Many of our clients are looking for ways to get more out of their current ERP system rather than investing in an entirely new one. Unless your organization has simply outgrown its ERP system, this may be a feasible option. In fact, our experience with many of our clients is that their operational pains lie not in the system itself, but in broken business processes and misuse of systems.
Questions to Determine if “Fixing” Your Current ERP System is More Feasible Than a Implementing a New ERP System
- Are you using the full functionality of the current system?
- Are you using the most recent version of the system?
- Do employees have a strong understanding of how to use the system?
- Are your business processes and workflows well defined?
- Is there employee or executive resentment of the system?
- Is your organization willing to invest in the resources required to implement a new system (time, people, money, etc.)?
If you answered yes to all of the above questions, then chances are it may be time for a new system. However, if you answered “no” to one or more of the questions, then you may be able to achieve improvements through an ERP benefits realization plan.
Four Steps to Optimize the Benefits of Your Current ERP System
- Identify and prioritize problems in the current business and technology environment. The first step is to identify the pain points or problems with your processes and system. Common categories of problems include broken business processes, lack of employee training/communication and poor system functionality.
- Identify and quantify opportunities to improve your business processes. To ensure you’re achieving optimal benefits from your system, you need to define opportunities to improve your processes. This step should entail documenting your processes, identifying opportunities for improvement and quantifying the business benefits of improving those processes. In addition, you should audit the configuration and customization of the system to ensure alignment with your business processes and requirements.
- Define root causes and solutions for problems with the current system. After steps 1 and 2, your team should be in a position to define the root causes and potential solutions for your highest priority issues. By the end of this step, you should have some “low hanging fruit” to pursue to improve your business and technology operations.
- Implement the benefits realization plan. Once solutions have been identified to address the various process, people and technology issues you’re facing, it is time to implement them. These solutions should be treated like any other project with clear tasks, milestones and ownership.
If you implement these four steps, you will be better positioned to realize the untapped business benefits of your current ERP system. Learn more by listening to our podcast, “What is Business Process Management?”