Half of baby boomers are now divorced. For someone who has yet to take the plunge into marriage, that kind of statistic really makes me wonder: “Why didn’t it work out?” One reason I have heard over and over again is, “I was too young, and I really didn’t know what I wanted.” My takeaway — and by no means is it original — is that before a person must truly know him or herself before they can make a good decision on a life partner. What qualities about a person can you not live without? What are your deal breakers? When people say they were “too young,” many describe their marital selection process as one where the search was rooted in what they thought or were told they needed, not what they defined for themselves as important. How can you know what will make you happy if you haven’t defined your own needs first? If someone’s search for a mate puts them in a position where they have to change who they are as a person to realize the benefits of a marriage, is it that surprising that the unions ultimately fail?
While it sounds slightly comical, selecting a spouse and selecting an ERP system follow the same logic. Stay with me.
At Panorama, we are often engaged by clients either after a failed ERP implementation or once they recognize they aren’t receiving the benefits of their ERP systems and want to analyze the root causes of the problems. Something I have seen time and time again is that if the company had a flawed ERP software selection process and methodology going into the project . . . it was probably doomed from the beginning. And an ERP failure may be the one thing that’s harder to “get out of” than a troubled marriage.
So why the mismatch? Many organizations go through a software selection process and — overwhelmed by options — pick the vendor with the slickest software demonstration, the best “razzle dazzle” or the “coolest” features. When the company begins the actual implementation, they quickly realize that the solution doesn’t do what they need it to do. Then, one of two things usually happens: 1) the company changes the way it does business in order for their processes to work within the ERP system, oftentimes losing the processes that gave them competitive advantage in the first place, or 2) the company has to customize the software to fit it’s business processes, which often ends up being extremely expensive and time-consuming.
Choosing an ERP system by its bells and whistles alone follows the same logic as choosing a life partner based upon the fact that they were the best-looking, or cooked the best, or had a cool car. Not to say that those aren’t desirable qualities, but as I’ve learned from many of my divorced friends, defining what your list of needs are first and making sure that a potential future spouse can fulfill those needs is the first and one of the most critical steps in a successful partnership. If you get into a marriage and then realize that in order to realize the benefits you have to change or compromise who you are, ultimately you lose faith in the union on a whole. To have success, you need to go into any long-term commitment with your eyes open and a clear idea of your needs, requirements and where you’re willing to make compromises — and this goes for romantic relationships and ERP system selection both.
For more information on choosing the right ERP software solution for your organization, check out Panorama’s ERP Software Selection services page. We may not be able to help you find a life partner . . . but we can help you find the ERP system that best suits your organization.
Written by Jason Henritze-Hoye, Senior ERP Consultant at Panorama Consulting Solutions.