Can your ERP Handle Business Change Smoothly?
Posted by Jessica Tatlow
When you make the investment in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the cost of implementation means that you want (it may not be too strong to say you need) it to last and evolve with you. Depending on what ERP solution you choose, implementation can involve a significant investment in terms of customization and time to implement, not to mention service disruption. With an average implementation cost of $825,000, as estimated by IDC (2013), you want your upfront investment to last and add value to your organization, not take up valuable time and cost for updates and customization throughout the ERP’s lifecycle.
When business process changes occur, as they often do in the increasingly complex business environment of services companies, your ERP needs to be able to keep up, not slow you down. A 2013 Mint Jutras survey found that the number of companies with business changes requiring monthly or weekly ERP updates increased 111%, from 30% in 2009 to 64% in 2013.
Unfortunately, many ERP systems aren’t able to provide this kind of ongoing flexibility and require a lot of work to make the necessary changes to accommodate change management. The updates that most systems focus on are technological changes such as changes in mobile and cloud architectures and integration. While the world has come to expect a high level of digital connectivity and increasing technological functionality, the bottom line depends on business capabilities and meeting the needs of the people using the technology.
At Unit4 we know that the only constant is change itself and we believe that business software should put people at the center, allowing businesses to focus on serving customers. This is especially the case for services organizations where people are at the heart of the business.
In the post-implementation stage of your ERP use, changes to business processes related to financial management, business processes, organizational restructuring, regulatory requirements, and mergers and acquisitions can mean going back to the drawing board to modify underlying architectures customized during implementation instead of making changes at the user interface level. Eval-Source has found that even moderate required modifications can cost companies upwards of 15% in revenue, market valuation, and customer satisfaction.
With the launch of Unit4’s global People Platform, which includes our expanded Elastic Foundation, our customers are able to configure underlying data models themselves, without having to staff expensive enterprise solution consultants. The People Platform underlies Unit4's business solutions and our wide range of industry-specific, integrated modules can be added to operate smoothly with one another and with other business software that you use every day. Multi-segment account structures and built-in Flexi-Fields are standard features in our solutions and give businesses the flexibility they need to determine and change business processes. In Eval-Source’s market comparison report that examines ERP vendors include Unit4's, our ERP architecture has been found to be the most responsive to customer business needs in terms of making changes via the user interface without IT professionals having to dig into the application’s code. Changes made at the graphical user interface (GUI) level are simple to make and update throughout the whole system. This gives end users the ability to make immediate changes, saving time and cost, as well as reducing disruption to customers. In fact, the total cost of ownership (TCO) is significantly decreased with Unit4 business solutions, due to the People Platform. According to Eval-Source’s 2014 Market Comparison Report, the cost of change implementation alone is reduced by 55%.
Choosing the right ERP for your business that is agile and strategically sound will minimize total cost of ownership (TCO) not only in the short term but in the long term with respect to the post-implementation agility required by businesses in flux (and whose business isn’t in a constant state of change?).
Stay tuned to read about how Cloud Your Way is another way Unit4 is bringing ERP into the new millennium.