Easy ERP: A Challenge to Conventional Thinking
There has been much talk in the business press about the commoditization of enterprise software. Consolidation through merger and acquisition and the stronger position of buyers at the negotiation table are just two of the early indicators of the industry’s transition. As Geoffrey Moore described in his book, ‘Inside the Tornado’ We’re on Main Street now, the commodity phase where convenience and efficiency rule. It’s easy ERP. Gone are the days of the tech-centric pioneers. The illustration below represents the text book view of a technology life cycle with a graph that represents the transition point between the market’s technology-centric perspective of a product to a user-centric view.
From The Invisible Computer by DA Norman (1998)
How will this trend affect your next ERP purchase? It’s time to look at software from a completely new perspective and challenge conventional thinking.
The Pioneer's Perspective
To ground the discussion let’s start with a review of conventional thinking, the ERP visionary and early adopter view. A company’s first few enterprise software implementations were strategic initiatives focused on tangible benefits in cycle time reductions, inventory turns, asset utilization, and improved customer service. The selection process was focused on identifying the unique aspects of the company by defining the processes and the functional requirements of the business. Core technology (the operating system and database) and functionality (the requirements checklist) were the primary factors in selecting a system. Functional gaps were expected, so customization and integration were a standard part of the implementation process. Software prices were high, but could be justified based on gaining tangible hard dollar business benefits so the ROI was clear.
Once the deal was inked software companies would install an empty shell of a system or possibly the “bicycle” demo data...