Driving The ERP Evolution
At Endeavour Solutions, we’ve been helping businesses to select and implement ERP systems for decades. And with that much experience, it’s easy to recognise recurring patterns – particularly when those patterns prevent organisations from fully enjoying the potential of their new ERP system. In this blog post, we take look at one pattern that crops up again and again – the lack of validation and leadership in ERP evolution.
In the early ERP days, everything was a little more straightforward: businesses needed systems to handle new tax regimes; their legacy software wasn’t up to the task – and so they gladly sought out ERP solutions. Sometimes it was even more straightforward than that: the need for efficient administration had simply reached a crisis point, rendering ERP a matter of business survival. But in today’s fast-moving business world, and with technology constantly opening up new opportunities, businesses are finding that those ERP decisions are much more complicated.
Lack of Validation
ERP implementation is one of the most difficult software tasks in the world, and yet organisations often fail to adequately validate their requirements before selecting a system. That lack of validation during the selection process typically leads to frustration, disappointment and complaints that the new system doesn’t deliver all the great things people had anticipated it would.
Every ERP systems has its own set of unique innovations, features and functions, but with so many ERP systems out there, how do you determine which one will be best for your business? Some organisations decide what they need before they search. Others prefer to see which systems are out there before choosing, using new information they discover along the way to refine and determine their needs. And to be honest, it doesn’t really matter which approach you take, as long as you validate the reasons for making the change, you determine whether that change will deliver tangible results for the business – and you ensure you can validate that the system you are selecting will help you make that change.
ERP projects depends upon the valuable input of multiple experts, each with varying complementary skills. But one of the most vital (and often overlooked) skills in any ERP Project is leadership. Despite the highly technical nature of ERP implementation, success doesn’t simply depend on technical expertise, it also largely depends upon all intended results and benefits being clearly defined and validated through good project leadership. From minimal disruption, to quantifiable product and profit targets – potential ERP benefits can take many different forms; they can also take quite some time to achieve, making effective leadership crucial in helping maintain focus on outcomes during and after implementation. And leadership isn’t just a matter of taking responsibility for achievement, it also means ensuring that the right outcomes are being targeted.
Many of the people involved in an ERP project will be naturally inclined to focus on technical aspects of the implementation. They are likely to be technical experts that have ‘done it all before’, and you may well be relying on them to deliver again; but with their main focus on the technical details, it’s up to the leaders in the business to bring their big-picture guidance to the project. Without that leadership, the project will never evolve beyond people’s expectations – and let’s face it, that’s what we all want from our ERP systems, not to simply meet expectations, but to exceed them, to innovate beyond the competition and to take our business in productive new directions.
At Endeavour, we believe that real ERP evolution comes from innovation – we also believe that this innovation is ultimately driven by businesses just like yours. ERP solutions constantly have to evolve and adapt to the new demands and growing ambitions of the business world. So, it’s not the software vendors that are leading the way, they are simply responding to those forward-thinking businesses who, through validation and good leadership, are pushing and inspiring innovation in the ERP world.