Does the following sound familiar to you? ”We need a new ERP/CRM/PLM, our current solution is too difficult to use, it cannot be upgraded, it doesn’t sufficiently support our digitalisation strategy. Let’s get a new solution!”

This highly typical business challenge usually results in a 22-point to-do list aiming at acquiring the desired new solution.

  1. Define the as-is VS. the to-be business processes
  2. Collect requirements
  3. Identify technology and solution vendors, meet with them
  4. Agree evaluation criteria
  5. Issue a Request for Information
  6. Hold workshops with the technology vendors
  7. Make a shortlist of vendors, issue a Request for Proposal
  8. More workshopping with your shortlisted vendors
  9. Update your evaluation criteria sheet
  10. Define the business case
  11. Make an investment proposal
  12. Select a technology vendor to provide a proof of concept
  13. Run the proof of concept
  14. If the proof of concept is successful, start contract negotiations (Otherwise go back to point 12)
  15. Define the project organisation
  16. Re-do the investment proposal and get approval
  17. Sign the contract
  18. Start the project
  19. Re-do the business process fit-gap analysis
  20. Re-do the requirements collection
  21. Re-do the budget and time-schedule
  22. Tear at the grey hair this whole process has caused you

See any problems with this approach? I see two: first of all, getting a solution decision in this way takes an unbelievable amount of time and effort – and it still does not guarantee successful implementation. Secondly, the requirements keep changing and you need to run just to keep up with them.

There ARE shortcuts in life

Luckily, there is an alternative to this overly-elaborate 22-point method. My shortcut takes only four steps:

  1. Prioritise and Design the required Business Capabilities
    Formulate the required business capabilities on a high conceptual level, and define only the absolutely essential ones in finer detail.
  2. Select a Solution Platform
    Platforms such as Salesforce, and ERP cloud solutions like SAP Business ByDesign or Netsuite provide a rich scope and large supporting ecosystems. If you accept to use their world-class business processes, most of these platforms will cover 80% of your requirements with 20% of the usual time and effort.
  3. Implement incrementally
    Failure rates for ”Big Bang and Go Live!” projects are high. Instead, you can take advantage of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and simple cloud-based middleware tools to create temporary integrations with legacy systems. This kind of step-by-step model is a low-risk, high-speed deployment approach.
  4. Deploy with people
    When you go for a cloud-based ERP solution, it means that your future end-users can see already from Day 1 how their new system will look like. Getting hands-on experience makes the adaptation easier for them.

So, the next time your organisation decides to take a trip into the New Solution Lane, don’t go by the old maps – remember there is a shorter and smarter way!

 

About the author

Menno Huijben is a Senior Executive at Sofigate and a concept owner of Business Technology Transformations and Data Leadership.

Menno is interested in the realm of decision-making in business, especially where a data-driven mindset meets intuition and experience. His motto is ”Don’t forget the Human Factor!”

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