26 Apr Taking a Step Back before Changing Your ERP Solution
Albert Einstein is said to have defined insanity as: “…doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
While that quote may well have been misattributed – with everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Mark Twain also being credited as its originators – there’s really no arguing with its simple and flawless logic.
In fact, it’s a phrase we always bear in mind when carrying out our landscape review of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
That’s because ERP implementations can be a prime area for the mistakes of the past to be simply repeated, rather than learned from. So if you’re considering replacing your legacy system, we believe that the most important first step you can take is a step back: in order to consider exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve.
How To Avoid Making the Same Mistakes twice
We’re a technical company; but we never lose sight of the fact that the tech is always simply a means to an end.
So our landscape reviews take a holistic approach that starts by exploring your culture, understanding your people, analysing your processes and auditing your tech. Crucially, that’s also the order in which we prioritise things.
After all, while your ERP solution represents a massive investment and is at the heart of your processes, the cultural needs of your organisation – and the day to day needs of your people – are far more important.
This holistic approach enables all key stakeholders to take a step back and think about what it is you’re trying to achieve, rather than simply embarking on what can easily become an exercise in papering over the cracks.
That’s important, because many organisations assume that their ERP system was entirely fit for purpose in the first place, but has simply been overtaken by evolving organisational or legislative needs.
However, the fact is that if the original specification didn’t follow on from an effective evaluation of requirements driven by organisational needs, its flaws could be quite fundamental, and an holistic landscape review is required to ensure that they don’t become inherent.
Keeping Your Eyes on the Roadmap
While it’s important for you to have an organisational roadmap, it’s even more important to ensure that your technology is simply there to support that roadmap, not to actually become the roadmap.
This is especially true at a time when the large software vendors are pushing their customers to move their entire ERP solutions to the Cloud.
Not only does a premature move to the Cloud mean that you will be unable to drive optimal value from your expensively and extensively extended current solution, it can also mean reducing your ability to tailor functionality to your organisational needs.
That’s because the modular nature of Cloud-based solutions means they offer far less flexibility than hosted solutions; and the uniqueness of the challenges facing your people and processes means that a certain amount of customisation is almost inevitably required.
To put it another way: the purchase of new tech shouldn’t necessarily be confused with making genuine progress. So, while you will almost certainly need to move to the Cloud in the next five to ten years, the imperative to drive value and efficiency from your hosted solution means that incremental improvements to your current ERP solution are almost certainly the best way ahead.
Having said that, it bears repeating that a holistic landscape review is a necessary first step; enabling you to ask yourselves where it is you want to get to, before setting out on that journey.
This enables you to define the potential of your current solution, as well as to determine the cost benefits. After all, while your ERP solution may not be performing as effectively as you would like, that doesn’t mean it lacks the potential functionality to do so.
In many cases, full functionality is just waiting to be accessed correctly, and opportunities to enhance the efficiency of your business processes – such as introducing greater automation of time-consuming processes for example – can often be implemented in just a few hours. This means that landscape reviews can often deliver significant and immediate ROI, as well as serving to inform future programme developments.
It really is true that sometimes, all you really have to do in order to take a huge step forward in terms of organisational efficiency, is to take a small step back to look at your existing landscape. That way you can be sure to prevent the mistakes of the past getting in the way of a more efficient future.