Looking for business process transformation? Selecting and implementing a new ERP program are just the first steps in the full transformation of your business. What comes next must include a review of the current state of affairs to start the business process transformation to get to the goal of the future state.
Many enterprises miss out on the opportunities to make business process improvements as they upgrade their ERP solutions.
A partial out-of-the box implementation
Companies new to modern ERP systems often choose only to implement a portion of the functionality they purchased, for a variety of reasons:
- Lack of resources – time, money, people
- It includes functionality they didn’t have before, and they’re not sure they need now because they have neglected the work of business process review and operations to find areas of improvement
- The organization is not ready for drastic process changes even if they will improvement operations
Generally, the mission is to go live, get the system up and running and achieve stability immediately. What project doesn’t have the goal of “on time, on budget” and “minimal impact to business”?
But afterwards, are companies satisfied with the results? Most are just glad they survived the whole selection and implementation process and they’re delighted it’s over. Unfortunately, many look around and realize they spent a ton of money on a system that does much of the same things they had before, with only minimal improvements and additional functionality.
Gartner’s Five-Step Hype Cycle
Without programming business transformation into the selection and implementation process, many enterprises don’t take advantage of opportunities for growth, business process improvement and transformation. They go through what Gartner research calls the Five-Step Hype Cycle but lose sight of the chance for real growth and change for the better. Moving from the Trough of Disillusionment to the Peak of Enlightenment, many businesses skip over transformation opportunities.
Looking for business process improvement? Achieve business transformation following implementation
From our experience, we have come up with two ideas for follow-up after your ERP implementation. First, conduct a system review and checkup that focuses on the questions of what did we buy, what did we implement and what do we need. And second, create an “opportunity matrix.”
For the system review and checkup, consider the following:
- Many companies develop a “phase two opportunity” list while they are in design mode for the initial implementation project. These are items that you are pretty sure you want, but didn’t have the resources (time, people or money) to do at time of the first go live. These go on the phase two opportunity list for further review and analysis.
- Sit down with your ERP provider and go back over the list of software modules and functionalities you purchased. Evaluate which ones you implemented and to what degree. This will be a handy reference when you start digging deeper into functional areas to determine which additional tools you could be utilizing.
- Listen to your users. What’s working? What’s painful? Are there any bottlenecks?
- Ask the experts. A fresh set of eyes reviewing your processes often will produce some great insight. You can find great value in utilizing an ERP consultant who has experienced many different ways a particular process can be handled.
- Attend your ERP vendor’s user conference and join their user forums. Understanding how others are using the same software will provide ideas and inspiration for bringing some of those success stories into your organization.
Create a perpetual, open-ended “opportunity matrix” which should include the following:
- New functionality mini-projects with cost and benefit estimates.
- Upgrade opportunities: major new versions come out every few years; most providers will have detailed information regarding the new functionalities that are included.
- Process reviews: areas of pain or concern; these are often driven from user feedback. Your reviews will drive internal process changes as well as greater utilization of the system.
- System interfaces: which parts can be automated or interfaced from an external system? Many supporting systems have interfaces to your ERP system that are already developed and available. The ERP user forums are a great place to learn about these.
- Reporting: Business Intelligence tools and other graphical reporting/dashboard type tools are often underutilized and frequently not launched as part of an initial go live.
Looking for Business Process Improvement?
Take the first step. White paper provides a roadmap to get you started.
It all comes down to realizing the value of your investment and transforming your business to the most efficient model it can be.
Looking for business process transformation?