Mostly, customers consider the implementation of an industry-specific software solution as a perfect opportunity for them to evaluate and optimize their business processes. It is often considered to let the ERP solution determine how they should work in the future. And at the start of each implementation, everyone agrees with this! People want the changes to happen and express that feeling. Should be easy then. However, reality indicates otherwise.
Not that easy
Companies switching to a new ERP system often run on outdated systems that aren’t based on the latest technologies and do not support their operational processes properly. The reasons back then for choosing the current software solution can be diverse. Probably, at the time, it was the best choice. Over the years, people have learned how to deal with the system and all issues have been tackled with customizations, changes to the processes, the adoption of various workarounds, the often extreme use of Excel lists, and so on. When discussing all the sub-processes in detail during interviews with key users, we are often surprised by the twists and inefficiencies and how people have become accustomed to them.
Throughout the years, the company has created a way of how to deal with the old software which might work, but which is also really inefficient. And this way of working with the software has become the standard over time. In many cases, users do not even realize anymore that it is indeed not effective and that it is mainly due to the impossibilities of the legacy software.
But in an ever-changing industry like construction, customers need to adapt and change and improve to keep your competitive edge. What about changing the processes, you would say!
However, it's not that easy. Because when we propose a much more efficient process based on 4PS experiences, resistance arises. "Because that is not how we do things." Also, it is not that easy after all those years for the key user to look critically at the current business processes. And subsequently it's certainly not easy to be able and willing to change those processes.
Fix your processes
And yet, you should do it! Get back to the meeting room. Because a new ERP system supports the different processes, provides more and better insight into the sub-processes and, because of the integral nature, ERP provides more and better integrated processes across departments. But first of all, you need agree on your new processes.
ERP is the tool that supports your processes. Therefore, before you implement ERP, you must have control and agreement over how you want your processes to work. Only then can you automate the process successfully.