What This Article Covers
- What is ECS?
- What are Symptoms of ECS?
- How to Manage ECS
This was going to be a very different article than the type I ordinarily write. Today I want to talk about a serious topic. You see there is a silent disease-oriented around enterprise software decision making that goes undiscussed within companies.
The following shocking statistics apply to this disease.
- A recent study showed that executive decision makers at 4 out of 5 companies suffer from this mental affliction.
- Employees that use systems where executives have this affliction are eight times more likely to report that, for planning and analysis, the applications they use to get their work done.
“…yea then at that point I have to export it to a spreadsheet…”
“…wait, and then after I download that, then I have to manually make the assignments, and then I…”
At this point, you have probably guessed that I am referring of course to the dreaded ERP-Centric Strategy.
ECS is a disease that affects the mind and its only observable through the subject’s statements, the propensity to overpay consulting companies for customization work, an obsessive use of Excel, and of course by the devastating effects on industrial productivity.
ECS is at epidemic proportions within companies, with many people hiding their symptoms from friends and family for years.
ECS sufferers can often be found looking out windows, saying things like.
“I just want to get more out of our ERP system.”
“I know that the ERP system can do it, we just need a little customization. How about just a little code!”
“How hard can it be to create a forecast with our ERP system? The brochure said that it does forecasting right? I mean I thought I remember it said that it did…”
What is at the Heart of ECS?
Clinically, ECS is a form of wishful thinking combined with an oversimplification of how requirements must be met by software. The most foundational underpinnings of ECS are a fundamentally irrational belief in the following ideas.
The ERP system should be emphasized above all other systems because “it’s the biggest.”
The ERP system the system of record for all data.
ERP functionality is used — even when it is weak in a particular area.
Integration should be avoided.
The History of Mistaken Centric Thinking
ECS has many historical precedents. For the longest time, the Earth was considered the center of the known universe. Galileo created a huge stir when he said.
“…No, the Sun is actually the center.”
Telling people that what they think is the center isn’t is a dangerous business. Galileo was almost killed by the Roman Inquisition in 1633 for this observation.
It was later found that Pope Paul V suffered from Earth Centric (EC), which is an early precursor to what we now call ECS. What this shows is mistakenly thinking that things that are the center that isn’t, goes back nearly 400 hundred years.(1)
The Effects of ECS
ECS is continuing to affect management and executive decision makers, and it has the following symptoms:
- Thinking that the very limited functionality in ERP systems can meet all the company’s requirements.
- Consistently approving new requests for enhancing ERP to build common, high maintenance functionality, that should be fulfilled with applications outside of ERP.
- Repeating statements from the 1980s made by ERP sales people.
Those suffering from ECS don’t know that the idea that ERP could meet all or almost all requirements was never true. It simply started out as something that ERP vendor marketing departments made up; that was then promoted to executive decision makers by account executives.
These same ERP vendors who promoted ECS thinking soon abandoned the idea when ERP vendors started to buy other systems that they could also sell. However, those who suffer from ECS never got the memo.
Is There a Cure for ECS?
Fortunately yes, as bleak as ERP-Centric Strategy can seem, there is a cure. However, it’s not in the form of a pill. Executive decision makers can recover from ECS there is not anywhere you can go for treatment. There is no Betty Ford Clinic for ECS….not yet anyway.
ECS can be beaten, but important realities must be acknowledged to put someone on the road to recovery. Some of these are listed below.
- The Big Tent Concept: ERP is simply a large footprint application that provides some functionality areas under one “roof.” It always needs other systems to do work in specific areas.
- Getting Real on Spreadsheets and Customization: Spreadsheets and customization are performed when the ERP system cannot meet the business requirements. If customization is written, then the application is not meeting the demand, and one is at that point on par with using an external application.
- Refocusing on the Objective of Enterprise Software Purchases: The objective to get business value out of the purchased solutions, and these means that applications must compete with one another by this concept.
Offering a Helping Hand for the Afflicted
I have studied ECS for a long time now and having seen the effects up close and personal. At first, I used just to scratch my head, but now I see it’s a real medical condition.
While not a physician, I have still successfully shown CIOs in companies that they can use point solutions to enhance their enterprise software categories, and that they don’t have to feel shameful about not “getting more out of the ERP system.”
I also have a book titled The Real Story Behind ERP: Separating Fact from Fiction. This book can help stop ECS in its tracks, and it explains the entire history of ERP marketing, and then what happened in reality, and paradoxically how no one who said all the things that were used to sell ERP felt guilty afterward.
If you know someone who has ECS, send this book to them. I know that together we can beat this disease.
Brightwork Explorer for ERP Parameters
How to Tune ERP Systems
ERP applications require MRP parameters to be optimized externally to the ERP system. Having analyzed many ERP systems, we developed the Brightwork MRP & S&OP Explorer. It is free to access until it sees “serious usage” and is free for students and academics. Click the image to find out more.
The Real Story on ERP
How This Book is Structured
This book combines a meta-analysis of all of the academic research on the benefits of ERP, coupled with on project experience.
ERP has had a remarkable impact on most companies that implemented it. Unplanned expenses for customization, failed implementations, integration, and applications to meet the business requirements that ERP could not–have added up to a higher Total Cost of Ownership for ERP were all unexpected, and account control, on the part of ERP vendors — is now a significant issue affecting IT performance.
Break the Bank for ERP?
Many companies that have broken the bank to implement ERP projects have seen their KPIs go down— but the question is why this is the case. Major consulting companies are some of the largest promoters of ERP systems, but given the massive profits they make on ERP implementations — can they be trusted to provide the real story on ERP? Probably not, however, written by the Managing Editor of SCM Focus, Shaun Snapp — an author with many years of experience with ERP system. A supply chain software expert and well known for providing authentic information on the topics he covers, you can trust this book to provide all the detail that no consulting firm will.
By reading this book you will:
- Examine the high failure rates of ERP implementations.
- Demystify the convincing arguments ERP vendors use to sell ERP.
- See how ERP vendors take control of client accounts with ERP.
- Understand why single-instance ERP is not typically feasible.
- Calculate the total cost of ownership and return on investment for your ERP implementation.
- Understand the alternatives to ERP.
- Chapter 1: Introduction to ERP Software
- Chapter 2: The History of ERP
- Chapter 3: Logical Fallacies and the Logics Used to Sell ERP
- Chapter 4: The Best Practice Logic for ERP
- Chapter 5: The Integration Benefits Logic for ERP
- Chapter 6: Analyzing The Logic Used to Sell ERP
- Chapter 7: The High TCO and Low ROI of ERP
- Chapter 8: ERP and the Problem with Institutional Decision Making
- Chapter 9: How ERP Creates Redundant Systems
- Chapter 10: How ERP Distracts Companies from Implementing Better Functionality
- Chapter 11: Alternatives to ERP or Adjusting the Current ERP System
- Chapter 12: Conclusion
1. Threatening to torture and kill Galileo is as one imagines for something he was right about is very embarrassing for the Vatican, yet there was someone, a Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, who actually choose to take the name Pope Paul the VI.
This was in 1963 mind you. Now you can choose any name you want as the new Pope. However, one has to ask, what was the mentality of the guy who wanted to be the 6th Pope Paul?