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Is Your ERP Solution Undermining your Enterprise?

There are many misconceptions out there regarding ERP implementations, featuring multi-million Euro investments, overrun budgets, missed deadlines and organisation wide chaos, as one system is removed and another is implemented in its place.  Thankfully, times have changed and investing in an ERP solution is no longer as painful or costly as one might have imagined (when implemented correctly).  Add this to the many benefits of ERP (including improved forecasting, inventory control, financial and security compliance and reporting) and the case for ERP is compelling.

When assessing your existing ERP solution or considering a new one, it’s vital to ask yourself whether this is an opportunity to significantly improve business performance and deliver upon customer expectations, thereby displaying a clear return on investment (ROI).  Regardless of whether you wish to change your ERP solution or move to a new one, there must always be an ROI.  It’s very important to have this conversation at an early stage when selecting your ERP vendor.   Not only will it hold your chosen vendor accountable but focuses their attention on the needs to your enterprise.

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But what if you are not sure whether you need a new ERP solution?  Here are six things to watch out for:

  1. Your enterprise sees ERP from a business unit perspective rather than a benefit to the wider organisation:  For example, using an ERP solution as a CRM function alone is a failure to grasp the potential power of ERP to streamline core business processes
  2. If the software or the vendor dictates the functionality of the solution:  If your vendor can not deliver on the basic needs of your organisation or required reporting, the vendor or software is generally not right for your enterprise. Before embarking on the search for an ERP solution, your vendor must understand all aspects of your enterprise, down to each business unit and grasp where the organisation is going.  If the vendor is unable to provide the required functionality, it’s time to consider another vendor and potentially the solution itself.  Ensure your ERP incorporates the responsiveness needed to adapt to marketing forces and changing circumstances
  3. Heavy customisation is costly in terms of budgets, manpower and time: If your software requires vast amounts of customisation, perhaps you need to ask if the software is right for your business.  SAP Business One has a wide range of features that can be used ‘out of the box’. For those industries (such as retail or manufacturing), there are SAP Certified Add-Ons that ‘plug-into’ SAP Business One seamlessly, without the need for heavy customisation
  4. A complex ERP solution is a useless one: Complexity limits growth and increases the risk of errors by obscuring visibility.  Furthermore, a difficult to use ERP solution will see a massive drop in user adoption which is vital to success.  Ease of use and clarity are key to ERP adoption. If your ERP solution fails here, it’s time to switch
  5. The merits and success of an ERP solution are limited to a single business unit:  The ERP solution should be judged on the positive impact it has on the enterprise as a whole. Taking a blinkered approach will not give you the strategic benefits that can be delivered by a successful ERP install
  6. Using disparate systems as opposed to maximising your existing ERP solution:  Turning on features within the current software or upgrading to the latest version will boost efficiencies and enable better consolidation across the board.  The limitations you see now could be hiding a myriad of business intelligence needed for your enterprise to grow

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