ERP selection - if it were that easy / Part 1
9 Sep

ERP selection - if it were that easy / Part 1

Actually, the issue should be over: The introduction of a ERP software at a medium-sized company is methodically researched, practised and almost standardised. Whether it's a short blog article or a versatile reference book: they all describe a more or less similar procedure for implementing business software.

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.. An ERP project not infrequently ends up way over budget, ... and sometimes, total disaster, not at all....

At the same time, the standardised ERP implementation nevertheless not to run smoothly and often to not the desired results to run. A ERP projectt not infrequently ends with the budget far overrun, significant compromises in terms of the intended functionality and sometimes, the total disaster, not at all.

Mistakes and culprits

Often enough, however, the mistake lies in the selection of the ERP product and/or the ERP partner. What does not fit here from the beginning often cannot be made to fit despite great effort and expense. The selection of ERP software also seems to be an exercise that can be mastered with proper guidance and some standards.
Nevertheless, many companies follow a path that, although many take it, often does not lead them to their goal or leads them there via many elaborate detours.   

A few basics

Some of the following basic knowledge may be familiar to some readers. However, especially in SMEs, the knowledge of the interrelationships and challenges of an ERP implementation is not really universal.

ERP ? something different for everyone

Since the 90s of the last century, ERP has been an abbreviation that has a meaning among companies. Along with ERP, several other abbreviations for business software have come into use: MES, CRM, PPS, DMS, PDM, PLM and and and.
The functional transitions between these software packages are often fluid. And so the expectations of different people as to which functions and areas are covered by which software vary greatly. Basically, one should be aware that on the one hand there is no fixed demarcation between the packages. For example, there is ERP software that covers many functions of a PPS (production control) or has integrated CRM functionality.

The more detailed the mapping of the processes in the ERP software, the more "concreted" these processes often are....

Not all can do everything

At the same time, one must also keep in mind that, for example, from the strategic orientation, the building blocks cannot always be brought down to a common denominator. CRM software should leave plenty of creative freedom to quickly adapt processes or leave them open. This is the only way to react quickly to changes in trends. An ERP system, on the other hand, always pursues the strategy processes and thus also standardised in such a way. The more detailed the mapping of the processes in the ERP software, the more 'concrete' these processes often are.

The paradigm of the standard

It seems like a platitude. The idea of a standard software is of course based on an assumption: there are processes in companies that are so similar that they can be automated for many similar processes in one software. The idea was further developed by assuming that there is a best practice solution for many processes. In other words, best practices that achieve the best results. An ideal ERP software therefore has such best practice processes in its belly.

The approach of high standardisation, especially in the SME sector, is opposed to high Specialisation of the companies. The specialisation necessarily also presents itself in special or even unique processes. In many cases, it is precisely this difference that gives the company an advantage over its competitors.

Standard for specialists

..A standard software for mapping special processes...

The claim that has developed from this: A standard software for mapping special processes.

The ERP industry's answer to this apparent excessive demand is. Configuration, also known as Customization called. In other words, the ability to adapt the standard software to the specific needs of many different companies ? without creating a special application and losing the advantages of the standard. 
The complexity behind this task then also shapes the usability of the configuration. As a rule, specialists are needed for this.

The other solution to the diverse demands placed on a standard ERP is simply a lot of functions. How many functions are contained in a package can be seen in manuals and accompanying literature. They often fill several thousand pages.

The ERP consultants

As a rule, an ERP system is not software that you install and then start using. Normally, despite online help and a manual as thick as an Otto catalogue, a user is overwhelmed by this task. manual, a user is overwhelmed with this task. Here come the ERP consultant into the game. Experts who do and did nothing else but deal with an ERP package. Depending on the size and type of software, individuals focus on individual areas or/and modules.

The specialisation of individual consultants may depend not only on the level of knowledge of the functionality of the different modules. It always goes hand in hand with knowledge of the typical processes in companies. Since the typology of these (depending on the industry) varies greatly, a certain industry proximity is a certain closeness to the industry is often required of the consultant. Much is demanded and nothing that can be learned overnight.

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