The Real Story Behind ERP: Separating Fiction from Reality

What the Book Covers

This book chronicles possibly the most exciting story of the past several decades in the enterprise software space: the lack of evidence for the benefits of ERP systems. Yes, the most popular and widely purchased application in enterprise software had a series of logics or central arguments for why it should be bought. In the early stages of the ERP “revolution,” there was no evidence, proposals regarding ERP Software were made without proof. Three decades into the history of ERP systems, the test is in, and it looks quite a bit different from what was initially proposed. However, this evidence has not been synthesized and reviewed comprehensively — and then explained to corporate buyers. This book is the first to do exactly that.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems have been around for thirty years. Widely implemented by companies around the globe, ERP has made its significant vendors and consulting companies very successful indeed. But have the millions of dollars that companies invested in ERP paid off?

As this book will prove, ERP has harmed most companies that implemented it. Unplanned expenses for customization, failed implementations, integration, and applications to meet the business requirements that ERP could not—have added up to a higher Total Cost of Ownership for ERP that negated any operational benefits a company might have realized.

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Related Books

This book is closely tied to the book Enterprise Software TCO, a lack of proper analysis in multiple dimensions (as well as TCO) explaining the uptake of solution categories which are not validated by any evidence. Once ERP systems could not demonstrate much in the way of financial benefits, the book explains how a new logic was developed — that ERP was “essential infrastructure.” This also turns out not to be true. Of course, the initially proposed argument that ERP would be the only system that companies ever needed is now laughable three decades after the ERP trend began. Readers will learn that concerning ERP software, old rationales are never proven, new hypotheses proposed.

The book is also connected to the book Enterprise Software Selection because the selection of so many poor quality ERP software solutions from prominent name vendors demonstrates an evident inability on the part of many companies to perform a proper software selection.


  • Chapter 1: Introduction to ERP Software
  • Chapter 2: The History of ERP
  • Chapter 3: Logical Fallacies and the Logic Used to Sell ERP
  • Chapter 4: The Best Practice Logic for ERP Software

Chapter 1: Introduction to ERP Software

  • Understanding the Philosophical Basis for ERP Solutions
  • Unintended Consequences and the Definition of Success
  • The Consensus on ERP Software
  • Books and Other Publications on Software Selection
  • What Type of ERP Software Is This Book Focused On?
  • The Book’s Scientific Method Orientation
  • Tilting at Windmills
  • My Background and the Book’s Focus and Orientation
  • The Book’s Applicability to SaaS and On-premises ERP Vendors
  • The Vendors Covered in This Book
  • How Writing Bias Is Controlled at SCM Focus and SCM Focus Press
  • The Approach to the Book
  • The SCM Focus Site
  • Intended Audience
  • Abbreviations
  • Corrections

Chapter 2: The History Of ERP

  • What is ERP?
  • ERP Solutions Gets their Start
  • The Focus of ERP Software
  • Why Are ERP Systems Called ERP?
  • ERP Software Begins Its Life with an Illogical Name
  • ERP Limitations
  • The Implementation Success and Failure History of ERP
  • ERP Software and Account Control
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3: Logical Fallacies and the Logics Used to Sell ERP
  • The Logical Fallacies
  • The Logic Used to Sell ERP

Chapter 3: Logical Fallacies And The Logic Used To Sell ERP

  • The Logical Fallacies
  • The Logic Used to Sell ERP Solutions

Chapter 4: The Best Practice Logic For ERP Software

  • The Car Versus Truck Best Practice Example
  • SAP Best Practices and SAP’s Marketing Machine
  • How SAP Uses the Concept of Best Practices to Control the Implementation
  • SAP’s Confusion on the Topic of Best Practices
  • The Negative Effect of Best Practice Claims on Projects
  • Non-ERP Uses of the Term “Best Practices”
  • Criticizing Pre-existing Systems
  • Conclusion

See this link for the rest of the table of contents to The Real Story Behind ERP.

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Questions about the Book? 

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