Life After ERP

In today’s world, technology has enabled businesses to become more responsive to a customer’s needs and wants. Businesses are seeking new ways to be more agile, innovative and quicker in responding to customers ever changing needs. Businesses require agile, integrated solutions that speed up time to market.

Over the years ERP has gone through an evolution to deliver an integrated suite of modules that enable businesses to handle their transaction requirements. Although most transactional processes are catered for, the transaction processing requirements of a business are still in large done in isolation of their respective upstream and downstream counterparts. Transactions are being “thrown over the fence” and silo functions persist within organisations. Processes, although present, are still not automated. Change, improvement and innovation is slow, cumbersome and costly. As a result, about a third of all ERP implementations are unable to achieve many of the proposed benefits today.

The ROI debate on ERP has raged on and there are a number of articles and publications on the ROI that can and has been achieved by implementing ERP. This article is not about that, its about what next, the money has been spent, the systems are implemented and being used. The question is, how do you take an ERP system that processes all transaction data and transform this into an automated, agile and responsive environment that beats the competition and drives down cost?

Ironically, the challenges of ERPs arise from the same problems ERPs used to solve – data inconsistency, effort redundancy and manual integration. Today, achieving flexibility presents challenges like integration requirements, managing multiple vendors and frequent testing. This leaves organisations of today with a few fundamental issues with ERP. New applications are required to fill the cracks.

Previously, ERP SaaS Applications have been a solution. Cloud-based ERP SaaS Applications are touted to be faster, more cost-effective and easier to implement. But, this is not guaranteed. Your organization’s innovation needs could be outside of the scope of the ERP SaaS Application. For example, there may be long-term integration requirements of an organization, which evolve over time.

In a bid to make them easier and less costly to maintain, most SaaS ERP solutions have a shared application code that individual organizations cannot customize. By today’s standards, ERP SaaS solutions are not easily customizable.

So, with these challenges in mind, what drives business transformation in the modern world? Today, business transformation is driven by four things – speed, flexibility, innovation and customer experience. Flexibility and customer focus are integral parts of business. In the past, businesses and ERP systems were only focused on core internal operations – sales and marketing, project and inventory management, human resource management, manufacturing, accounting, and so on. However, to survive today, business must pay a lot of attention to external interactions and innovation. This calls for a shift from the “one-suite-does-it-all” approach to a more flexible application environment.

The business world is slowly experiencing a shift from large, one size fits all, ERP solutions to smaller, robust, right-fit applications that allow organizations to digitize bit by bit. Businesses are leveraging their own uniqueness to come up with solutions that are best suited to them instead of following the “best practices” touted by ERP vendors. Companies are turning to acquiring smaller but more robust solutions from various vendors.

Businesses will need to adopt a service integration approach to manage these multiple applications from multiple vendors. Therefore, it is important for businesses to plan, prepare and implement the postmodern ERP environment and the increased technological demand it presents. A good solution is to use a two pronged approach to the enterprise, where one system focuses on efficiency and the other on speed and flexibility.

Click here to see how Linxus can help your business build robust, right-fit applications that will allow your organization to digitize bit by bit in the postmodern ERP era.