Insanity and ERP Transformation

Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result has become a popular topic of conversation in the business world. Executives take great pains not to achieve this status. Yet there is a problem: it still happens all the time and certainly in the scope of ERP and Business Transformation.

It shouldn’t, right? Your executives are smart, hard-working people. But at its core, insanity is sneaky. It feeds into a core human behavior: the resistance to change.

Imagine this scenario. You know your company needs an updated ERP system for a plethora of reasons. But you delay for just as many reasons. You decide to stay with what you have for just another year. You keep fighting the same battles and justifying that it is still less risky or costly than going with a new system.

Every time you make this decision you probably experience two things. First, a flood of relief that you can take it off your plate right now. Second, a nagging voice that tells you the need for this change is only going to increase. Sound a little familiar?

One year will bleed into two or three, but at some point, the time finally comes. Whatever that final straw may be, you make the commitment to transform your business. Now it’s just a matter of how to change and what system is best, and this is where it gets dangerous.

ERP systems have changed significantly in the past few years. Even more, so is the rate of change overall that we have experienced in the business environment. No matter what your industry is, you are at risk of becoming stagnant or obsolete if you have not been able to move your company into a flexible and agile environment. You have to protect what makes your company work but also change the significant number of processes that are holding you back. You start looking at ERP systems and face a sea of options. Wave after wave of decisions and considerations hit you from every direction.

What happens now is crucial, and it’s where insanity sneaks in unbeknownst to you. With so much at stake and with so many decisions, it is natural – and common – to choose a system closest to what you are using now. It feels like the safest choice.

It requires the lowest learning curve, the least amount of disruption to the workforce, and less opposition throughout the workforce. You feel that flood of relief wash over you again. You did it! You made the change and survived. But did you really select a system and implement it in a way that allows your company to grow and to become better positioned to compete, or did you just find a better way to generate reports?

It is important to recognize at the outset that change is hard, and no one denies that. So when you go through this process start out with one very important question: what specific results should come with your transformation? Set out extremely clear goals. Not just day-to-day work but also where you want your company to go into the future. Put all obstacles to the side for now, and allow yourself and your team to dream big.

A transformation is your opportunity to bring real change, real growth, and real competitive value. If you spend too much time worrying about where you are now, you won’t make the changes necessary to get where you could be. Along with technology changes, so has the way in which these transformations must take place. Going through this process the way you have before may also lead you into the depths of insanity. If you fall back on what’s comfortable you will likely go through just about as much work but in the end, you’ll be right back where you started or so close to it that it won’t matter.

Be very clear with yourself and your team on the goals you establish, why you set them, and what needs to happen within your business to accomplish them. Then you can fight that sneaky insanity and experience the real change you are working so hard to achieve.