ERP Challenges Put Skilled Pros in Demand

Susan Hall

Companies continue to struggle mightily with ERP implementations, though by some accounts things have improved, reports Enterprise Apps Today.

In a Panorama Consulting study based on ERP implementations completed in 2011, 54 percent of companies said their ERP projects took longer than expected and 56 percent spent more than expected. Half the companies derived fewer business benefits than expected. The good news: That's an improvement over last year's study.

In the 2010 study, 70 percent of ERP projects took longer than expected, and 2011 brought a "slight drop" in the percentage that cost more than expected.

So the demand for ERP specialists continues, and SAP skills in particular are among those most likely to garner the highest pay premiums, according to Foote Partners. SAP skills ranked No. 6 on Dice's most recent list of the hardest jobs to fill.

Panorama President Eric Kimberling said projects go over budget due to a lack of project controls and unrealistic expectations. They also tend to focus on software-related costs while neglecting the costs associated with managing organizational change, which bring “tremendous pain” to the company.

Janco Associates recommends  staffing levels for ERP support staff in the development mode is 1 ERP staffer per 31 employees if multiple vendors are used and 1 ERP support staff per 40 employees if a single vendor is used. Meanwhile, the industry average is between 1 ERP staffer for 50 to 80 employees. That is if companies can find them and hire them. Perhaps that's a factor in the number of high-profile lawsuits related to ERP implementations.

In a number of SAP implementations, typically 50 percent of the ERP staff are implementers, Janco says.

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