Companies tend to accept their ERP system for what it is, while operational performance deteriorates them until they can no longer bear it. This is the point where they enter another ERP selection cycle, however, it doesn’t always have to be this way.
A continuous improvement approach, like those used in other parts of your business, can be applied to your business processes and supporting software systems. While we might not know what the future will look like in five, even ten, years, we do know that it will be different. The change is constant, and in such an environment, agility beats the best laid out plans.
According to Carter Lloyds, Chief Marketing Officer at QAD, the rigid nature of ERP stems from attitudes on the ERP vendor and the customer. It can be found in the software, services, and customer engagement strategies of traditional ERP vendors.
However, in order to become an effective enterprise where all business processes are running at peak efficiency and perfectly aligned to business strategies, continuous improvement of your ERP system is a critical requirement for achieving this vision. For customers:
Keeping up with software updates, upgrades or enhancements / new features.
Having a continuous improvement process to ensure alignment for the long term between your business strategy, the people, process and best practices you utilize to achieve your goals and the technology that supports it.
At this point, in an ever-changing environment, the design of your ERP implementation is less important than the agility of your ERP solution to respond to change.
For ERP software vendors, it’s important to meet or talk to your customers, every year if you can, to understand their business challenges and show or explain how they can overcome them. These should not be sales pitches. Instead, they should be unpaid consulting engagements based on the simple idea that successful customers will become long-term, satisfied customers.
By conducting a deep discovering process that allows customers to understand their current business goals and challenges, it can allow you to work to determine root causes and issues.
“At QAD, we evaluate performance against desired outcomes, leveraging our KPI framework, discussing the processes, skills, and best practices that impact these outcomes. It is very likely that source of performance issue exists outside or in addition to the technology. It’s often about alignment. The framework acts both as a diagnostic tool and a roadmap for addressing your business challenges,” said Lloyds.
QAD meets with their customers’ senior executives to discuss their findings as a part of the vision workshop. The outcome of these efforts is a series of alternatives that can drive meaningful improvement in focus metrics by improving business processes and supporting them with rational set of software. The vision process identifies how to use current assets better – without need for new software or services.
Where alternatives generate significant interest, deeper dive assessments are made available to further validate and quantify the potential value. Once adequately researched, these alternatives can turn into project. Each project starts with a baseline measurement and concludes with an outcome measurement of the metrics the project was designed to improve.
Gaps in performance are also highlighted and alternatives are provided. The end result is an ERP system that provides greater fit with and in support of business needs, one that provides value into the future, and is agile to respond to an ever-changing business environment.
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