Jul 16, 2013

Why another ERP Blog?

This was my first ever blog post. Somehow it remained in 'Draft' for over 7 years. It is very fascinating to read it now and see if I have met in this blog the objectives that I had set for it almost 7 years ago...

I have been working in the area of ERP for the last 7 years and have been lucky to be an integral part of 7-8 full cycle implementations. Working at such close quarters, I have observed that more often than not, an ERP implementation, rather than being a 'Business Solution' ends up as just another 'Project' for both the customer as well as the consulting organization. The customer, who started the project with much hype, expecting all sorts of 'Business Value Addition' finally ends up either disillusioned or at the most use the ERP as just another data entry tool.
Most of the time the problem is caused by a combination of the following.
1. Implementation consultant is a 'Product Specialist' and not a 'domain specialist. The consultant is not aware of the business impact of a particular process cycle say 'Procure to Pay' and hence is not able to provide value added solutions to the client's requirements
2. Top management addresses ERP implementation as just another package implementation and do not spend time addressing the expected business benefits of the package.
3. While the ERP implementation aims to integrate the business of the organization, the implementation methodology focusing on module 'silos' and module 'experts' works against the philosophy of ERP. I have more to say on this in a later post.
4. Inadequate user training (this one is a no-brainer). Even the existing user training focuses more on the product without providing the necessary linkage to the business.
5. Lack of business involvement: Many a time, ERP is considered to be an IT initiative whereas from the day one, it should be owned by business and not IT. The ownership invariably is the difference between success and failure.
6. Focus on initial cost: This is a problem, I encounter in Indian implementations. Focus is always on the initial implementation cost rather than on TOC. So choose a vendor who quotes the lowest irrespective of the quality of his implementation, do a shoddy implementation and then spend thru the nose for getting it right.
When I look at the above issues dispassionately, it is obvious that almost all the above issues are occurring due to insufficient information with the stakeholders. For example, the customers do not have an idea of how to identify / measure business benefits, how to assess project impact / risk, how to go beyond initial cost to TOC. As far as the consultants are concerned they do not have a clear knowledge of domain, the implementation methodology, the proper way to train a user, availability of user support forums, availability of other support resources etc.
So there you have the first objective for this blog.
"To provide relevant and accurate information to the stakeholders involved in an ERP implementation to achieve significant business benefits out of ERP."
So what? I can hear you ask. Almost all the ERP Blogs out there has this implicit objective. What is different in your blog?
While most of the blogs out there focus on the product and process, this blog will essentially focus on the management of ERP. While the target audience for those blogs are the software community, for this blog, the target audience is the business management from both the customer and the implementation organization. While the other blogs focus on ERP Execution, this blog focus on ERP Management.
In this blog, you won't see for example, bland updates from Oracle giving the info on new modules. Those updates will be accompanied with consultants opinions and users feedback wherever possible. You will more often than not see the opinions of opinion makers vis analysts, management consultants, and senior management of organizations which run ERP. You will see research reports on Key Success Factors in ERP implementation than solution as to why a particular process is not working in a specific package. Of course you will see that also there but I would prefer to focus more on the 'Big Picture'.
This blog is in its infancy. In fact this is my first post. Please provide your comments, feedback, opinions on the future road map of this blog, any other interesting ERP Blogs that you have visited recently...... in fact anything related to ERP and future road map of this blog is welcome.

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