You might have heard it before from a business leader, or maybe even said it yourself: “Why would we need help with implementing or updating our enterprise software?” After all, you know your own business inside and out why shouldn’t you and your own employees be able to carry out a completely successful software project designed for your goals and needs? Of course, confidence is never a bad thing when it comes to an implementation. However, the key is making sure your self-confidence is well founded by knowledge of your business processes and detailed goals for your software project. However, without the right tools and detailed, fine-tuned knowledge of both your business and the new software, your implementation strategy will be designed to fail certain. Here are just some of the reasons why you shouldn’t be so sure you can go it alone when it comes to enterprise software.
Every business that starts out on the road to implementing a new piece of software will get a demo from their top prospective vendors. In this demo, a vendor will provide a mock-up of a system filled with ostentatious and impressive reports and dashboards, probably created from a small sample of your company's data. It’s easy to get carried away with all of these pre-prepared demos and believe that everything will go just as smoothly as the vendors are showing you once the software is installed. The rough truth is that it simply won’t be so easy. Once you have made that venture and downloaded your pricy piece of software, this is what you’ll see.
A blank page how productive does that look? Without all of your company data successfully imported, the software simply won’t work the way the demo made it out to be. Do you know the most efficient way to import your data into new software? How will you work to prevent corruption or errors in that transfer? These are all considerations that need to be made. Vendors may take a sample of your information to churn out your demo, but in the end, it will be your business doing all the legwork when it comes to generating reports and dashboards in your actual ERP or CRM system. Are you sure you have a team that can enter your company’s data fully and accurately and implement enterprise software that will support every faction of your business?
Yes, companies within the same area of business (manufacturing, e-commerce, food service etc.) may carry out similar tasks; but it would be ridiculous to assume that all of those tasks are done exactly the same way in each business. Jobs such as buying, manufacturing or shipping are run by different people in very different ways in every company. You know what makes your company special and the details that you have honed over time to become successful in your industry. Of course, an enterprise software out of the box is not going to be attuned to all of your company’s processes, employees, and workflows. The vendors have put a large amount of work into crafting a demo that will make it seem like their software will be intuitive as soon as you sign on the dotted line, but the reality is very different. Do you have the manpower needed to map out all of your business processes and then translate those in the ERP configuration process? It won't just be an IT team taking on the burden of software implementation. Every single employee will need to work on documenting their day-to-day tasks and then prioritizing what will then need to be built into the new software.
This statement may seem shocking at first; surely all software should be intuitive and easy for customers to use? After all, all modern software is designed with the beginner in mind. Your grandmother can probably pick up a smartphone and figure out how to navigate and use the main apps in a day. Yet, as we’ve mentioned, there is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to enterprise software. Mobile apps are designed to do one task a set, specific way (i.e. to show you videos or encourage you to post social content,) but we know that there is no specific way to use enterprise systems because there is no one way people run and monitor their business and its data.
In fact, it’s a good thing that enterprise software is not intuitive as soon as you download it. Because it is designed to be flexible and aligned differently with unique business processes, it is inherently complex. Businesses as far ranging as car parts manufacturers to quality assurance companies use ERP: the basic system must be customized and furnished with data before it will have any value for each business. Without this, the empty software is useless, confusing and actually obstructing your data, discouraging your team from ever adopting the software. Without adoption within your company, you are throwing away the investment dollars you put into your enterprise software. Do you have someone on your team with the inherent knowledge of all of your business processes and the software they must structure to fit them? To create a system truly integrated with your company you must be confident that you really know all of the intricacies of every single department and process and can then see that complexity translated into your enterprise software. Of course, once you have imported your data and set up those dashboards properly, then that new software will become practically second nature!
Everyone wants a simple button that they can push that will magically complete every company task and solve solutions in one move. Many believe that an ERP system can perform this type of magic out of the box. The fact is that there is no such thing. You may want your ‘button’ to perform one task while another department wants something else out of it. Without total communication, your ‘magical’ solution ends up failing, costing your organization both time and money. However, when you successfully implement enterprise software and commit to filling that system with all of your processes and data, you will discover that an ERP can fully deliver on its promises to decrease your costs and increase revenue along with more benefits that you might not have even expected; including tighter integration and monitoring of every aspect of your business and the ability to drive further revenue with the data ERP software can generate.
Your software solution needs to bridge management and IT, to fully understand all of the technical requirements of your business and every desired outcome of your project. This kind of intelligence requires much more effort than just downloading a piece of enterprise software. Now, after all of this, are you really so sure you can do it all yourself?