10 November 2009

The New ERP - Part 3

Failure No. 3: Substantial -- sometimes even huge -- budget overruns
Unfortunately, the causes of the "go-live" delays typically are also the major contributors to exorbitant budget overruns, too. Executives and managers that have lost sight of specific and measurable objectives -- or they never had any such objectives in mind from the beginning -- are likely to make many foolish decisions related to customizations and modifications. Having lost focus -- or never having had any focus -- such projects will soon take on a life of their own. Managers may be incapable of bringing them back under control without the direst of actions.

Failure No. 4: Stopping or slowing production and delivery
This is clearly the worst-case scenario: the very technology investment undertaken with some vague and likely unquantified hope of delivering business advantages becomes an albatross around the neck of the whole organization. Rather than delivering a "sustainable business advantage," the new technology bogs down or stops the organization's ability to produce Throughput entirely.

Almost without exception, this dire result can be traced back to a poor understanding of the organization's real situation prior to the decision to deploy new technologies. The circumstances may be further aggravated by the fact that the organization did not obtain a valid proof-of-concept from the technology vendor before the purchasing decision was made and the Everything Replacement Project (traditional ERP) undertaken.


The Everything Replacement Project (traditional ERP) decision to buy


Since the introduction of the computer especially, executives and managers with money to spend on technologies have often carried about within themselves a peculiar mindset. That mindset tells them, "If I just had more data; if I just knew more details about my enterprise, then I could manage better. In fact, if I could know in detail everything about my enterprise, then I could manage perfectly."

Of course, traditional ERP (Everthing Replacement Project) vendors prey on this mindset. In fact, they often help instill and solidify this mindset within their prospects and clients. As a result, the decision-making process regarding whether executives and managers should buy new or more technology often follows along these lines:

There are at least two incorrect assumptions in this chain of reasoning.

The first wrong assumption is that "information" is the key to better management. Information is not the key to better management. Knowledge is the key to better management and information is not knowledge.

Data gathered and presented by technology is a representation of what your organization has experienced. That experience (history) may include what you sold, some cost data, some profit data, data about your expenses, and so forth. However, as W. Edwards Deming put it so plainly, "Experience teaches you nothing without theory." He also said, "Knowledge comes from theory."

[To be continued]

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1 comment:

babbleware said...

I agree entirely with all three of your segments. I look forward to number 4. As a company we have been working on application software that addresses all of the issues you have raised....including the ability to test a theory to gain knowledge to improve your operation only once the improvement has been proven.

Steve