In today’s uncertain global environment, organizations and their executives need a clear path to a positive return on investment before taking on the cost and risk associated with implementing new ERP software.
Some companies do realize business benefits, but they are more strategic and deliberate in how they plan and executive their digital transformations. Here are three ways we see companies leverage technology to maintain their competitive edge:
1. Manage your project as a business transformation initiative. The most successful clients we work with treat their projects as business transformations rather than simple technology refreshes. Your chances of failure increase dramatically when you start with the technology and expect everything to fall into place accordingly. The more successful companies, on the other hand, begin with strategy, people and processes, then allow technology to fall into place from there.
For example, our team is currently working with a large distribution company that is looking to grow from $250M in annual revenue to $1B by 2020. This is no small undertaking, and technology alone won’t get them there. But they will get there by aligning their people and processes with their technology.
2. Consider how you will leverage technology to achieve your strategic goals. Alignment of your various business transformation initiatives is made possible by a clear definition of your strategic goals. When embarking on ERP implementations with clients, we typically help them define how bigger-picture strategic goals translate into more specific enterprise, technology, people and process initiatives that will ultimately enable those goals. When defining this strategy, it is important to not get too prematurely caught up in specific technologies or trends. Instead, start with your strategy and use that as a framework to narrow the playing field and define your overall direction. This also helps avoid the “analysis paralysis” trap.
3. Take the time to reengineer critical business processes. Not all business processes are created equal, so not all business processes should be reengineered equally. Instead, business process reengineering efforts should focus on those workflows that are most critical to your business success and are a source of competitive advantage.
We recently met with a mid-size, engineer-to-order manufacturing and distribution client that views customer service and product lifecycle management as the keys to their success. With that in mind, they asked us to reengineer those business processes, but focus on more incremental improvements in other functional areas. This allows us to focus our efforts on areas that will have the biggest impact and deliver the most competitive advantage.
In this ever-evolving technological world, it is vital to leverage your enterprise system to improve your competitive advantage. If you don’t keep up, you’re going to be left behind.