Technology and ERP systems are too often presented as the panacea that will cure all your business ills. But the fact is, technology without the right planning could actually end up hindering your efforts. Recently, the folks at Panorama Consulting suggested four things a company should do before making a tech-investment leap. We concur wholeheartedly and thus share their thoughts (and few of our own) with you today.
- Without business process reengineering, new technology will simply pave the cow paths. Too often, companies jump into their enterprise software initiatives without redefining their business processes (in other words, simply automating already broken business processes). Business process reengineering is an important first step and foundation to an effective ERP implementation, so even if technology is a key part of your roadmap, make sure that you’ve done the heavy lifting to redefine key business processes prior to implementing a new system.
- Technology is useless without the right guiding enterprise and IT strategy. It’s easy to quickly embark on a new technology system because it will be an improvement over what you currently have – regardless of whether or not it fits into your strategic plan. There are simply too many options and variables to consider in the technology space, which can cause some to stumble when those decisions don’t fit your overall strategy. (Thus, we would add, be sure you have your strategic and business goals properly defined well ahead of your cash investment.)
- Organizational change management is what ultimately drives transformation – not technology. People and processes drive change. (And here then we would add: This is where the “technology is not a cure-all” thinking comes into play. You can’t throw tech at a people/process problem. First define the problem, then map the process (old vs. proposed new), then factor in everyone’s feelings and input about proposed changes, and then, maybe… look at how technology can help improve your lot.)
- Even if it really is time for a new ERP system, the other non-technical aspects of your initiative will drive true business transformation. (Our comment: Technology is just one component of your transformation. Be sure it serves your people/process needs first, and not the other way around. Look at all your needs from all angles, and given the typical cost constraints under which most companies labor, choose your targets judiciously. Map out just 2 or 3 key strategic objectives for starters, and build slowly from there. Take it slow, keep it go, as my old Slovenian grandpa used to say.)
You can find the full text of Panorama’s thoughts here.