WHEN TO RE-ENGINEER BUSINESS PROCESSES

KEEPING ERP PROJECTS UNDER CONTROL

The time to upgrade the ERP system is often a trigger for the business to take a fresh look at how things are done. There’s an obvious benefit to taking advantage of the moment, but the costs and effort involved can be a significant deterrent. 

This poses another dilemma: It’s a perfect opportunity for Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), but when is the best time to do it? Before selecting the new system? Before implementation? Or is during implementation better timing?

When you’re sitting across from implementation consultants looking to you for answers to how exactly you want the system to work, you can be sure they have not calculated much time for helping you figure that out in their cost estimates. Fine-tuning during the process is expected but redesigning it will cost you.

THE BPR DILEMMA

So, to BPR or not to BPR? Vendors will expect you to come to the table with a reasonably clear idea of your needs. Certainly, parts of the business will simply need the new system to replicate the old one. Other areas, however, will need a complete rethink. And then there will be other areas needing something in between.

One approach to solving this dilemma is to review all of your business processes and rank them by the level of change needed. Where little to no change is necessary, it’s fine to look at potential benefits during the design process. Greater levels of change may require anything from drafting easy ‘to-be’ process maps to radical overhauls. The benefit here is that you only need to undertake a full BPR exercise when it has obvious value.

LITMUS TEST BEFORE SELECTING A VENDOR

This does still leave the question of exactly when to perform a BPR exercise. Generally, it is better to conduct a BPR exercise in advance of ERP selection so that it may inform or, ideally, drive the selection of the new ERP system.

That can be tough to sell to the rest of the business, but the selection process may otherwise lay bare the unexpected scale of the project, as well as the lack of preparedness for it. The review-and-rank approach is a sensible option to help minimise cost, reduce risk and maximise the long-term benefits of the ERP investment.

And when you are ready for the selection phase, you can save time and cost by visiting the ERP HEADtoHEAD™ event.

Following nine successful editions in the UK and Ireland, we are bringing our ERP HEADtoHEAD™ to the Netherlands for the first time. This event offers a unique opportunity to meet, compare and experience leading ERP vendors and their products. So how about gaining knowledge on ERP systems that might otherwise take months of planning and meetings to achieve? This explains the success of the event, because it is all about one thing: efficiency!