Ann FryAnn Fry
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New ERP software or new baby, who knew that these decisions had so much in common?

Like most folks, my husband’s and my big discussion about whether to have a baby was fixated on selecting the ‘right’ time. I am sure you are familiar, but if you have not gone through this already, chances are you have seen at least one romantic-comedy movie with a Jennifer (Aniston, Lopez or Lawrence – just choose one) that portrays a similar situation in some drawn out affair where the baby always wins.

My intent for this blog was actually to discuss the reasons why companies need to select new ERP software, but my thought process brought me down this more humorous path which I thought was equally worth writing about. You see, most companies also try to predict the ‘right’ time for an ERP implementation. But really – is there one? There may be seasonality to consider, but waiting for the perfect time to implement an ERP, brings up the very same arguments used in discussing the right time to have a baby.

Need proof? Let’s investigate:

Argument 1: Can we afford it?
ERPvs.Baby
The most obvious of all, a new ERP implementation is expensive. Software, implementation services and additional internal resource hours all add up to big bucks in getting an ERP on track. Trying to focus on payback in terms of ROI help, but that large outlay of cash weighs heavily on executives’ minds.The most obvious of all, a new baby is expensive. Diapers, daycare and college funds all add up to big bucks in getting a child on track. Trying to focus on payback in terms of a tiny ‘mini-me’ conquering the world help, but that large outlay of cash weighs heavily on parents’ minds.
Argument 2: Do we have time to provide the dedicated attention it deserves?
ERPvs.Baby
Any significant business change requires effort. In particular, an ERP implementation needs special attention to ensure that a strong foundation is laid to get desired business process results. In this type of situation, it’s simple – you make the time or suffer the consequences. Any significant lifestyle change requires effort. In particular, a baby needs special attention to ensure that a strong foundation is laid to prevent your grown baby from living in your basement for the rest of your days. In this type of situation, it’s simple – you make the time or suffer the consequences.
Argument 3: Do we have a strong foundation to support this new addition?
ERPvs.Baby
Do we have the team, the industry stability, and the proper infrastructure in place to support this new ERP implementation? Even if everything is not 100%, the new ERP could provide immediate benefits that could improve or change the existing foundation for the better… even if we have to get through mountains of process diagrams to get there. Do we have the family, the career stability, the home to support this new baby? Even if everything is not 100%, the new baby could provide immediate benefits that could improve or change the existing foundation for the better… even if we have to get through mountains of diapers to get there.
Argument 4: Will this decision set back our other goals?
ERPvs.Baby
Maybe, but at the same time it may realign our future objectives to what is more important in our business. An ERP can add visibility to put business challenges and opportunities into perspective. Maybe, but at the same time it may realign our future objectives to what is more important in our lives. A baby can certainly put life into perspective.
Argument 5: Do we have the right team?
ERPvs.Baby
You know the saying, ‘it takes a village’. An ERP needs team support to get up and running. This means dedication and a whole lot of input from team members to map and adapt processes correctly and to ensure every avenue is covered. You know the saying, ‘it takes a village’. A baby needs the support of family and friends to get started in the big world. Now, unlike the ERP, I’m not sure a whole lot of input would be appreciated by new parents, but I am sure the support aspect would be welcomed.

And, babies make their own processes that we adapt to… regular 4am feedings, badly-timed diaper ‘events’, tracking that gassy time that generates the biggest smile etc., etc.

Argument 6: Can we support this long-term investment?
ERPvs.Baby
This is a long-term investment that will need to be nurtured for many years. Can we make it? Of course there will be ups and downs over the years, but overall who says their business can survive without their ERP? This is a long-term investment that will need to be nurtured for many years. Can we make it? Of course there will be ups and downs over the years, but overall who says they can live without their children?

This exercise puts perspective on the ‘right’ time to move forward with an ERP implementation. The longer you wait, the longer it takes to get to the good stuff, just like a baby. And with the ‘clock ticking’ on your business growth, the improvements in productivity, KPI tracking, and visibility that can be made through ERP implementation may just be what your business needs to forge ahead.

So the answer is, ‘no’. There is no ‘perfect’, ‘magic’, or ‘right’ time to begin an ERP software implementation project. You just need to focus on the outcome, and understand that there is a considerable amount of work involved to get there. Don’t procrastinate if you feel your business processes are suffering, the best solution is to ‘cut the cord’ and get your ERP implementation project started.

Now, stay tuned, as we reflect on the similarities between finding your mate and selecting your ERP services partner. Just kidding… or are we?

Continue to visit our blog for more information about Pronto Xi ERP Software and IBM Cognos Business Intelligence reporting. PSA ERP consultants contribute tips and articles to our Insight page to help empower Pronto Xi users in completion of their daily tasks.

About Ann Fry

As well as assisting with ERP implementation and business process mapping, Ann has been providing ERP software insight to field service, mining, distribution and manufacturing industries for over ten years.

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