Friday, July 13, 2012

Complexity in ERP Solutions

John C Maxwell, a well know author and friend to many, recently talked on one of his daily Minute-With-Maxwell video messages about the word Complexity.  In his daily messages he shares his thoughts about a word that someone has sent in.  John does not prepare or plan a response, the responses are candid.

When John talked about Complexity he made the point of how educators tend to make the simple more complex in their efforts to teach about whatever subject was being discussed.  In contrast John feels that people that are communicators make complex topics simpler.

The need for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution tends to start out as a simple thought. 

Something along the lines of “Hey, if we shipped the right product on time, the first time we tried, then we would have happier customers” or “It sure would be nice if our purchasing department really knew what was in the warehouse instead of guessing”, “Heck, it might even be nice if what the computer said was on the shelf was actually correct and we could find it”. 

Problems often occur when those thoughts get translated to other people.  Are we trying to educate others or communicate a simple thought?  When and where does the meaning get lost?  “There is a hole in that canteen, plug it to stop the leak or replace it with something new”.  Our ERP system or lack of one is having a negative impact on our bottom line.  Let us fix it or replace it.

Internally there ought to be a team approach to collect all those “gee-wiz” thoughts in one place.  Are there enough issues that warrant looking for a new solution?  What is the financial impact of these issues? 

This is where a trusted advisor can help. 

While you are concentrating on your business and your challenges, there are others that can look at what you are doing, recognize the obvious and not so obvious areas for improvement. 

Ever notice how doctors look at x-rays?  They toss them up on the light board (they study that move in medical school by the way), mumble to themselves and flip through them quickly.  You sit there thinking about all the time you invested to get the images taken and to get them and yourself to the doctor and what they may tell the doctor, and he does not seem all that impressed.  It is the doctor’s experience and focus about what he/she is looking for that allows that quick analysis.  He does not have to look at the whole image, he can narrow it down to where the pain is located.  He is a professional and does this all the time.  The doctor knows what to look for.  So does your trusted advisor.

There are several other key steps that we will talk about in more detail in future posts, but for now here are a few key steps many organizations take in evaluating new solutions:

1.       Hire a trusted advisor.

2.       Company self discovery mode.

3.       Assemble requirements.

4.       RFQ process to select five candidates.

5.       First pass selection to narrow the field to four candidates.

6.       Executive overviews from four candidates.

7.       Second pass selection to narrow the field to three candidates.

8.       Discovery process with three candidates

9.       Second look demonstrations with three candidates.

10.   Self analysis of solution fit and company culture.

11.   Selection of final solution provider with contracts.

12.   Implementation project plan including installation, conversion, training and testing, etc.

There are a lot of details to fill out your plan.  Not everyone's plan will look the same.  Some companies may need other steps.  The list above is not meant to be everything for everybody.  The point is that having a road map and a tour guide can make the process a little less stressful. 

Dolvin Consulting is a trusted advisor that works with their industry resources to identify and bring solutions to your challenges.   We care, so Contact us Today to see how we can help your business. 

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