As companies are looking to build the flexibility and agility into their operations that Postmodern ERP and Enterprise Business Capabilities (EBC) has talked about for years, there is an interesting dynamic taking place.
Business boundaries are blurring; the distinctions between who is an ERP company, a service provider, a hyperscaler, a systems integrator is harder to determine.
The ERP orchestra is made up of all of these pieces and even though some instruments and musicians will change over time, the orchestra must adapt to play any piece of music with a sound that is melodic, harmonious and powerful.
All vendors and providers want, and need, to be an important part of their customers’ orchestras.
Many vendors are realizing that the customer’s ecosystem (the orchestra) is more important than their product alone (a single instrument). They are shifting to a co-enablement strategy from a defensive one. However there remain some who insist on trying to own the entirety of the stack, trying to lock in customers through licensing and proprietary technology, rather than by being a critical, valued and trusted partner. They want to play in the customer’s orchestra but dictate the music, the tempo and the arrangement. They are the brass section that wants to play during the piano solo.
ERP vendors, system integrators, ISVs etc. – you are so critical right now for your customers. You must focus on the customer first, then your partnerships, then your company. In that order. The days of being My company-centric instead of My customer-centric are over. Be the certainty that your customers need right now. If you are the first chair violinist work hard to keep your place but understand that you are but one of a larger orchestra.
ERP customers – select and partner with those companies that have your, and your customers, best interests at heart. If you expect your vendors to change the relationship with you, you must also change the relationship with them. It is your eco-system, not theirs. You decide who gets to participate, but you must change your mindset and practices too. Transactional vendor relationships don’t provide the outcomes you will need. You are the conductor of the orchestra; you don’t get the best results by continually beating the first chair violinist or by telling the cello to play Shostakovich while the piano plays Stockhausen.
The ERP orchestra is dynamic. It adapts and responds to the needs of the listener. The instruments change, the composers change, the musicians change, but the orchestra focuses on the music and the listener’s experience.