Deciding on an ERP system is a bit like buying your dream home. On paper, it’s all about the checklist: detached, garage, open plan layout, master en-suite. But in reality, decisions aren’t made on a checklist of logical reasons to buy or not to buy. At the end of the day, it often comes down to that elusive “feeling.”
We recognise that. The checklist is all good and well – price point, speed of implementation, time to ROI, level of innovation, intuitive UX. But with so much resting on how well a company leverages technology, it is no surprise that many feel risk averse; but at what point does staying with the status quo present the greater risk?
For many companies, the ERP system is the core backbone of the company. Time, effort and no modest budget has been invested in a system upon which the whole company relies on to function. Change feels like a risk. Time and effort of migration is only part of the concern. What if the new system doesn’t live up to its promise? You don’t want to be the latest headline about a write down or additional charge in the earnings report.
But we live in dynamic times. Volatile markets and new competitors are pushing aside established companies faster now than ever. We celebrate new companies joining the FTSE. There are a finite number of companies on these listings. With every new one added, an established player that didn’t move with the times is being taken off the list.
These companies are often ones who papered over the cracks. They may have made some changes but were they fast enough to introduce a new product; to provide a seamless omni-channel customer experience; or take advantage of the radical transformation new technology can bring?
Legacy might be the reason but it is not an excuse. Companies can often see and agree what they need to do. They are, however, hamstrung by an internal infrastructure that is complex, slow to change and difficult to integrate. The old system suddenly becomes the liability it has threatened to be for some time.
The decision to move toward a cloud based ERP system, and in fact an integrated set of cloud applications, no longer requires a leap of faith. It is not about having the confidence to take a risk. It would be more risk to stay on the current platform, or to stick with a vendor that is suggesting a costly complex migration.
Time to look at what is in the market. The cloud applications landscape has transformed and now provides mature enterprise grade solutions.
Maturity means built together to work together. Not a collection of acquired software built on different architectures. This becomes central in the work across an organisation. The ability to incorporate HR, supply chain and customer experience management capabilities having one consistent data structure across every application is becoming central to how companies look at their back office. At Oracle, we partner with our customers for successful outcomes – building applications based on customer input and usage patterns, not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Such an integrated framework breaks down silos and improves user engagement and performance, giving equal access to business users across the organisation. More importantly it helps improve the ability of different data to be used to give real-time insight into what is happening with the company and, crucially, among customers.
Great, but that might only get a company onto a level playing field with its new competitors. To move ahead of them, it is necessary to look at the technology grabbing the headlines as the engine for growth.
Those companies that are taking this leap of logic can stay ahead of all the expectations thrown their way. They are building organisations that are ready and willing to embrace sudden change and the potential of the future, and they can drive innovation within their own business and collaboration across departments.
Despite the initial idea that sticking with the same supplier is the logical decision, it is possible that this is a feeling preventing the choice of innovation over laggard features and using emotion over logic.
Changing your ERP system, like buying a new house, will never be a no-brainer – you just need to choose which side of the brain you want to follow.
Arun Khehar is senior vice president – Business Applications, Middle East, Africa and India at Oracle