Cloud. SaaS. In memory. Mobility. Artificial Intelligence. These are just a few of the many technological trends affecting ERP software initiatives. Buzzwords, trends, and new technologies are plentiful in the enterprise software space. However, there is one important thing in the term that often gets overlooked: the “E” in ERP. In other words, the enterprise.
If we back away from all the buzz, hype, and trends, ERP software initiatives are simply about the enterprise, or your business. None of the other things matter without first and foremost taking your business needs into account. Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re not forgetting about the “E” in ERP software: Allow your business to drive your technology needs, rather than letting technology drive your business. It’s easy to get so caught up in cool new technologies and capabilities to the point that you forget about your own business needs. Sure, technology can enable business improvements that were once unimaginable, but a common mistake is to assume that technology will define your business improvements going forward. Instead, it’s more effective to choose and implement new technologies based on your business needs rather than purely on software capabilities.
Those can be two different things.
Define your business processes and requirements before selecting and implementing new ERP software. A common rookie mistake is to assume that you should choose your ERP software first before defining your business requirements and potential business process improvements. In keeping with the spirit of the first point above, best practice is to define your business requirements and future-state business processes before you select and implement your technology. While some of the transactional, workflow details are dependent on the specific software, most strategic improvements should be defined first. Then – and only then – is it appropriate to being selecting and implementing technology to enable those changes.
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Ensure a well-defined IT strategy.
Your ERP software initiative should be part of a broader, longer-term, and more strategic IT and digital transformation strategy. Many companies pursue these initiatives in a vacuum because they feel a sense of urgency to replace their broken back-office systems, but this should only be done in the context of the bigger picture strategy. For example, point solutions and other enabling technologies might be used to augment what your core ERP software can do for you. You want to make sure that you’ve defined your strategic intent, your priorities, and your long-term roadmap
before jumping the gun on an ERP software implementation.
Focus on organizational change management.
It’s a shame that most ERP software initiatives exceed time and budgetary expectations (see our 2017 ERP Report for more details. The real tragedy in these cases is that the people side of the equation is often the first thing to get cut when this happens. Ironically, organizational change management is the single most important enabler of your digital transformation’s success, so short-cutting how you enable employee adoption is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A solid and comprehensive organizational change management strategy is the first step to ensure that you are able to address this critical success factor.
When embarking on your ERP software imitative, make sure that you have addressed these key components of your overarching strategy. Only by putting the “E” back into ERP will you be successful.