Last month Gartner held its annual Symposium/ITxpo event in Orlando. It was a fantastic gathering and I would recommend all readers attend it next year or another ITxpo at one of the 8 other locations around the globe. One of the key concepts shared was the ContinuousNext approach to driving digital transformation. Change is constant and faster than ever in today’s business environment. Leaders must continuously improve their organization through dynamism by embracing that change and leveraging new technologies the right way to generate competitive advantage. This high level concept can be applied across all of IT by CIOs. Since this is an ERP blog, it makes sense to break ContinuousNext down in a Postmodern ERP context for Application Leaders.
There are 5 imperatives for implementing ContinuousNext in ERP:
- Privacy – A rapidly increasing concern for consumers around the globe in the last few years is Privacy. This is seen in legislation and high profile media stories where data breaches have occurred. In ERP, leaders must ensure data can only be accessed by the right internal stakeholders. Segregation of duties and security roles must be properly modeled. HCM functions must follow data residency requirements depending on local regulations.
- Augmented Intelligence – This next step in A.I. places workers alongside the systems to amplify their productivity. In ERP, leaders should leverage this technology for simple tasks that can be automated and spaces where large data can create insights. This is seen in expense reporting and receivables that use A.I. to view images of documents and automatically enter that data in the ERP system. The worker can help train the system or work in conjunction by handling only those images that cannot be processed. A.I. can also work with users to evaluate quality data to see which manufacturing machines may need maintenance based on defects over time.
- Culture – One of the biggest impediments to change is culture. Many orgs and people have a fear of change. In ERP, leaders must help shift the mindset to one that embraces change to drive more and more innovation. This opportunity is seen in ERP platforms which are now delivering new updates and releases on a frequent basis. IT and users must move away from legacy ERP culture of doing one major upgrade every few years to moderate upgrades every few months.
- Product Management – The product management approach is a shift away from projects that have a defined start and end date. Products are ongoing deliverables that must be managed continuously. In ERP, leaders must embrace agile methods and design thinking approaches to deliver value not just at go live, but over time in an iterative nature with the user as a focal point.
- Digital Twin – For real world items such as a manufacturing machine, there is a digital twin that represents the status and associated data for that object. In ERP, leaders must leverage internet of things technology to gain insights such as the efficiency of your plant floor and the status of the workplace through health and safety mechanisms.
Effectively executing on these 5 imperatives in an ERP context will put you on a path to delivering your ContinuousNext approach.