ERP Technology is mostly beyond our ability to successfully utilise it

At a recent industry forum future concepts of the direction of ERP were unveiled. This included a heavy shift to mobile devices to interact with ERP, simple functional self-learning tools and a push to the cloud.

Whilst the concepts presented were somewhat visionary the issues of user acceptance and corporate success with ERP was not mentioned during the presentation.

It would appear that the gap between ERP capability and corporate implementation of the technology is not being closed. With global surveys showing 75% of all ERP implementation failing (failure depends on expectations and outcomes against those expectations) it is clear we have not got the basics of the technology working effectively and any adding to the complexity with the new ideas will simply exacerbate the problems.

For those companies that claim successful implementation they are only reporting 50% of the expected benefits. Arguably that would not constitute success.

The reality is ERP implementation is complex, requires 100% commitment from the organisation from the top down (not just lip service) and must be approached systematically over a longer time period.

For most organisations ERP implementation is resource sapping, disruptive and leads to corporate fatigue.

The majority of organisations manage to get the basic nuts and bolts working but do not implement the tools in the systems that provide the real value to the organisations as a consequence of this corporate fatigue. In fact most organisations become disillusioned with the entire ERP concept and shy away from continuing with implementing functions beyond very basic nuts and bolts.

Adoption of the new capabilities being currently programmed and soon to be offered will only make matters worse as the fundamentals have not been mastered. Mobile connectivity to systems that do not function properly will only lead to frustration and potential customer and brand damage as information sourced is incorrect or not available through the mobile devices.

The push to cloud is somewhat confusing as it is being touted as an easier and faster way to implement an ERP system. All of the issues that cause problems with ERP implementations will still exist process, data clean-up, conversion, accuracy, structuring of product, definition of work areas, materials supply, inventory management, production, costing, finance etc still have capacity to cause systems problems and failures whether it is cloud based, SaaS or in-house hosted.

The current failures of ERP to provide corporate value will only be exacerbated by adopting additional technology features that rely on the basic ERP systems to be operating effectively to successfully utilise the changes being mooted.

It is clear the current approach to adopting and implementing ERP systems is seriously floored. If there is any hope of being able to fully utilise the vision of ERP going into the future then a lot more work needs to be done to successfully implement ERP, as we have it today, to fully utilise its potential.

Experience Worth Listening to

Ray Atkinson


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