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“Agile ERP?  Agile ERP!” by Tim Faith

by Debbie Wilson  |  October 26, 2018  |  Comments Off on “Agile ERP?  Agile ERP!” by Tim Faith

There’s an interesting phenomena I’ve noticed within the ERP world over the past few years.  There’s this idea of agility within Enterprise Applications, and more specifically ERP.  It started from a general idea of “business agility”.  Indeed, if ERP had all the data, then there must be some way to get data out of it.  And if we can get data out of it, it can be munged in such a way as to make sense of it.  And if it can be munged in a sensible way, then we can use it to make some good decisions out of it.  Eventually.agile

Moore’s Law has gotten us to the point where “eventually” has become “now”.  The current generation of ERP software are built with In-Memory Computing so that batch cycling has become increasingly rare.  So where does that put us?  It places us in that opportunistic space where businesses can apply agility to business decisions.  But where does that put the ERP teams?  Can we make ERP agile?

Past experience as an ERP Dork and present research have shown that the answer is a resounding “YES!”  I’m finding that clearly defined Agile practices and frameworks can be applied to ERP implementations and ERP support.  Agile practices such as Scrum, XP, Automated Testing, Continuous Delivery, Sprints, Lean, Scrum of Scrums and many others are being applied to ERP, and adoption of true Agile methodologies is increasing.   It’s pretty exciting to share that with clients who ask, “Can we do Agile with our ERP?”

Then comes the next question, “Where do we start?”   Some of you reading are already well along on the Agile journey with your ERP.  Some have taken the first few steps.  Many more are about to dip their toes in the water before they jump in.  To all of you reading, I can say that some research colleagues and I will soon publish research on applying Agile to ERP.  I’ll whet your appetite with the #1 recommendation on starting down the Agile path:

  1. Expect and commit to culture change. To really make an impact, it is almost inevitable that you’ll need an outside voice of experience to come in to tell you and your business partners how this will work.

My research colleagues and I have found many more recommendations for applying Agile to ERP, but that is by far the top one.  Agile is not something that you can do for a few sprints or a month.  Agile is not a series of shortcuts.  Agile is a commitment to doing a lot of little things with high quality and repeatability that add up to a lot of big great things.


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

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