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Simplifying cloud ERP transformation

Insight for business leaders in this independent report from Panorama Consulting Group on how to choose an ERP system and how to simplify your transformation process.

Panorama Consulting Group is one of the world’s leading independent ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) consultants and business transformation experts. Today, we’re taking a look at their latest Government ERP Systems Report. An ERP system is the technological backbone that must integrate seamlessly into all parts of local government business. It allows the integration of back-office activities for asset management, integrated financials, financial planning and analysis, procurement, project management, HR and payroll, and analytics.

One of the key drivers for using an ERP system is to create a platform for moving data from several legacy standalone systems onto one integrated solution that will allow every department to store and retrieve information from one point of truth. This enables local government organizations to become more efficient and effective with day-to-day processes and ultimately provide an improved service to citizens.

In their report, Panorama Consulting Group outlined the top 10 ERP systems to consider, along with selection and implementation advice. 

What Panorama Consulting Group says about Unit4

Unit4 offers an integrated ERP suite built upon the Microsoft Azure platform. The public-cloud, intelligent ERP solution is designed for mid-sized public sector and local government organizations across the world.

  • Includes integrated financials, financial planning and analysis, procurement, project management, HR and payroll, and analytics.
  • Provides a low/no code environment that can extend to connect to partner and third-party solutions.
  • Includes a natural language digital assistant to assist with task completion.
  • Features mobile accessibility with the ability to build mini applications.
  • Includes public sector specific functionality, including configuration options that are predefined and supported by standardized templates and migration tools.
  • Includes prepackaged integrations with common third-party apps to deliver cross application workflows, including machine learning automation.
  • Provides public sector specific analytics and reporting with real time insights to support statutory requirements.

How to transform your operating model

Cloud transformation in a public-sector organization requires its IT team to change its operating model and acquire a new level of maturity. IT teams are usually organized by either technology towers (for example, a compute team, a storage team, and a network team) or according to a plan-build-run construct. Both approaches require ticket-driven workflows and handoffs among several groups on the technology teams.

Successful cloud transformation requires the IT team to be more integrated with the organization and to operate in an agile way. Many local government organizations have found success by adapting their performance-management system to a system based on objectives and key results. This approach helps the organization align on and set clear priorities and establish a rhythm for achieving its objectives. Economic pressures caused by the pandemic, such as anticipated reductions in government budgets, only underscore how such a performance-management system can better ensure that capital on technology projects is prioritized correctly.

Organizations may also need to consider taking a different approach to talent management to scale the cloud. Few public-sector employees are conversant in cloud technologies, and training takes time and sustained investment. By determining resource and skill needs up front, you can align talent strategy with an implementation road map. Talent strategy is often a mix of upskilling select internal people, hiring new employees, and augmenting the workforce with contractors who, over time, could train and upskill internal employees. Some public-sector organizations have been able to forge bold solutions, such as public-private partnerships, to bring in the talent for short implementation bursts while also using an upskilling program to build their own capabilities for the long run.

How to conduct your selection process

1. Specify Your Goals

Setting goals is an essential first step for just about any project, but it’s especially important when it comes to choosing the right ERP solution. For local government organizations, your goals might include:

  • Improving the experience of those your serve.
  • Making data more easily accessible to internal users in order to provide a better way to analyze and report/present data to constituents and entities who offer support.
  • Improving internal processes with new technology, including mobile access.

The best ERP solution will achieve these goals while simultaneously improving efficiency and saving money. It’s imperative to prioritize and establish clear goals, so you have a benchmark for comparing ERP systems.

2. Get Executive Buy-in First

It is essential to present a business case that addresses executive’s needs. An excellent way to gain executive buy-in for an ERP solution is to emphasize the numerous processes it can manage. One of the most beneficial aspects of automation is the elimination of manual data entry. This drastically decreases the chance of errors, duplication, and mistakes. Automation also gives employees the ability to let the ERP system take over mundane tasks and focus on more relevant areas of the business. And because the data produced integrates in real-time with other ERP software modules, an ERP system makes it possible for management to obtain up-to-the-minute “snapshots” of operations to facilitate new operational efficiencies as well as better decision making.

3. Look to The Future

There are many reasons and challenges that support the use of an integrated ERP system – such as outdated legacy systems, security concerns, human error, and tightening budgets – but rather than focusing on the current challenges, it is also important to look forward to your organization’s future needs. Once long-term goals are defined, you will be better able to determine how the future of your organization will look and how ERP needs may change.

4. Prepare for Change

Public sector employees are often hesitant to adopt new technologies or processes. Change is difficult. People tend to resist change. Applying technology change management principles can help overcome this tendency. A team effort is required to spark interest in and adoption of new technologies across your organization. When envisioning your organization’s change management approach, start by considering factors that may inhibit or even prohibit change. Common factors that get in the way are organizational culture, complacency, bureaucracy, and a sense of futility. Identifying change-inhibiting factors you are likely to encounter is a critical part of building your strategy. An organizational culture that is structured into segmented silos will inhibit the collaboration needed to effect change. You will need to develop key value statements to overcome or marginalize each factor as you work to bring about the change.

5. Decide on Contract Type

The cost of an ERP system doesn’t pertain to just the system itself; it also includes the total cost of ownership (TCO), training, management, and everything else that comes with the installation of new software. While a fixed price may seem straightforward to understand as you know you are paying a set amount, many organizations don’t accurately assess their team’s availability or skillset. Some may lack the skills and experience to complete duties at first. A variable contract that charges based on time and deliverables may be a better option, so do some homework.

What does the future hold?

As public sector organizations look for new ways to streamline workflows and processes to reduce costs and become more efficient, the need for a modern solution becomes paramount. Organizations that fail to modernize will quickly fall behind the competition as new solutions boost their competitor’s innovation and agility.

How Unit4 can help your organization

Unit4’s next-generation smart ERP software solutions are built for people in the business of helping people. With us, you can ‘Experience Real Purpose’ with an adaptable solution that’s right for you, now and in the future.

Check out the Unit4 People Experience Suite and read the full Panorama Consulting Group report here.

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