The Future of ERP
A Brief History Lesson: The Origin of ERP
The term “Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)” has become a standard in the business lexicon, as well as a necessary investment for growing companies looking to remain competitive.
ERP solutions were at their prime in the 1990s when many companies began implementing them into their core business features. This mainly consisted of large, complex, monolithic, one size fits all ERP solutions. It was around this time that a negative reputation began to form around ERP software due to their high cost, lack of flexibility, and likelihood of failure (both completely and in terms of projected ROI). Lucky for us, ERP software has taken a giant leap into the modern, digital realm and improved drastically since then.
Postmodern ERP, Defined
The early criticism of ERP software prompted new viewpoints amongst many tech thought leaders. This is where the idea of the “postmodern” ERP system first began to appear.
“Postmodern ERP” is generally defined as a situation where companies abandon the traditional practice of using single, monolithic ERP platforms for several unique tasks and instead adopt a collection of individual, specialized programs.
Experts describe this as a “loosely coupled decentralization” of traditional ERP suite systems. In the past, ERP solutions were built comprehensively to offer business users a wide range of services under one collective umbrella.
People call the latest model “postmodern ERP” because it deconstructs the software from one big central program into logical components. This new methodology breaks down the idea that you need “one product to rule them all,” or that you should source all of your enterprise gear from the same vendor.
In other words, a traditional ERP system can be compared to your typical Nespresso machine. Predictable, simple, and straightforward, the machine offers a one-size-fits-all solution with its pre-packaged coffee capsules.
Alternatively, a “postmodern ERP” system provides you with the same complexity, specialization, and artistic freedom as an espresso machine. With various components that can easily be changed, upgraded, and specialized as needed, the machine can be customized to suit your exact needs, wants, and process improvements. Similar to a “postmodern ERP” system, an espresso machine stands as a beacon of customization and comparative taste.
A Cocktail of the Best Solutions: Why Best-of-Breed is Making More Noise
The main reason why businesses pursue postmodern ERP solutions is that they can get best-of-breed solutions in place by integrating them with other components – just like you can customize your espresso machine to fit your exact liking and service requirements (yes, we’ll take the custom-four-hole-steam-wand-tip to froth milk perfectly!)
These can include alternatives such as:
- Finding best-of-breed solutions to replace individual applications within larger ERP suites. For example, an organization might prefer to use a more robust industry-standard CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) system instead of the native corresponding application bundled with their ERP system.
- Using multiple ERP suites from different vendors, usually across different business units or subsidiaries.
- Foregoing an ERP suite altogether and using only best-of-breed applications.
The goal of a postmodern ERP strategy is to use the best applications possible in each particular area while ensuring they adequately integrate when necessary. These systems may be hosted either on-premise or in the cloud, based on the organization’s needs.
Why Firm Selection Outweighs the Actual Software Selection: Not Every Barista Can Brew The Perfect Latte – To Your Taste
A primary goal for today’s businesses is to streamline their processes. After all, increasing efficiency reduces expenses. For each ERP solution, there are success and horror stories about organizations that are similar in size and industry. This raises the question: What’s the difference between a successful and failed implementation of the same ERP solutions?
Well, have you ever had a terrible coffee from your go-to cafe, and wondered how the barista could have possibly gotten it so wrong? Machine? Employee? Roast? Water filter?
In our point of view, it’s always the implementation partner. Having the right implementation partner that understands your business, has the proper set of skills and the appropriate level of experience will make all of the difference between a successful implementation and a horror story.
System Integrators: End-To-End Partners
In actuality, working with a third party offers many benefits. For example, imagine your business is looking to implement a modern cloud ERP solution in its offices across the world. You can certainly go straight to your publisher of choice and buy those licenses. But what solutions and from which publisher? How will you implement them? How will you deploy them across all those locations without disrupting end users? How will you ensure you stay in compliance with your publisher agreement?
Many organizations can’t take on such a complex selection of technology and implementation on their own — which is why they buy through a Systems Integrator (SI). Through a SI, not only will you get the products at a competitive price, but you will also gain access to the expertise required to select the most suitable solutions, and deploy, customize and manage them.
The Benefits of an IT System Integrator
Let’s explore the advantages of working with a system integrator (SI).
Partnering with a SI means you’re working with an IT expert. Employees at these businesses are extremely knowledgeable about different manufacturers, products, and the IT industry as a whole. This is one of the strongest benefits of working with a SI.
System Integrators have a track record of helping businesses solve various problems, and the ability to apply their knowledge from those experiences to your organization. With such a deep well of expertise, they can assess your needs and budget in order to build the end-to-end solution that’s right for you. Best of all, if something goes wrong, you have a trusted partner to turn to for support.
A good SI is a true solution provider. Their goal is to learn your business’s current challenges as well as future goals in order to recommend the best course of action. Because SIs work with multiple modern cloud solutions, they know which combination of products is best in each situation. Instead of pushing for a particular manufacturer’s products, they will assess your overall function and suggest the ideal combination of products.
Partner with a Super or Agnostic Solution Integrator, Not a Traditional Service Firm
Considering both take the same amount of time and are virtually equal in cost – would you rather pick up your morning cup of coffee from a specialized, boutique coffee shop, or a traditional mass producer?
When considering the different types of solution providers that can assist you, be wary. There is a new type of provider on the horizon – Super Solution Integrators or Agnostic Solution Integrators. These are organizations, such as Big Bang, “that orchestrate a variety of technology solutions to drive business outcomes and enable digital transformation”. Super solution integrators can architect, manage and implement IT initiatives from beginning to end. At Big Bang, our consultants are multi-product certified and have the technical expertise to bring forward “best-of-breed solutions”, from a Business Process Review (BPR), through to developing customizations and integrations, and all the way to training and deployment.
Forget your plain old mass-produced coffee, and upgrade for a best-of-the-best, customized experience. Find Super Solution partners or Agnostic Solution partners that differentiate by reimagining service delivery models, being technology agnostic, and specializing in your business.