CRM Gone Wild

Top 10 ERP Software Failures

  1. Just desserts? Could a failed ERP software implementation (in this case SAP's R/3 ERP application) take down a Fortune 500 company (in this case Hershey Foods)? During Halloween season 1999, Hershey's problems with its supply chain applications prevented it from delivering $100 million worth of product and caused the company's stock to fall 8%. That's not sweet.

  2. Just fix it! What did a $400 million ERP software upgrade to Nike's supply chain and back office systems back in 2000 get the company? Well, for starters, $100 million in lost sales, a 20% stock dip and a collection of class-action lawsuits.

  3. Just the perfect storm. The classic tale of HP's consolidation of its fragmented North American ERP applications onto one SAP software system proves that one can never be too pessimistic when it comes to ERP project management. In 2004, HP's project managers knew all of the things that could go wrong with their ERP software rollout, but they just didn't plan for so many of them to occur at once. The project cost HP $160 million in order back-logs and lost revenue – more than five times the project's estimated cost.

  4. Just typical students. In 2004, more than 27,000 students at the University of Massachusetts, as well as at Stanford University and Indiana University, were forced to do battle with buggy portals and ERP software applications that left them at best unable to locate their classes and at worst unable to collect their financial aid checks.

  5. Just chuck it! US garbage disposal giant Waste Management engaged ERP software maker SAP in an acrimonious $100 million legal battle over an 18-month installation of its ERP software, and allegations of making up a vertical market product on the fly.

  6. Just where is it? In January 2006, Oracle boasted that it was halfway through the Fusion Applications development process – a killer enterprise application suite that combines the best features and functions taken from Oracle's expansive E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel product lines. Finally in 2010 the scope was changed, expectations were reset and success was declared - and then cheif sponsor and co-President Charles Phillips promptly left the company.

  7. Just not today. If enterprise software maintenance wasn't so darnboring, this one could be a movie. In 2005, SAP bought TomorrowNow, a small company that provides ERP software maintenance and services for Oracle's ERP products – at about 50% off Oracle's prices. Oracle alleged that SAP (via TN) "compiled an illegal library of Oracle's copyrighted software code and other materials". The nasty lawsuit unfolds and SAP shuts down TN in 2008. Meanwhile, TN cofounder Seth Ravin forms Rimini Street to scoop up all the former TN business, adding SAP maintenance to the mix. SAP later found guilty and order to pay Oracle over a billion dollars.

  8. Just sleep on it. Shareholder pressure on bedding-maker Select Comfort saw a $20 million SAP project put on hold, amidst charges of "extremely poor judgment by management".

  9. Just leave it with us. Despite SaaS and the cloud being the logical next evolution for ERP, the vast majority of CIOs remain committed to on-premise, traditional ERP systems, despite aggravating integration and high-cost headaches.

  10. Just keep your pants on! Both high profile sailors, SAP's Hasso Plattner and Oracle's Larry Ellison clashed during the 1996 Kenwood Cup. Legend has it that Ellison's crew ignored Plattner's wounded yacht and Plattner has since admitted to mooning Ellison's crew for not helping. Ellison may not have been aboard but the high-seas battle has raged ever since.