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If you have not read the writing on the wall, cloud-based technologies and digital transformation initiatives are quickly becoming the focus for enterprises around the world. Providing more security, reliability, and mobility, cloud technologies simply provide too many benefits to ignore. However, their adoption is not always easy. As with any significant change at the organizational level, cloud ERP implementation challenges can stack up quickly. Here are the top 5 challenges in cloud ERP implementation and how you can address them before they impact your success.

Cloud ERP Implementation Challenges

While there are far more than five challenges that cloud ERP implementation may present an organization, these are what we have found to be the most common. Several of these challenges are compounded by the increased reliance on remote workforces and the inability to meet in-person due to environmental factors.

1. Change Management

While the age-old adage is nothing is certain but death and taxes, in business the only constant is change. For most people who are comfortably entrenched in the predictability of a routine, change can be a “four-letter word”. In most cases, change will be unsurprisingly met with resistance.

Change management will be one of your biggest hurdles in moving towards a complete cloud ERP solution from a system that was either previously on-prem or a hybrid deployment model of on-prem and cloud-based.

The easiest way to address the inherent resistance to change is to illustrate where things will improve. This is done not just by saying things will be new and modern. Show where those improvements will take place, the cost savings and gains in productivity that system users and the company can expect to reap.

2. Focus

The last several months have pretty much done away with the divide between work life and personal life for a significant portion of the global workforce. Transitioning to remote work from home has presented it’s own unique challenges for enterprises of every size.

The result has been a muddying of workhours, family obligations, selfcare, and a host of other responsibilities in one venue, without end.

The ability to focus on an implementation can be a challenge in the best conditions. In a completely remote environment, where distractions are abundant, maintaining focus will be a challenge that presents itself consistently.

To overcome distraction and maintain focus, set aside specific windows of time for core project components. It’s important for businesses be open to scheduling compromises with employees and their families when the lines blur between work and home. By compromising on specific project hours, there is a higher probability of remaining focused on the progress of your implementation project. The remaining work time can be more fluid as the separation of workday duties and household obligations continue to muddy.

3. Security

One of your project initiatives may be an effort to move towards heightened system security. This is a great feature of Cloud ERP. However, during the implementation phase, you may not have advanced security in place to maintain your sensitive data. This security becomes even more difficult to maintain between remote resources, like staff and their workstations.

Make it a point to understand the risks upfront. You can take on the challenge alone, hire on a consultant or work in tandem with your implementation partner to find the right protocol for your case. Simple step, like password protecting Wi-Fi connections, not allowing users other than staff to utilize on remote workstations are a necessary first layer of security.

Firewalls and network security software should follow. If you do not provide the hardware your staff will be working from while remote, you may want to consider doing so. A small investment in this area can result in big savings when you consider the alternative.

Lastly, have a plan in place, both documented and practices, with your staff. Make sure they understand the risks and the results of a security breach and demonstrate the protocol they are going to follow moving forward.

4. Access, Permissions and Productivity

Yeah, I know that’s three things but each build on the former to deliver a complete effort. So, in the interest of time and space, they’ve been combined.

Not everyone on your cloud ERP implementation project will need access to all components of your system. Working with IT to designate the proper permissions will be critical in ensuring that staff remain on task and don’t have an opportunity to ruin transitioning data, either by malice or mistake.

Provisioning web and mobile access may fit into this implementation scenario, too. If your staff have spotty connections based on their location, consider bolstering their coverage through their provider to ensure your project isn’t impeded by poor connectivity. This is usually as simple as flipping a switch on the provider’s end. This way, you won’t lose precious time in the event cloud cover conceals the satellite internet connection of your data analyst in rural Illinois.

5. Knowledge

When making the leap from on-prem and, in many cases, outdated data management systems, tribal knowledge and training will be integral as you move forward.

By relying on your most knowledgeable IT professionals and department heads to deliver their expertise during the cloud ERP implementation process, you have your top minds tackling your biggest challenge yet. However, there will be scenarios for which even they are not prepared. This is where training can be one of your biggest assets. Whether training is provided by your vendor or consultant of choice, or you have chosen to produce your own training plan, enabling your project staff with defined direction and knowledge will ensure their success.

