ERP Accidents and How to Prevent Them


Let me start by saying that I greatly admire those industrious employees who wholeheartedly embrace SYSPRO in the workplace. There are some, often referred to as ‘champions’, who become self-taught experts in many facets of SYSPRO.

There are even a few intrepid souls who learn to write programs, and whose contributions become elements of their company’s particular business solution. The value these workers bring to their companies is enormous.

To help them along, SYSPRO has a wealth of online learning materials, such as tutorials, manuals, guides, videos, webinars, and even a SYSPRO e-Learning Channel. Detailed information on every SYSPRO module is available, with wonderful step-by-step walk-throughs. That is all as it should be. I am completely in favour of learning and access to information, and I would never attempt to stifle anyone’s creativity or enthusiasm. I would, however offer a few strongly phrased words of caution. Online learning, in my experience, comes with a certain risk.

Easy access to online learning materials can sometimes make people over-confident. Based on a few hours of self-directed study, they think they can jump right in with both feet and modify the company ERP. That, often enough, is when the phone at the support desk rings.

“We’re having a little problem….”

Once SYSPRO is up and running again, they’ll sometimes admit that they hadn’t quite thought things through. That’s my cue to give them some sensible advice: ‘Whatever you want to do, before you go live, first try it out in a test company. It’s the only safe way to make sure that you get the results that you’re looking for.’

Having a test company created by a consultant does cost a little in fees, but it can save so much time and effort, and mitigate so much risk, that I definitely believe it’s worth the expense. It’s normal for owners and managers to try to save some money by doing things themselves, but sometimes it saves you even more time and money to simply pay the people with appropriate experience and skill sets.

One of my customers not that long ago, decided to create their own test company. A few weeks later they couldn’t understand why their inventory values were out of line with reality. The phone on the support desk rang. After running balance functions and various checks, it turned out that the homemade test company’s Inventory and GL were pointing to the live company. Luckily, there hadn’t been much testing done in the test company and we were able to correct the situation. Quite frankly, it could have been much worse.

Word to the wise: try out your changes on a professionally made test company, then check, check and re-check your results. Before you go live, check them again. When everything goes off without a hitch, you’ll be glad that you did it right.

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