If you expect business software deployments and other major IT projects to be lengthy, complicated, and expensive, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some of the best modern software solutions do not require the costly, laborious customizations that used to be the norm. Statements made in a couple of Forrester cloud and software selection whitepapers align with our perspective in this area of technology.
Don’t customize if you can configure
In a recent meeting with a new client, we learned about the company’s analytics and business insight requirements. The IT team had scoped a way to create and deliver the hoped-for reporting capabilities in about four weeks. We showcased an alternative that would get it done in five minutes, which could easily be adjusted by a businessperson without assistance from IT.
What was the secret?
The solution we proposed allowed a high degree of configurability to satisfy the organization’s needs. A non-technical person with an understanding of the business and its processes could take all the right steps and test the results. Many hours of IT time could then be spent on tasks that require technical expertise.
Show results first in high-priority areas of the business
There’s nothing wrong with quick results that assure execs and employees that your technology implementation is poised for success. Lead with your most urgent priorities as well as any opportunities where you can achieve desirable outcomes with relatively simple steps. For instance, when you automate an important business process that currently happens manually, you may achieve an excellent impact without providing for all possible eventualities.
A solid case for the solution standard
A standards-based ERP or CRM implementation, based on your top priorities, is most likely to help you accomplish your objectives and drive the business to become more competitive and viable. To realize this, we will usually propose a low-risk approach that unfolds in several well-planned stages. You still end up with all the capabilities you dreamed of, but you also enjoy dependable, robust functionality that gives you 80% or more of what you need – soon after you start the project. Today’s ERP and CRM solutions from the leading vendors handle most requirements out-of-the-box, and our own offerings expand the standard in a manageable, predictable manner. We use robust integrations and proven best practices in moving your operation toward the goals you set.
Standardization also makes it more likely that your people will adopt the new software. Often, when customizations are extensive, user acceptance plummets because the tools become too complicated to work with. In addition, customizations tend to make solution updates and upgrades difficult and costly, and, as a result, some companies remain far too long on aging, highly customized versions of their software.
Strategic simplicity in the cloud
To help you move to the next level of your business, we draw on the transformational power of the cloud. As the recent Forrester cloud whitepaper points out, the cloud is one of the most positively disruptive technology trends in many years. Overcoming the rigidity of traditional ERP systems, the cloud simplifies integrations with intranet, extranet, and e-commerce resources, as well as fosters team and customer communications. If you want to access a new customer segment or build a new line of business, doing so is much easier in the cloud. When you need to make a strategic shift in your products and services, the flexibility and versatility of cloud ERP will support it more powerfully, with much less effort, than on-premise ERP.
Forrester guidance emphasizes that intelligence should be built in, not purchased separately
Many businesses invest too much in business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools from specialized vendors. The writers and analysts who contributed to 2016’s Forrester whitepaper on digital innovation make a strong case for BI that is part of the solution standard, not a separate track. When you work with us on an ERP project, we take full advantage of the advanced business intelligence capabilities that are built into Microsoft Dynamics 365 and comparable solutions. The powerful ERP systems available today help you handle the regular flow of business, and, with the right BI tools, you can even simplify and automate your management of potential disruptions and high-risk events that tend to draw all the attention. The Sikich business intelligence practice readies you to implement intelligent ERP and CRM that keep you in control when unforeseen events demand a timely response.
When we work for you, we draw on our industry knowledge and many years of past success in deploying ERP and CRM solutions for many different companies. We also get to know your company culture and specific operating requirements. Collaborating with your trusted Sikich team to deploy a software solution on a foundation that’s as stable and secure as the Microsoft Azure cloud is about as risk-free, simple, and predictable as a business technology project can be.
If that sounds attractive, we should talk today. Send me a note at email@example.com.
Lee’s article began as a discussion of two recent Forrester Research whitepapers which you can download and read: Digital Innovation Shapes the Future of Business Applications and The New Way to Choose Business Applications . We would love to hear your ideas and comments once you have read them.