Lack of familiarity with a new environment is sure to produce plenty of anxiety and opportunities for missteps. Proper planning can help to mitigate these pitfalls. Having an experienced and knowledgeable guide through the process can all but eliminate them entirely. That is because every implementation is different, and every company is different. With the experience of an implementation professional, there is is a wider breadth of experience to draw from in the event an obstacle presents itself.

There will inevitably be some unexpected challenges for even the most experienced vendors, VARs, and consultants to guide you through. However, doing your research and taking the time to get familiar with the nuances of cloud ERP implementation will impart the confidence and understanding any business needs to go through the project on their own.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

 


A concept coined by Douglas Adams in his famous science-fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the Someone else’s problem (SEP) Field masks objects and concepts. According to Adams:

An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem…. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.

In the field of social psychology, SEP goes by another name: the bystander effect. The phenomenon revolves around the concept that an individual is less likely to help someone in need or solve an existing problem in direct correlation with how many other people are present.  In this case, the larger the number of bystanders, the tendency for the individual is to believe someone else has taken the agency to get things under control. The individual is, therefore, less likely to lend aid.

 

A photo of a woman covering her eyes. encompass solutions erp and business consulting.

Someone Else’s Problem is a dangerous concept to underestimate or allow to become established as the status quo.

Other Factors Contributing To SEP

Some other concepts that come into play are the ambiguity of the problem at hand, group cohesion, or how close the social ties are between members of a group, and the diffusion of responsibility. That last concept is perhaps the most significant of the three, whereby the individual in question may believe the responsibility lies solely on other group members or that those individuals are assumed to have already addressed the problem.

The Harm Of SEP In Business

When it comes to business, the concept of SEP can emerge with significantly detrimental results. When it comes to the operations of an enterprise, Someone Else’s Problem is a dangerous concept to underestimate or allow to become established as the status quo.

Playing games of tag on tasks within a department or between departments can choke a business’ efficiency and mishandle resources when they can be put to more efficient use. For example, try to assign a list of tasks for your team to tackle as a whole and a list of tasks for each individual member. Team members will consistently take on the individual tasks first and consider the broader tasks as secondary priorities.

What if one, or several, of the team tasks, is a blocker for one, or several individuals’ tasks? who takes the initiative to resolve the issue(s)? Who in your organization has the visibility and understanding to prioritize and delegate essential tasks? Being able to prioritize accordingly and assume ownership is essential in keeping the business functioning at peak performance. The problem is a common one and, fortunately, the solution an accessible one.

Keeping SEP At Bay

The good news is SEP doesn’t have to be a plague upon your business. According to social psychological research, the most effective solution emerges in the reinforcement of teamwork and forming of strong bonds between coworkers. A business’ investment in the employee also tends to lead to their reciprocated investment in the company. Issues that can be detrimental to the business are viewed as detrimental to the individual by association. In this way, the issue isn’t kicked further down the road or ignored altogether as SEP, because, while not everyone may have the ability to address the problem, they are invested enough to acknowledge it needs to be addressed, resolved, and learned from.

Once your team is functioning together and understands working towards the success of the business is an investment in their own success, you can focus on reinforcing strategies for collaborative problem-solving. Quality training along with clear workflows and processes play important roles in keeping SEP at bay. A quality ERP solution can also provide the essential visibility and task management capabilities a business needs to avoid the pitfalls of SEP peril.

Having the right tools on-hand, a procedural plan of action, and an answer to ” It’s Someone Else’s Problem” is the best way to keep your business SEP-free before the phenomenon can take root within your workforce.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Gold Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The fear’s been around for a long time, definitely longer than your business has been around.

The fear doesn’t look like any one thing. In fact, it can look like anything.

It’s The Fear Of Change

It’s the fear of change. The fear of ‘IT’ and new, stranger things.

Nothing makes an organization cling to old legacy systems—costly, unsupported, outdated, and inefficient as they are—than the fear that there will be issues adapting, learning, and adopting a brand new software system.

an image of a stressed worker collapsed on his laptop. replacing obsolete systems and conquering the fear of change is essential to the success of your business. encompass solutions erp experts can help.

