Big-bang or Phased strategy? ERP fails when you fail to choose the right one!

Bulbul Ahmed

Strategic Transformation Leader | ERP, IT & Enterprise Solution Project Manager | Master Business Analyst | Management Consultant | Driving Innovation Through Process Optimization, Culture Development, and Automation Technology | 17 April, 2019 (Wednesday)View 1857

Big-bang or Phased? – big decision to make for ERP Implementation

Rollout strategy or approach or whatever you call it, you always have to make this big decision before starting any ERP implementation.

Business process analysis, requirement identification, software setup, testing, user training, data migration… everything will change based on what strategy you’ve chosen – Big-bang or Phased. Therefore, the right decision must be taken, otherwise ERP project will surely fail and it will disrupt the business!

Big-bang and Phased strategies are totally different

Big-bang: This approach is to implement full ERP software in the entire company in one shot.

Phased: This approach is to implement the ERP software phase by phase. Such as implementing few modules in few departments and in one site only. And, then implement other modules in the rest of the departments and sites one after another.

There is no fixed answer which strategy is the best. It totally depends on the characteristics of the company where ERP will be implemented.

Big-bang is risky, Phased is time consuming

Big-bang involves everything in one project, therefore it is large in scope. If you choose this strategy, make sure you have below things in place…

  • A big dedicated project-team
  • Well educated planners & managers in all functional departments
  • Standardized business processes following best practices
  • Well organized Production floors and Warehouses
  • Good network and IT infrastructure

If you are missing any of the above items, then don’t go for Big-bang. If you insist, the project will fail. Remember, 75% ERP projects fail!

On the other hand, Phased strategy involves only some part of the software and/or some part of the company at a time. Therefore, it is smaller in scope, easy to manage, easy to plan & control.

During the 1st phase, you can establish ERP in some part of the organization and take time to make sure it works properly. When 1st phase is successful, then go for 2nd phase with the next part of the company and/or next module. And then go for the 3rd phase and so on. This strategy is slow but steady and risk-free.

Phased strategy is better for Bangladeshi Garments/Textile and Manufacturing companies

In Phased approach, you can learn from 1st phase and become better & quicker in next phases. But in Big-bang, if you make mistake, it is very difficult to roll-back the setup.

In Bangladesh, most of the managers & planners are not efficient and not well-educated. The processes are not standardized and normally we don’t follow manufacturing best practices. Our network and IT infrastructures are also not very strong. Therefore, going Big-bang will not be the right choice for Bangladeshi companies. Instead, implement one part successfully, make a model company, and then rest will follow.

Big-bang could be fast and easy for efficient manufacturing companies in USA, Japan and Germany. But in Bangladesh, it will break and take more longer time to fix. Sometimes it become impossible to fix the mistakes and the project fails.

Therefore, I recommend to look at the company holistically and breakdown your ERP project into several phases.

The phase-breakdown could be by Modules, by departments, by sites, by customers, by product, by production processes etc. Which breakdown is the right one? That’s a topic for another big discussion.


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