Gartner Blog Network

“My Customers Don’t Care About ERP So Why Should I?” By Paul Saunders

by Debbie Wilson  |  April 12, 2018  |  Comments Off on “My Customers Don’t Care About ERP So Why Should I?” By Paul Saunders

Paul SaundersOn Black Friday 2017, the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday, I was both excited and relieved to have identified a Christmas gift for my wife. My wife has the ability to buy just the perfect gift for each and every member of the family, whereas I have the ability to buy her a Blu-ray box set off-season 10 of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ from the gas station on Christmas Eve. This year however was going to be different: I had remembered a conversation we had several months prior when she had mentioned some household furnishings she wanted to purchase for herself but decided not to because it wasn’t something she really ‘needed’. I found what she wanted online, it was in stock, and best of all it was 50% off. I was so proud of myself.

The seller’s website was very professional and as soon as I place the order I received confirmation via email and text. And that is all I heard from them for the next two weeks. As the holidays approached my emails and phone calls to the seller became more and more frantic. I finally received an email stating that due to problems with their supplier and the overwhelming demand from the Black Friday sale, my order would not arrive in time for the holidays. I took my blood pressure medication and bought my wife an alternative gift.

As an ERP analyst I can hypothesize as to the problems this company had: lack of resiliency in their supply chain; Poor forecasting; inaccurate or non-existent Available-To-Promise capabilities; weak integration between their e-commerce and the ERP solutions and so on.

As a customer however I don’t care about any of that. What I do care about was having the product that I purchased delivered by the date promised. And that requires all systems and processes to work together to deliver a business outcome to the customer.

Customers don’t care about front office and back office systems, nor do they care about vendors, technologies, versions or platforms. Nor should they. But you must.

You must focus on the customer, their expectations and how they consume your services, not how you are set up to deliver them.

Postmodern ERP isn’t it about replacing one piece of technology with the new one, it is about changing your entire approach from technology out to business outcome and customer journey in.

And the replacement gift that I bought from my wife?

A tent.

That is correct, instead of a lovely well thought out gift I gave to her the gift of an uncomfortable night’s sleep and Scottish weather. Season 11 of The Big Bang Theory wasn’t available.


Deborah R Wilson
Managing Vice President, ERP Strategy Team
12 years at Gartner
20 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a recovering Gartner research analyst, leads the Gartner ERP strategy research team. Read Full Bio

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.