No matter how amazing a new system appears to your organization and your team, no one likes the disruption and stress that comes along with managing an implementation alongside the everyday tasks your team need to accomplish. The scenarios in your mind can get downright nightmarish… Maybe you can’t wait until your staff is fully onboard and trained. Maybe you’ll have to start up your new software with critical components missing, still being written and tested. Maybe your huge investment won’t work at all.

But there’s one thing scarier than all of that: A study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting finds that companies now face a digital imperative: Adopt new technologies effectively, or face competitive obsolescence. While there is consensus on the importance of adopting digital technology, most employees find the process complex and slow.

That means, if you’re facing either an upgrade or extinction, you’re going to want Encompass on your side.

Only a few ERP systems in the market incorporate the tools needed from day one so that anyone with the right workbench can get up and running quickly and successfully—and we can implement them for you. Whatever the job function, your new system will come pre-configured with all of the KPIs, reminders, reports, and value-driven dashboards for daily and strategic needs—proven from years of real-world use by thousands of people in similar roles at retail, manufacturing and distribution companies.

Get in contact with Encompass today, and let us put your fears to rest.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Change management is a term that is broadly used in the Information Technology realm. It’s also a concept that often drives an organization, a group of people or a process from one stage to the next. In order to comprehend the complexities of change management, the concept of change must first be understood.  Change is a period of inconsistency that reflects on the realm of evolution.

Change is human nature, it occurs in all environments-professional, personal, political, and emotional. Change is an inevitable part of life. Therefore, there is a need for a structure that will organize and categorize the vital processes of change that must take place.

In the business world, project managers are often tasked with the implementation of change management. Answering the questions- How will the change be implemented? Who should be involved with the change? What critical changes are taking place? When will this change occur? Lastly, who will be directly impacted by the change?

an image of business managers discussing change management

Change Management From A Theoretical Perspective

From a psychological perspective, change can be perceived as a positive or negative mode of thinking, a mandatory adoption from a business perspective or the determining factor in the completion of an engineering methodology. Despite the varying perspectives for the concept of change, in order for it to take place in any environment, it must be managed; henceforth the term ‘change -management’.

Change Management From A Project Perspective

At the start of most project environments, a project manager is designated to oversee the totality of the project from start to finish. The beginning stages of the project are at times outlined with milestones, deadlines, needed accomplishments, number of staff members assigned, and other information vital to reaching the project’s success. Although this occurs in many organizations, there are some cases in which the finite details are not outlined. The Complexity Theory defines the methodology of how a structure is implemented when change management is not clearly defined (Flum, & Grohe, 2006).

The Complexity Theory is described as a conceptual study of how order and structure are achieved after the occurrence of chaotic phenomena (Flum, & Grohe, 2006). The Complexity Theory was utilized and enhanced by the leaders involved in the task management of the horrific events of 9-11 (Curlee & Gordon, 2011). On a day of mass chaos, various leaders were called to order when the first airplane collided into the Twin Towers of New York City, NY. In a collaborative effort, all in-flight airplanes were forced to land at their nearest hub, due to the uncertainties of this terror attack. As various organizations scrambled to derive what was going on and how to effectively and efficiently handle the situation at hand, a theory evolved in order to bring structure and allegiance to this chaotic series of events nationwide (Curlee & Gordon, 2011).

Just as the leaders of the 9-11 attacks responded to their individual tragedies, bringing stability and direction to the many teams of firemen, police officers, air traffic controllers, and other personnel – as project managers, team leaders, consultants, and IT team members – we have a responsibility to one another to direct, structure and embrace the change that we face daily in our professional and personal lives. The blueprint to our ever-changing lives and projects may not always be mapped out for us- with the right perception and attitude, managing change can be a gift, rather than a challenge.

Curlee, W. & Gordon, R.L. (2011). Complexity theory and project management. Hoboken, NJ: Jon Wiley & Sons.

Flum, J. & Grohe, M. (2006). Parameterized complexity theory. Editors: W. Brauer, G. Rozenberg, and A. Salomaa. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.