So, what does this all this talk about the modern business applications mean? Does it mean business apps still post GL journal entries? Sure it does. Does it mean business apps can provide customers with information on when their order shipped and when they can expect delivery, of course! The fundamentals of ERP and CRM were not cast aside. We still have MRP, we have Work Breakdown structures for managing project management, and we have costing. For the high-tech manufacturer we have great support for complex lot/serialized traceability and inheritance, supplier performance management, supply chain integration with real time WIP visibility, and of course revenue recognition, which is generally pretty important for the industry. And of course, the standard apps extend into warranty management and field service repair.
The Microsoft Dynamics product lines directly address the kinds of visibility needs, flexibility demands, and complexity requirements of many of the high-tech supply chains. Things like managing outsourced manufacturing partners, handling the various consignment relationships, etc.
But what has really changed today, is that more than ever, we view these business modern applications as the tools, the means to an end, the glue that infuses data and intelligence into the business processes.
So with that I want to finish on the subject of delivery. This digital feedback loop, these business applications, they are still not plug and play. We’re unlikely to ever be at the place where you can wave a magic wand and have everything work perfectly. They’re not like excel for example, where you pay for your subscription then you’re up and running. The implementation process still exists. But the skills you will need to seek out to deploy have shifted.
First and foremost, you will need to work with a partner that understands this shift in design approach. That understanding proves valuable as you map out the role these modern apps will play in an overall organizational transformation. Partners like Sikich for example, need to demonstrate a good grasp of the underlying foundation, the tools available, the interdependencies, and the integration layers.
Today we look at business apps as the foundation, a baseline. Even analysts Gartner tell us that this postmodern ERP is key to an overall digital strategy. Even as you build out your own customer facing solutions, the ones that might drive revenue, or competitive advantage around service, it is really critical to understand that if your back office is still sitting pre-2016 or so, if it is still on-premise, at some point you will have to modernize. And simply put, the more you’ve build around it, the larger the project to replace it.
State of Software Deployments
So deployments. What has changed, what is new in best practices? What is the business apps community doing to modernize its services, reduce the risk and position themselves better to create value for you from your investments.
I think the main difference we’ve seen is that vendors, like Sikich, are coalescing around core industry competencies. We’ve found that the more we understand our clients’ business, the better we are at anticipating their requirements and addressing their needs. The better we are, the smoother the implementation process, the less the risk.
A thorough understanding of industry is one of the most important offers we can bring to your project. The other thing we can bring is any intellectual property we have created to speed the process of deployment and deliver value, sooner.
The app builders like Microsoft have worked very hard to create for us an integrated repository so that we can land our templates, our best practice workflows, our training material, our user testing scripts into a common and accessible hub. With Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 F&O product for example, we have Life Cycle Services. This incredibly powerful tool acts as this shared repository, provides us a way to store and deploy our pre-configured settings, or sample data and our business process models.
At Sikich, we’re using our HeadStart program to bring these new services to market. HeadStart is a collection of processes, tools, templates, configurations and software applications that elevate the process with a solution that is built for a particular industry. The industry pack includes core applications including partner products and is designed to put the solution into the hands of those using it a very short amount of time. Interested in our HeadStart program? Contact us with any questions!