It is an open secret that CEO's seldom involve themselves in the selection
process of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for their companies;
instead, they tend to instruct financial directors and IT specialists to buy
the best and most cost-effective ERP system that will work for their
business. This is the opinion of Meryl Malcomess, marketing director of ERP
software specialist Syspro.

For any company to reach its goals, the business objectives have to be
determined up-front. It is these objectives that should be used as a
strategic framework when they think about buying, implementing and operating
ERP and top management should be involved in the process.
Malcomess' opinion is endorsed by researcher CS Yu(1), who found that a
staggering 40% of all ERP implementations or extensions perform below
expectations, and 20% are scrapped as complete failures. It is for this
reason that Syspro has published a book, "Thinking About ERP", an
executive's guide to setting strategy for buying, implementation and
operating ERP, which was the brainchild of Malcomess.
"Throughout my career in the ERP industry, I have been fortunate enough to
develop some insights into the challenges organisations face in implementing
these large-scale business solutions," Malcomess says.
"There is a need for executive decision-makers to fully understand their
organisations' business processes and requirements, as well as the potential
impact and benefits of an ERP implementation, before a solution is chosen."
Using her extensive experience in the ERP industry, which spans almost two
decades, Malcomess collaborated with independent consultants iPlan Engineers
to address the problem and provide potential solutions in Thinking About
"For many years, I have found huge benefit in calling in iPlan to help
organisations optimise the potential of their ERP software," Malcomess says.
"These highly-skilled professionals have extensive, in-depth experience of
ERP implementation projects and understand the full impact of ERP as well as
its strategic importance to the organisation.
"As a result, iPlan is able to communicate the crucial decision points of
any ERP project to the executive decision-maker, helping to tackle problems
and aligning the executive strategy with the strategy on the ground."
The book is the culmination of the experience iPlan has gained through
intensive involvement in many ERP implementation projects. iPlan understands
typical recurring problems such as failure to get senior management buy-in,
resistance to change across the business, and a lack of clarity around
project objectives.
By talking directly to the decision-maker, Thinking About ERP shows
organisations how to drive the implementation from the top and focus on key
performance measures. It demonstrates that by clearly defining what the ERP
project is meant to achieve, organisations can achieve their strategic
"If you do nothing else before tackling your ERP implementation, read this
book – it will make all the difference," Malcomess says.