The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software industry has transformed a great deal over the past 5 years. Boutique software companies struggling to maintain their financial position have been acquired by larger vendors and many of these solutions lack a roadmap for future development now that they are part of a larger, more stable set of products. At the same time, the reseller community continuously attempts to adapt to broader, deeper, more technologically complex software solutions provided at lower end user price points than ever before. As a client, it is truly a great time to leverage technology by replacing your outdated or entry level accounting software, however, tread cautiously and carefully consider how you choose to implement your solution.
The App world has created an expectation of enterprise software that is nearly impossible to meet. While Apps generally address limited processes that can be executed relatively quickly, enterprise software automates thousands of processes, some of which require time and careful planning to perfect.
The technology community has developed several approaches to deal with these expectations, for example, “rapid” or “express” implementations. While these solutions may reduce your investment in professional services, they may not necessarily meet your expectations once you start using them.
A rapid implementation based on best practices, or out-of-the-box functionality, does not necessarily mean the software will process information the way your business does. It means that the software will function as it was designed to function by a software developer and configured based on how someone else thinks your business should run. If your business is very simple, (something I hear a lot but rarely occurs,) this is a reasonable model for you to consider. Add on any complexity in terms of business process or unique business requirements that support your competitive advantage, and your project will very likely fall into the category of ‘missed expectations.’
As you consider your implementation options and your partner, ensure you understand your key business challenges and requirements, and their impact on your business. These, not the cost of implementation, should drive the implementation approach that fits your company.
By: Jim Krahn, Partner, BDO Canada | Solutions