OPTIMIZATION IS A 4-LETTER WORD WHEN IMPLEMENTING AN ERP
Since the advent of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, the intended key benefits of ERP included integration of systems, consistency of data, robustness of functionality and optimization of business processes. Over the years, from custom to package to cloud, all of these benefits have been achieved except for the optimization of business processes.
Why is that the case? Business Process Optimization is hard to do. It means that system users have to adjust their behavior to adapt and adopt best practice processes. This has been a challenge because custom ERPs are built to meet the custom needs of the organization. With package ERPs, the organization could use vendor toolsets to customize the software to meet their unique business processes. With cloud ERPs, the organization can use powerful vendor configuration toolsets to customize the software to meet their unique needs. The reality is that project teams have found it easier to modify the software vs. modify the behavior of end users.
How do we change this?
The Angle? It is not easy. The concept of business process optimization has to be ingrained into organizational leadership's mindset before the project starts and continue beyond the project. Organizational leadership has to demand the project puts a priority on optimization. Without this support, it will not happen as human nature of avoiding change will be the rule vs. the exception.
Prior to project start, identify processes where optimization is necessary. Once the software and the implementation partner are selected, identify typical processes in which optimization opportunities exist. During all phases of the project, focus on the processes and continually focus on optimization.