The Life Cycle of an ERP
Your relationship began with a promising presentation, a hint of incredible things yet to come. You dreamed of the places you could go, the hurdles you would tackle together. When the dust settles you discover the reality of your ERP relationship – the good times are the result of a serious investment on your part, time spent cajoling, encouraging and coaching. And the bad times, well maybe we shouldn't go there?
Your co-workers have heard the many dramas of your relationship more times than they care to count and although you sound like a broken record, something always pulls you back into that unhealthy relationship.
But, it doesn't have to be that way. Honestly, it doesn't.
We often make excuses for why we don’t deserve the best. We tell ourselves that our relationships are good enough and that others have it much worse. We limit our potential and don’t reach for our dreams. Isn’t it time we stop making excuses for why things aren't better?
Relationships must evolve, change and be flexible enough to grow together. A lot of ERP relationships just don’t fill the bill…
Here’s what you need to look for in a good ERP relationship.
- Matching requirements? Determine the needs of each department and how you’d like the solution to improve efficiency. Be wary of solutions that deliver much more than you need. Often they are overly robust, hard to learn and sorely underutilized. This typically means you will be paying too much for more than you need. There goes your ROI! Ultimately, the solution should complement the needs of the company.
- Easy on the user (user-interface). The users need to find the solution easy-to-use and implement. This will reduce the time spent on training and addressing errors. One size does not fit all. You can end up with a solution that doesn't really work for you, or again isn't a match for your organization.
- Compatibility with current operating systems. The software should be compatible with other office operating systems. Be sure you know how much time and cost the solution will really take to implement – excluding training. Be sure to investigate implementation methodologies, talk to references and base your decisions on YOUR goals, budget, time constraints and resources.
- Value to the organization. Integrating a new system into your business is a major undertaking. Staff will need to be trained and you might need to change nearly every process you perform on a daily basis. So, during ERP evaluation, you should ask what changes are necessary, how much they will require from your team and how effective they will be in altering the overall efficiency of your business. Be smart about your search. Don’t choose a solution because everyone else has chosen the same one, or someone has convinced you their solution fits your organization perfectly. Do your homework and ask the right questions. Ask them how your needs will best be met and compare that to the competition. If they understand your unique requirements, they will be able to easily answer these questions. At the end of the day the solution should add value to your business. Real value.
- Reporting and tracking. The software should help you in reporting and tracking your resources effectively and easily.
And just like all relationships, you’ll know you've found the right “match” through key signs that are characteristic of a really special relationship.
- You aren’t chasing the relationship’s potential. A happy, well-adjusted pairing doesn’t need to chase what “could” or “should” be. A good relationship just is.
- There’s minimal drama – or none at all. Even the healthiest relationships deal with some difficulties. The healthy relationships deal with the concerns by working together to resolve them and then learning and growing from them.
- And lastly, your friends and family see what you do. If the people who love and respect you the most are begging you to get away from a relationship then that relationship is probably not the one for you. On the other hand, if the people you trust also see what you see in your ERP relationship, then that’s a good sign the two of you may belong together.
Aren't we all really looking for a win/win relationship? You deserve it, you really do. Now go out there and make it happen ;-)