A recent post by our friends at Panorama suggests there are some myths about “digital transformation” – the process of transforming a company into a 21st century digital enterprise worthy of a quick recap today. They make 4 points of distinction that companies should heed in the process of their continuous improvement and digital initiatives.
- Myth: digital transformation is the same thing as an ERP implementation. Their first point is that digital transformation is not ERP – at least, not ERP alone. They do not assume a single off-the-shelf ERP solution. Rather, they are open to best-of-breed, or sometimes hybrid, solutions. Rarely is one company’s base ERP offering sufficient to serve the complete needs of a company. We ourselves have found that with any of the variety of ERP solutions we’ve sold over the years, it’s still necessary and useful to utilize that software’s companion, third-party options to extend the reach and capabilities of the core system into areas often better handled by vertical subject matter experts. Moreover, notes Panorama, ERP solutions are often about incremental improvements. A digital transformation often requires “a more revolutionary approach to operational and organizational change.”
- Myth: your digital transformation software needs to be provided by one ERP vendor. As implied above, a digital transformation opens doors to all manner of new thoughts, processes, ideas and technologies. So ERP may come from one source, your e-commerce from a second and your warehouse management from a third. There’s no harm in that if all can be well-integrated. And that requires people and process analysis, before anyone touches much software or hardware, we might add.
- Myth: digital transformations should be run by the IT department. Most enterprise software initiatives must be viewed first as a business project, and then as a “computer” or “IT” project. We always remind prospective clients: ERP (and by extension, digital transformation, is first and foremost a strategic business investment. Business and executive involvement here are more important than ever.
- Myth: digital transformations are best for every organization. Not always, Panorama points out. Sometimes, incremental, slow change is best. They note that… “The key is to identify what type of project you want this to be, and then ensure that you have alignment in how you allocated resources, focus and measures of success for the project.”
Whether yours is an ERP project, a true digital transformation, or something in between, begin with a clear definition of the what the project is, and the pace of change the organization believes it can support. These will often dictate the steps that should – or should not – be taken after.