Across many industries, the term ERP (enterprise resource planning) evokes bad memories and feelings of dread. That's because these systems are inherently complex, linking financials with all other parts of the business—human resources, production, sales, and much more. The end-result, when and if it's finally attained after years of struggle, is a seamless enterprise in which data quickly moves from module to module, and decision-makers can peer in and see what's happening in all corners. That's the goal at least.

And for CIOs and IT leaders, the success of an ERP installation is often either a career-catalyst or career-breaker.

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