Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have proved effective in streamlining business processes in many highly urbanized countries. The enhancements it brings to organizations like private institutions and even governments are significant, especially in terms of delivering better customer service. By integrating data systems from various departments and subsections of an organization, ERP systems save money and improve decision-making time.
The benefits of ERP implementation are readily apparent in most developed countries, even though it’s not without its own challenges. For developing countries, however, those challenges appear steeper by comparison.
Addressing Complexities and Habits
ERP is fundamentally complex for a single person to grasp. Opting to use ERP in an organization means a massive overhaul in existing processes and habits to adopt wholly new ones. If that sounds hard, think of how people struggle when they try to quit smoking, or pledge to start a grueling exercise regimen. It’s often not a pretty picture, and people are likely to give up halfway and fall back to old habits. Now imagine doing that with hundreds or thousands of people, and we’re looking at a tremendous organizational change management challenge.
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Adapting to New Systems
Compounding the challenge for developing countries is a particular set of factors unique to their setting. The most prominent of these key challenges is the inherent design of ERP systems as a product catering to western audiences. ERP’s implementation strategies were developed with western firms in mind, which makes their adoption in a market like India an exercise in futility.
Another key factor is the number of iterations that ERP systems embedded in western companies have undergone since its inception. This gives developed countries better capabilities and flexibility in adapting to changes. For developing nations with relatively new enterprises, tackling such changes that come with ERP can be much tougher.
Legacy systems like spreadsheet software (or even pencil and paper) often get in the way of implementing ERP. In relation to the previous points, it can be hard to pry old systems away from people who have been using them for years, even if it means replacing them with more efficient ones. Humans are creatures of habit, and resistance to change is quite natural especially in business settings.
Crucially, ERP stakeholders seek simplicity most of all. If we’re proposing increased efficiency in an organization’s work processes, an IT approach (as most ERP solutions are nowadays) is bound to reduce interest due to the perceived complications it brings in terms of usability, features, etc.
Using ERP Competencies to their Advantage
This doesn’t mean that ERP can never work with businesses in developing countries. These systems have plenty of promise when utilizing its core competencies. One study observed how a company in Asia used an ERP system to reduce ideation-to-implementation time, slash operational costs by 40%, accurately identify planning errors, and use the centralized data system to generate reports and devise unified strategies.
A Solution in the Cloud
The advent of cloud computing brought a new dimension and agility to ERP solutions. Using cloud-based ERP systems ensures businesses with more savings in operational costs, constant and timely system updates, and faster deployment compared to on-site ERP systems. The continuous expansion of internet access across the world makes it even easier for a business in any part of the world to acquire cloud-based ERP.
We can therefore infer that ERP systems have tremendous potential in accelerating progress in developing countries by introducing their local enterprise to the opportunities offered by such systems.
This is precisely the reason why experienced independent ERP consultants like Panorama Consulting exist: to provide expert insight on ERP systems that suit an organization’s requirements and conditions, be they infrastructure- or location-wise. Contact us today, and let’s work together on an ERP solution to optimize your burgeoning business for growth.