For a new light on the ERP topic, we turn to Panorama Consulting, a Colorado based firm that often helps large companies manage their ERP implementations. We’ve quoted their work before and, while their clients are usually several orders of magnitude larger in volume than our own SMB market clients, we find that the lessons they’ve learned often correlate well with our own, much smaller manufacturing and distribution style businesses.
In a recent article, Panorama principal Eric Kimberling points out three ways he’s found over the years through his client work that “innovative” ERP implementations differ from the norm. Eric’s original post can be found here.
- They aren’t overly concerned with hard and fast budgets and timeframes.
As Kimberling says: “This may sound like blasphemy to the CFOs reading this entry, but this is an important differentiator for innovative versus average implementations. While the average company sticks to their budget and project plan come hell or high water, more innovative companies recognize that there’s a lot that they don’t know when they first establish their project plans and budgets. In addition, these advanced companies also recognize that flexibility is important to achieving truly leapfrog improvements to their business models.”
- They are more likely to explore creative and alternative implementation strategies.
As our own firm has touted over the years – and a finding that Panorama’s “2014 ERP Report” very much confirms – more than ever, today’s ERP implementations tend to follow a “phased” strategy as opposed to a big bang approach. (As we’ve noted in the past, such a method isn’t always possible, but when it is, it’s the preferred way, by far, to go, in terms of safety and cost effectiveness.) Taking this phased approach, it turns out, lends itself nicely to companies being able to “explore more creative and effective ways” to implement their ERP systems, Kimberling says.
- They focus on post-implementation benefits realization.
While many companies undertake their ERP initiatives either because technology has forced them to or because their legacy systems have become outdated, the more innovative firms are utilizing more business-focused justifications that drive their implementations. This focus in turn helps sharpen the focus of the implementation team during the process – they keep their eyes on the prize so to speak, by putting the business objectives ahead of the technology ones. This in turn lends itself handily to a better focus on organizational change management and business process management.
We agree wholeheartedly with Eric’s conclusions. Wise customers will too.