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“What’s your best move?” by Tim Faith

by Debbie Wilson  |  May 3, 2019  |  Comments Off on “What’s your best move?” by Tim Faith

Over 20 years ago, I met a guy who ended up playing a more significant part in my life then I knew at the time.  I was just starting in the world of ERP and had participated in a couple of implementations/upgrades by that time.  I attended an internal conference for the first System Integrator partner with which I was employed.  One of the speakers was Max Carey.  He was a football player, Ivy League graduate, fighter pilot, entrepreneur, board member and all-around the most mavericky of mavericks I’d met to date.

He was the keynote speaker at the conference and opened with the line “What’s your best move?”  We ERP dorks had no idea what he was talking about, but we were hooked.  He told us stories of his early days of training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, flying off aircraft carriers, combat in Vietnam, and earning Top Gun certification.  Midway through the speech, he said that when fighter pilots were first introduced, the opening question was “What is your best move?”  They’d talk about a move or series of moves that either saved their lives, resulted in mission success or covered a teammate. He made an interesting point: If they had “a move” or “a combination” you knew they were for real.  If they had too many “best moves”, they didn’t have any best moves.

Surprisingly, I caught up with Max a few years later.  It turns out my brother-in-law married his daughter.  One of the first things I asked him was “What’s your best move?”   He was surprised that an IT geek would ask him such a thing.  We talked about how fighter jets evolved systematically, and then started talking about automated piloting and drones.  He said something very insightful, that the progress has moved from the pilot making the plane better to the plane making the pilot better.

I’ve thought about that often as I’ve progressed through my ERP career.  As a Gartner analyst, I have the privilege of engaging customers at various points of your ERP journey. It is possible that I’ve talked with those reading this.  That’s a cool thought!  Anyway, to the point…..your “best move”.  Customers need to establish to what extent their ERP makes them best.  An ERP strategy in and of itself is not the destination; it needs to amplify what your company is best at. ERP must enable your “best move”.  Now, that “best move” might be a single capability or a couple of capabilities for now.   But ERP should be neither destination or goal, the goal with ERP has to be to deliver capabilities to the business to be awesome at something.

This is what the next era of ERP will deliver.  Gartner has published a note anticipating what the next generation of ERP will be, and it is pretty exciting (ERP’s Emerging Fourth Era — Moving Beyond Postmodern ERP, Gartner subscription required).  It’s an enlightening read.  But an important point is that ERP is moving beyond planning and competencies and into delivering capabilities that enable your business to be more than what it is today.  Instead of you making your ERP better, your suite of business capabilities will make your organization better by presenting you all you need to know to make the best decisions.

So, I ask, “what’s your best move?”  Do you know what you and your organization are great at?

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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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