This week’s ERP poll did little to settle my controversial opinion that ERP projects should focus both on as-is and to-be processes. The real problem is that the results are very different that I expected.

I originally posted the poll because over the years, many of our clients have preferred to focus only on to-be processes. However, to my delight, only 9% of poll respondents hold this view.

Instead, 34% prefer to focus on as-is processes. The exact same number of people prefer to focus on both as-is and to-be (34%). While the second statistic doesn’t surprise me, the first one does.

The results suggest that 1 in 3 projects are simply automating their as-is processes. Is this a good approach to implement ERP? Why spend that kind of money to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them? Why not use ERP as an opportunity to improve business processes and realize business benefits?

I know many companies are finely tuned machines, with very efficient processes. These types of companies may install ERP just to automate these finely tuned processes. However, my experience has shown that most companies are not fine-tuned machines and have many, many inefficiencies that can be improved. Therefore, wouldn’t it make more sense to address to-be processes to define the vision of what your company wants to look like?

Perhaps these results help explain why many ERP projects fail to deliver measurable improvements or benefits realization. Despite the fact that 34% focus on as-is processes, I still maintain that this is not a good way to realize a good return on investment on your ERP project. Focusing on to-be processes should also be considered while conducting your ERP project planning.

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