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“ERP systems cost a ton.”

“ERP vendors can be hard to deal with.”

“There is no ‘perfect’ ERP solution for us; all of them have major drawbacks.”

Truth be told: we’ve heard a lot of complaints about off-the-shelf ERP systems (and the companies who sell them) over the years. And a good amount of what we hear has validity; ERP systems are expensive to buy, difficult to buy and certainly a pain to customize to “perfection.” But there’s little doubt that ERP systems are necessary for organizations that want to compete on a global scale. So, some companies are caught in a quandary. Should they skip the ERP middleman and build a system . . . themselves? Well, as any good consultant will tell you, it depends.

If your organization is considering this route, read through the following bullet points and see how many statements you identify with:

  • Part of the reason my organization wants to build its own ERP system because it doesn’t want to change any business processes to fit an off-the-shelf solution. We’re happy with how we do all the things we do and any change will be a negative.
  • Our business processes don’t give us a lot of competitive advantage; they’re pretty standard as far as our industry goes.
  • Our IT staff may not be up to the multi-year challenge it will be to blueprint processes, write software, install the system, maintain the system and train the users on it . . . but we can easily hire people who will be.
  • Our organization has a pretty decent escalation and decision-making framework in place. We know a lot of questions will come up during this but we’re pretty sure that they can be sorted out during monthly management meetings or whatever.
  • Our organization is making a lot of strategic moves recently. We’ve been divesting, acquiring and even looking into new revenue streams.

If you identified with any one (or more) of these statements, a wholly customized ERP system is probably not a risk you want to take. Though custom solutions probably can work in some unique situations, there’s a reason there are hundreds of ERP vendors in our ERP Database — they make products that companies need. Think of it this way: if companies were excellent at creating or implementing ERP software, they’d probably be in that business.

But companies don’t just need ERP software. They also need honest, ethical consultants that can help them choose the right solution, conduct the business process management activities needed to protect competitive advantage, put the appropriate decision-making frameworks in place, and make sure the system is up, running and being used in the right way. In short, they need consultants who can make sure that the ERP system they buy is the best-fit solution, and then help them create and take advantage of all the incredible benefits a properly implemented system can bring.

If your organization is struggling with ERP software selection, implementation or benefits realization, contact Panorama today. We can help.

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