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.
- Define the as-is VS. the to-be business processes
- Collect requirements
- Identify technology and solution vendors, meet with them
- Agree evaluation criteria
- Issue a Request for Information
- Hold workshops with the technology vendors
- Make a shortlist of vendors, issue a Request for Proposal
- More workshopping with your shortlisted vendors
- Update your evaluation criteria sheet
- Define the business case
- Make an investment proposal
- Select a technology vendor to provide a proof of concept
- Run the proof of concept
- If the proof of concept is successful, start contract negotiations (Otherwise go back to point 12)
- Define the project organisation
- Re-do the investment proposal and get approval
- Sign the contract
- Start the project
- Re-do the business process fit-gap analysis
- Re-do the requirements collection
- Re-do the budget and time-schedule
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!”