By Tom Quinn
Irreconcilable differences feel incurable, rigid, inflexible and unyielding. Does any of this sound like your relationship with your existing ERP software/business system? As an organization, do the demands of current or future business seem impossible with the people, processes and systems you have in place?
There are some simple yet critical assessment questions that can help companies determine if it is time for a new business system:
- Are your key people looking backwards or forwards (in management meetings)?
Think about the most important meeting(s) held throughout the week and the information discussed in these meetings. Are these people making critical decisions based on information that is days or even weeks old? Are these people proactively managing current business or are they spending the majority of their time trying to justify past performances?
2. What percentage of time do individuals lack the necessary information to make decisions?
Count the number of times your critical decision makers leave their seat or reach out to someone because they do not have what they need. They may lack access to this data or they may simply not trust the information presented to them. The number of times this happens per day surprises most companies.
Task your production scheduler, purchasing manager or sales manager with the following: What percentage of their day does information-gathering consume? Does this seem reasonable? Categorize the reasons why this fragmentation occurs and determine their causes.
3. How inhibited or inefficient are your processes because of your current business system?
Current business systems are often considered “good enough” because companies have simply lowered their expectations. Validating this inefficiency is the most critical self-assessment activity a company can do. I suggest you create high-level process maps of your existing workflows. Have your staff identify the shortcomings and frustrations associated with these workflows. Based on your strategic aspirations, how do these workflows need to change? Does order processing need to be faster? Do quotes need to be more accurate? Ask the individuals currently supporting these workflows how they are measured or incented.
Generate a complete list of measures within a workflow, determine how aligned they are. In the future, are these individuals or departments willing to concede or modify these measures to align better with the objective(s) of these workflows?
Create future-state process maps that support your strategic aspirations and represent agreed-upon changes the individuals and departments are willing to make.
Solicit help from someone who has familiarity with new business systems to verify that these future state workflows fully exploit the capabilities expected from a new business system.
Generate a list of business system requirements associated with these future state workflows. Can your current business system account for these expectations?
Business systems play a critical role in supporting today’s ever-changing world. Employing these simple assessment questions can give you a better sense of whether it’s time to improve what you have or divorce your current business system.
Insyte offers an outsider’s perspective regarding both of these options, and can help you more quickly and objectively assess the status of your current situation.