Postmodern ERP and Procurement – What’s the Deal?

Postmodern ERP and Procurement – What’s the Deal?

The era of postmodern ERP is upon us. That buzzword is probably pretty familiar to anyone currently in the market for a new enterprise resource plannings solution. For those of us who don’t know about this new fangled term, it doesn’t have anything to do with your college philosophy class. As a matter of fact, post-modern ERP is a term used to describe a new approach to maximizing heavy-duty business software used by large enterprises.

Today, many people are claiming that the end is nigh for the traditional ERP system. This leaves many of today’s vendors trying different approaches than the traditional model. These new approaches include allowing for the substitution of a best of breed application for an existing application in an ERP suite, using multiple ERP suites, and bypassing ERP suites in favor or using best of breed applications.

Gartner defines post-modern ERP as “a technology strategy that automates and links administrative and operational business capabilities with appropriate levels of integration that balance the benefits of vendor-delivered integration against business flexibility and agility.”

With traditional ERP, you may keep the same system for years before moving on to a new one. With post-modern ERP, it allows you to substitute a number of different parts for the applications best suited for a particular situation. SoftwareAdvice.com compares this to owning a car. With traditional ERP, you buy a new car every ten years. With post-modern ERP, you have the same car for an indefinite amount of time, albeit with components that are frequently swapped in and out of the body. Or in the words of Thomas Spol from PRO Unlimited, postmodern ERP is the parts assembling the whole, rather than the whole being comprised of the pieces.

Now that we’ve begun to understand the core foundation of post-modern ERP, we can begin to take a look at its effect on procurement. Earlier this year, Gartner assembled its take on post-modern ERP, and now individual perspectives on the matter are filtering in. This includes Brian Utley from Perisope Holdings who, last week, wrote a piece for govtech.com about the ways that we need to reasses procurement in this new ERP era. He writes that in the post-modern era, every technology decision must be made in alignment with the IT department’s larger IT and business process strategy. This means closer integration between procurement and supplemental security platforms, including finance and other models. Utley also argued that while procurement’s function has essentially always been to secure the goods and services needed for the lowest prices and greatest value, we will now have to work to establish new cost savings within agency’s internal processes.

Toward the end of the article, Utley sought to remind people that procurement is meant to simplify the purchasing process, protect tax payer dollars, and ensure fair competition. He advises that if you are unable to meet your procurement goals, then you should consider investing in more modern ERP technology solutions rather than relying on the outdated traditional ERP models.


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Elizabeth Quirk
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