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Monitoring the ERP Clock

2/17/2015

Knowing when to replace one’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a tricky proposition. For many organizations, growth, revisions to the business model, or physical changes may be the drivers of “monitoring the clock” on a current system. On the other hand, symptoms may have emerged that indicate the system’s useful life is running down. These could range from people working outside of ERP to do things that should be part of ERP processes, reliance on a diminishing number of key staff to keep the system operating properly, or finding that the system is struggling to keep abreast of technological developments New-year-clock

Ultimately, if ERP no longer supports the organization’s strategic objectives efficiently and cost-effectively, chances are the clock is winding rapidly towards its end. Not anticipating this event can threaten an organization’s competitive status.

In a timely article on Information Week, Anish Kanaran, channel director for Epicor in the Middle East, Africa, and India, addresses the issue of ERP change:

An ERP replacement project can be a huge undertaking financially and operationally; so make sure that when your current ERP clock runs out; your next system has a longer lifespan. The ability of a system to be scalable and flexible enough to grow and map itself against the long-term objectives of the business is important, but so too is partnering with the right vendor. Choose a provider who makes the right investment in technology. ERP systems that are designed to embrace new technologies as they emerge provide the right foundation on which to build your ERP strategy. Modern ERP providers do the thinking for you. They anticipate change and offer innovative solutions to not just meet functionality requirements but [also] the changing ways that users will need to work to continually improve productivity and ultimately the speed at which you can do business.

Kanaran provides a useful checklist of best practices for resetting the ERP and making sure one’s ERP system stands up to future organizational needs:

  • Keep an eye on the technology evolution. Anticipating the rapid evolution of technology and user expectations, and incorporating it into business software solutions, are important differentiators. A good example of this practice is being able to facilitate the sharing of information within your business to improve productivity. Promoting collaboration beyond the four walls of your business opens up conversations with customers and suppliers, making information readily available to facilitate speed and agility.
  • Usability means productivity. The easier a system is to use, the quicker your business will start to see value. Unprecedented ease-of-adoption, from management of implementation and upgrades to the ease with which casual users can access information, means unsurpassed usability and productivity.
  • Technology on your terms. The system should provide choice and flexibility when it comes to access and deployment, whether you choose to deploy on premise, hosted, or cloud, with access from PCs, tablets, or mobiles.
  • Choose the right technology partner. A proven ERP provider will have a long history of successful implementations across a variety of sectors. They will start the process by gaining a deep understanding of your business and objectives and then tailor the system accordingly. They should be experts in your industry and help you to delve into the nuts and bolts of your business. As an objective third party, they can shed new light on business challenges that you may not have realized even exist.
  • Make sure scalability and performance are high on your list. Enhanced performance, scalability, and ease of deployment will boost business agility and growth. Being able to grow with your business and adapt to change is essential.

Time, as the old rock song says, keeps on slippin’ into the future. For businesses that want to keep soaring higher, keeping close track of the ERP clock will help them avoid being grounded by obsolescent software.

Posted by ERP Insights Team

 

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