Realising the true benefits from ERP systems is difficult due to increased demands for speed, agility and flexibility, according to a survey conducted by PA Consulting Group, which has been commented on in Computerworld. The survey found that the way ERP is used today is much more nuanced than 10 years ago, requiring an entirely new approach.
PA’s Torsten Jacobsen, ERP expert, explains that many companies expected a new wave of ERP re-implementations which never happened: “CIOs are using business intelligence and other tools to draw out data. In areas where ERP systems have become too inflexible, they have been replaced with new solutions […] The CIO needs to understand the application landscape, and how to model it so it meets the need for greater flexibility. It is not possible to be flexible within the ERP systems,” says Torsten.
Torsten stresses that flexibility is especially important within mobile solutions, sales, web shops, customer-oriented services and reporting tools, while stability – and thus classic ERP systems – are useful within finance systems, HR systems and basic supply chains.
In order to control the increasingly complicated application landscape, you need to have a solid architecture function, says Torsten: “You (the CIO) need to know what the company wants, in which areas it needs IT support, and how this IT support needs to be delivered.”
According to Torsten, attitudes have changed over recent years: “An IT organisation wants to be able to deliver one single set of systems to the company on a global scale. If one set of processes were sufficient, it would be beneficial from an economic perspective; however, that’s not the case.”