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“ERP and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Tim Faith

by Debbie Wilson  |  March 1, 2019  |  Comments Off on “ERP and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Tim Faith

*This is a very close approximation of my motorcycle, before a deer tried to play chicken with me.

I miss my motorcycle. Its’ been 12 years since I last piloted a motorcycle.  Would love to do it now, but a crash, nerve damage from injuries and family duties all conspire against me.  Sometimes, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was attaching a new carbon fiber windscreen, gearing up in full gear, flipping down the shield on the helmet and punching the ignition to head off to the mountains.  I’ve had pretty much every type of car available (sports car, convertible, pickup truck, family sedan, minivan, passenger van… I missing anything?) and there is nothing like being on a motorcycle. It’s a full body workout, a sensory feast, a brain exercise and a pure joy, all in one.  There are no bad rides on a motorcycle.

What does this have to do with ERP?  Well, for one, neither an ERP nor a motorcycle is ever really “done”.  There’s always some sort of maintenance, tuneup, part replacement, bulb replacement or even a new shiny bit to throw on there. You can tune the ride for high speed, exceptional handling, comfort, economy, or a happy medium of all of those.  (I felt like a real geek when I started to tune my suspension and dial in settings depending on whether I was riding in to work or with my wife and friends in the mountains).   You can see similar cars out on the highway all of the time, but somehow, some way you don’t see identical delivered-from-dealer-stock motorcycles all that often.  To tell the truth, I don’t know any rider that hasn’t done something to customize something on their ride, often to achieve the goal of making it suit their needs (i.e. look cool, be cool).  When I first got my motorcycle, I was afraid to do too much.  What if I broke it?  What if it doesn’t work right?  What if I do some catastrophic thing to it and mess up tuning and timing?  As I got smarter and better, I got more familiar with MY bike.  I’d do the maintenance instead of taking it to the shop.  I’d change belts, replace oil, put a higher performance exhaust, run the tuning software.  I’d experiment with regular unleaded vs. premium unleaded vs. 100% no ethanol gas.  I’d adjust suspension settings per ride.  I had to learn that 2 cylinder engines had differing power and torque characteristics from 4 cylinder engines, and how each affected tire life and brake rotors.  On occasion, there’d be a weird thing that was beyond mortal ken and only an authorized dealer could figure out, but those occasions became increasingly rare. I even joined kind of a riding club, which made me feel awesome.  Somehow, I’ve never been invited to join a minivan riding club.  On my motorcycle, even while travelling on local streets always at or below the posted speed limits, I know what I and my bike were capable of, and I knew I could adapt to 98% of situations if I stayed aware.

So, what’s the point?  Cars and motorcycles have many similar systems for accomplishing a goal.  Both have engine systems, braking systems, cooling systems, steering systems, safety systems, fuel systems, acceleration systems, etc.  The experiences are totally different.  High performing, well maintained, custom tuned motorcycles and ERP both have some edginess and risk that need to be managed properly to maximize the goal of an awesome experience and outcome.  ERP has many features, functions and even systems that have to work together to get the job done, but the way they are configured, tuned and applied can deliver totally different experiences from one customer to the next.  Many ERP customers still think of ERP as your basic means of transportation (a basic family sedan, if you will) that will safely get you from Point A to Point B every time, and you’ll often not think about anything happening between the 2 points.  On a motorcycle, you are aware, acting and responding to everything around you, even if you abandon Point B and decide to go through Points C through G.  Think of your ERP as a motorcycle: responsive, agile, memorable, yours.

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Category: applications  erp  

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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