5 Lessons Any Business Can Learn from Nike's i2 Debacle

Choosing the reliable and right software that requires more minor customization

Nike chose i2 Technologies ERP software that required heavy customization to deliver the promised functionalities. Both Nike and i2 failed to recognize what is attainable and what is overly ambitious. This led to the fiasco.

A company must first figure out what all features and tools need to be implemented in the software for their Business Process, and then they need to choose the most reliable software option available that can deliver the functionalities with minimum customization. Customization can range from UI design to order management, shipping, manufacturing process, and customer database. When thinking of customization, they also need to think about equipment (Computer Hardware) to facilitate customization. Too much customization ups the complexity of upgrades. With upgrades being made every 2 to 3 years or so to keep the systems updated, and with this complexity, the time to implement the software increases, and so do the cost.

Being patient and taking things one step at a time

Nike rushed their ERP software implementation. It failed to realize the risk with customized software, and initial testing was not made, thinking it would work.

Enterprise software implementation cannot be rushed. Lots of data inputs need to be made into the software for it to give desired outcomes. Testing the software on pilot systems at every stage of implementation is essential to ensuring its reliability. Also, considering the pilot test results, any adjustments to the input data need to be made to improve the outcomes. Only after the testing gives reliable results, the implementation must be carried out.

Adequate information and clean data have to be provided quickly 

Computer-generated forecasts use historical data to make predictions. A mistake that Nike made was thinking, “what was true yesterday would be true tomorrow.”

To see future trends, faster information must be shared with customers, retailers, distributors, and manufacturers faster and accurately. According to experts’ clean data input is necessary for demand forecasting. Forecasting obtained from these systems is always based on past data.

Choosing a third-party system integrator.

Nike did not hire a third-party system integrator while replacing their old enterprise application with a new i2 application.

System integration is necessary for both B2B communication and internal cooperation within an enterprise. Integration of applications with new or existing hardware, packaged and custom software, and communications are done through an integration platform created by integration experts aware of the obstacles that may come during the integration, allowing anyone to prevent and troubleshoot problems very quickly. Third-party integrations enable anyone to quickly add features and tools to business processes that might take many months for a company to develop on their own, saving the company time from having not to construct their integrations.

Proper training of employees 

Nike lacked proper training for employees combined with high customization and flaws in the system led to the increasing orders of unneeded shoes and decreasing good demands. Training and development of employees are essential to help them comprehend the new methods and avoid mistakes.


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