When most organizations are ready to replace their ERP software or legacy systems, they typically expect that the new system will fix most or all of their business process and organizational issues. Broken processes, redundant data entry, and Excel spreadsheets are just some of the pain points that many organizations expect a new ERP system to solve. However, as many of our clients have found, business software in and of itself won’t fix these and other business challenges.
The real key to taking your ERP implementation to the next level? Business discipline. During my 15 years as an ERP consultant, enterprise software solutions have become deeper, more robust, and more flexible, which are generally considered good things. However, this flexibility and rich functionality comes at a price; implementation project team members and employees can tailor the software to handle even the simplest task in a number of different ways, which can lead to the very inconsistencies and broken processes that ERP systems are intended to fix.
So what’s one to do? First, recognize that ERP software is no substitute for well-defined and disciplined business processes. Chances are the software you select and implement will be able to handle your business needs, but the question remains: how will it address your needs in a way that makes sense to both your business and your employees? This conundrum is exactly why Panorama’s ERP business blueprint services have been in such high demand lately.
Second, effective business discipline also requires effective organizational change management. Without a clear understanding of how exactly new business processes should work, how they themselves should work with the new business processes, and how individual workflows affect people upstream and downstream in the organization, employees will not be able to deliver the business benefits you (or they) may be expecting from the ERP implementation. End-user training is a start, but there are a number of activity that should happen well before training, such as change impact analyses, targeted organizational change discussions, and a benefits realization plan. Remember: software doesn’t deliver business benefits, people do.
It’s obvious that an ERP software package should fit your organization’s functional requirements and be implemented in a way that is aligned with your business. However, fulfilling these requirements alone will not get the job done; you also need to instill the business discipline required to realize the business benefits. Learn more by attending one of our upcoming webinars on ERP selection and implementation best practices.