Through the treacherous years of manual processes, outdated legacy systems, inaccurate performance data and internal operational breakdowns, most organizations are ready for a heavy dose of business process reengineering (BPR).
While this is mostly good news; there is a catch. As unfortunate as it may be, everyone has differing opinions of what business process reengineering actually means and wonders what its correlation is to ERP implementations. However, over the last decade, our team has found seven common myths associated with BPR that we have decided to share with you along with a healthy dose of reality check to go with them.
- Business process reengineering doesn’t need to happen on ERP projects. This is perhaps the most misguided of all the myths mentioned. Every ERP system – regardless of which you choose – will most likely wreak some sort of havoc on your business processes. Most of these changes will be positive improvements, but will still require some effort in defining your operations in the new system environment.
- Simply implementing a new ERP system will drive process improvements. This may take the cake for the most pervasive myth in the industry regarding business process reengineering. Today’s ERP systems are extremely robust and flexible,–meaning that even the simplest business processes can be performed in a wide variety of ways. This leads to a need for pre-defined business processes so that the software can be configured and/or customized accordingly.
- ERP project teams should focus on “to-be” rather than “as-is” processes. If you are an ERP vendor or sales rep, current-state processes probably don’t affect your dad-to-day. But if you are the organization making the changes or the employees doing the work every day then the current processes absolutely DO moatter. For this reason, it is critical that you assess the current state of your processes to help you obtain the future state as part of your business process reengineering and optimization efforts.
- Business process improvements can be done without organizational change management. While you don’t often hear many say this out loud, too many executives think that they can simply redefine and implement business processes without organizational change management. However, this is a very misguided view of how to enable process and system changes. The most effective business process reengineering efforts succeed largely because of the way organizational change is addressed – not because of how well the processes were defined on paper.
- You can’t reengineer business processes before knowing which software you are going to implement. Obviously, screen transactions and menu options are driven by specific ERP software, but the how, what and when of what your business actually does is mostly independent of your software. Sure, your new ERP system may provide some new and better ways of carrying out the detailed transactions, but the general nature of your business operations probably won’t change much. For this reason, it is typically more advantageous and efficient to both evaluate and improve your business processes prior to selecting and implementing a new system.
- All business processes need to be overhauled before selecting and implementing a new ERP system. In opposition to myth #5, some executives believe that they need to evaluate, redesign and reengineer their entire business prior to selecting and implementing a new ERP system. However, this is not the case. Typically, the most successful organizations focus on improving their core areas of competitive advantage or differentiation as part of their ERP implementations, while letting other non-core business processes follow the lead of the software’s out-of-the-box functionality.
- Business process reengineering will cause my ERP implementation to take more time and money to implement. The Achilles heel of many failed ERP implementations is that they assume that “doing things right” will cost more time and money than if they cut some corners along the way. While it may look good on paper to strip out any extensive business process work, the reality is that your project will most likely take longer to implement and proceed to fail at go-live if business processes are not adequately addressed as part of your implementation. Remember that it is much less expensive to do things right the first time than it is to do clean up after an ERP failure.
If you have hopes of a successful ERP implementation—and let’s face it, everyone does—be sure to keep a realistic view in mind and don’t cut corners. And, as always, beware of the seven deadly myths.
Learn more about saving money the proper way throughout your implementation by registering for tomorrow’s webinar, The Path to ERP Implementation Planning.