • Have they done an implementation similar to your business vertical?
    • How much was the customisation?
    • How long did they take to go live?
    • Filter unsuitable Vendors at this stage itself. You will save your time. 
    • Take a budgetary cost! Ensure that fits your pocket!
  • Demo 3 – 6 hours
    • Once you have done the 1 & 2 , you are qualified to do the ERP shopping now.
    • Now you set up a demo for 3-6 hours to validate your above list process by process.
    • If required, split the demo for 2 or 3 days of 2 hours each.
    • Cover each of the business functions in detail as per the above list.
    • Tell the ERP vendor not to show anything else apart from this list first.
    • Once you complete the full list now prepare a document of gaps.
    • If the solution is NOT suitable for the business process 93% and above and 100% for statutory needs don’t waste time any further.  If the system is NOT 100% ready from a statutory standpoint, believe me, the vendor does not care about your region and you will take a minimum of 14 months of struggle without which you people will reject the system. PEOPLE WILL SHOOT THE SYSTEM DOWN. 
    • Now you can ask the ERP vendors to show what more they have.
    • Don’t fall pray for bells and whistles. Like Dashboard, alerts, security, look and feel, single-sign off, …all of these will be mere bull shit if your list is not covered. 
    • In some of the LinkedIn posts, I have seen ERP consultants saying that ERP  with 60 to 70% itself is a good suitability. They are right. It is suitable 100% for the sellers, not for the buyers. 
    • What will you buy in your life which is 70%. Car, Refrigerator, TV, Washing machine.. Pl give me a break….
    • I have seen some foolish decisions of people buying a CRM system with a plan to customize it to make it an ERP system. Guaranteed bad public toilet experience…
  • 14 days of Paid trial
    • This is very crucial. 
    • Pay for this trial so that there is a commitment to the process from either side.
    • Trial is not just taking a username and password and playing around with the system.
    • This is a mock implementation. 
    • All the processes with all variations are tried out fully.
    • Every business function and user has to confirm 
    • Documents, Reports, and especially all statutory points have to be covered.
    • By the end of this exercise, the consensus has to be that just by giving master data and opening balances you can take the system live.  
  • If these 4 steps go well the chances are 50-60% that you will go live.
  • If not, the chances are less than 3%. So, a Bad public toilet experience is guaranteed.


Conclusion: Any careless action has a consequence. The public toilet experience is not by design but by the choice of the people when they make the ERP selection carelessly. 


  •  We have the manufacturing industry ready-made ERP shopping list. We have arrived by working with many industries. This will cost Rs. 2400/-  ( US$ 28). 
  • Next session we will discuss Implementation aspects like:
    • Choose the scope that fits your team and pocket
    • Scale step-by-step
    • Configuration
    • Master Data collection
    • Training and UAT
    • Cutoff and opening balance
    • Go-Live
  • Q&A
S. Vijay Venkatesh

Author S. Vijay Venkatesh

The author of this article S, Vijay Venkatesh is the MD and CEO of Syscon Solutions. He has put togethar over 4 decades of Manufacturing Industry & ERP experience. At Syscon he has handled over 150 ERP implementations for various verticals manufacturing industries.

More posts by S. Vijay Venkatesh

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