Ray Wang from Constellation Research (http://www.constellationrg.com/) provides an excellent overview as to why Enterprise Software Sucks!
You may not have 44 minutes so just watch the first 4 minutes and you will see why ERP isn’t an appropriate tool to sustain your business. It is an important part of your business; much like the foundation of a building. But it is out of date in the areas of your business where workers, the transactions they perform and the value they deliver no longer align with what your company needs.
Ray solicits the audience to ask why they don’t like their ERP and gets many responses very quickly:
• information not accessible
• not user friendly
• long implementation
• old looking
• change is slow
• user experience takes a back seat
• not personal
These once virtuous applications, that every company must have or else they will fail, have become boat anchors around the competitive neck of your company.
Ray goes on to identify its strengths and weaknesses. As I said, it isn’t something you can throw away. Just don’t try to run your business through it anymore. Let it be the Scorekeeper. Here are Ray’s pros and cons of these systems.
• Automated transactions
• Functional competencies
• Standardized business processes
• Capturing massive amounts of data
• Ensuring accuracy
• Enforcing policy
• Addressing business complexity
• Crossing functional fiefdoms
• Dealing with new business models
• Providing business optimization and insight
• Improving flexibility
• Enabling innovation
I don’t agree that these systems do enough toward the transactions, processes or accuracy of your business to qualify as Strengths. Often the ‘fit’ of the pre-built transactions don’t accommodate your business…so you don’t use a specific component of these massive, complex applications. The processes are often less than efficient as screen after screen of data is flashed up only to have the worker bypass them to get to the part of the transaction they really need to address. And since the system has a bad process to begin with the accuracy isn’t as high as it should be because the transaction isn’t being performed at the point of activity (i.e. not in real time) or in a manner that allows the work to be tracked. These systems rely upon very large and very dark black holes of assumption and are often missing the key elements your business transactions needs to remain efficient, accurate and visible.
But the next segment of the presentation yields the most insight as to why, according to Ray and too which I fully concur, Enterprise Systems Suck. “Enterprises face massive and unprecedented levels of change.” Ray identifies the various Macro realities that demand businesses change or adapt. Pace of technology, workplace dynamics and shifting business models also have equal influence.
The unprecedented levels of change that Ray calls out are a reality…until next year when the level of change is a new ‘unprecedented’ level. Instead of explaining that things are just a little whacky right now we need to realize that things are whacky now and only going to get whackier in the days to come. You can ignore reality for a little while but eventually it will slap you in the face. At which time it might be too late to catch up.