Blog post

“The Not So Odd Couple: Experience and ERP” by Paul Saunders

By Deborah Wilson | June 07, 2019 | 0 Comments


For some, the idea that ‘experience’ and ‘ERP’ can be mentioned positively in the same sentence is a scintilla away from insanity.[i] However they are not as disparate as one might think. Just as Neil Simon’s Oscar Madison had a positive impact on fellow protagonist Felix Ungar, ERP can have a very positive impact on customer, brand, employee and product experience.

(For those who struggle to equate ERP with the messy, grumpy, loud, inflexible, stubborn and overbearing Madison you are in the minority)

The days of thinking in terms of front office and back office are gone, as are the days of “the business” and “IT.” Today everything is customer-facing. Up to now, most organizations have focused their ERP initiatives on delivering internal value rather than on customers or constituents. To be successful in 2019 and beyond this must change.

Ask yourself “what is it that differentiates your organization to your customer? How can you better support their wants and needs?”.

Think about the experience you may have had ordering something only to find out that it could not be delivered, or it was the wrong product or back-ordered. Your customers do not think in terms of front end and back end, and neither should you. In 2019 ERP is about delivering business value by being able to rapidly respond to, adjust and predict the needs of the customer before your competition. It is about thinking in terms of experience throughout the value chain. Decisions around vendors and deployment models are important but they are not your primary area of focus. Many organizations have selected top tier vendors and the same cloud delivery models as the world’s best companies, but have not delivered any value.

Not one extra customer will come to your door or one extra dollar appear on your top line because of your ERP delivery choice. It is what your organization does with those enterprise business capabilities that will drive customer value and experience, regardless of how they are technically delivered.

To be successful with ERP in 2019 and beyond requires:

  • A customer-first focus across the whole organization
  • A strategy-in rather than technology-out mindset
  • Strong organizational change leadership and CEO-led enterprise agile
  • Effective governance and principles
  • Integration as a core competency
  • A data quality mindset

Gartner’s 2019 Strategic Roadmap for Postmodern ERP provides a roadmap and plan of action that CIOs should take to prepare themselves and their organization for the successful delivery, adoption and value realization of ERP investments and the subsequent positive impact on experience.

[i] A ‘scintilla away from insanity’ was how Irving Vogel described his relationship with Mel Brooks (It’s Good to be the King: The Seriously Funny Life of Mel Brooks’ by James Robert Parish. The relationship between Vogel and Brooks is rumored to be the inspiration behind Neil Simon’s play ‘The Odd Couple’ (1965)

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