Published: November 04, 2020
Author: Mark Hoffman
Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) estimates that nearly half of enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations fail the first time around. One of the main reasons these large infrastructure projects fail is due to going over budget. Others don’t meet the proposed return-on-investment (ROI), or require too much customization. Although it is easy to see why these projects can go easily off-track, it is a high failure rate for industry-standard products like SAP and Oracle, where implementations can cost upwards of $750K for mid-sized businesses.
Considering the amount of ERP projects that fail, customization isn’t helping them be successful. According to the Panorama Consulting Group, 93% of organizations required customization. With nearly half (45%) stating the need for significant customization. It’s not surprising to see why about 65% of the time, budgets go over because the system needs modifications to improve usability.
Here are three ways intelligent automation can complement your ERP customizations:
#1- Better connectivity between ERPs and other systems
One clear benefit of an ERP is the ability to customize utilizing your company’s unique requirements. Business-specific reports and connecting to third-party programs are standard customizations. The design of these customizations is to improve business processes and improve the needs of your business. Yet, according to TEC, most ERP systems fall short on data accuracy, user experience, and analytics.
IA provides an opportunity to connect unique, internal databases and third-party programs with your ERP platform. These solutions also offer business process improvement your company requires to reduce costs and maintain a competitive advantage. These IA technologies can be the customization you required, completed at the business level, therefore lessening the IT department’s resource expenditure and potential budget overruns.
#2- Less complexity and reduced downtime for ERP upgrades
ERP customization has one significant drawback—the inability to manage upgrades easily. Even the slightest customization requires a change in system code. When software upgrades occur, whether the ERP is cloud-based or on-prem, customization can interrupt your business processes. ERP upgrades need the business and IT teams to spend countless hours performing system and user acceptance testing on all customizations before going live. In cases where systems are significantly customized, ERP upgrades can be a nightmare to complete, or maybe not even able to upgrade at all.
IA solutions provide the ability to keep code changes in the ERP to a minimum. IA communicates with the ERP without adjustments to code. The business unit process is automated, not the ERP system; improving the upgrade experience. There could be required adjustments in an IA solution when the ERP is upgraded. However, with little to no code changes needed in these solutions, automation provides a quicker, reliable, and consistent options for a business unit to achieve job specific enhancements and functionality,
#3- Friendlier user experience
Although ERP systems are better for the overall business, a critical roadblock in ERP adoption is employee resistance. ERP implementations require several hours of training per employee, and a portion of ERP user training is selling internal teams on the benefits of the system. Yet, employee pushback issues might ultimately be learning a new way to handle a tedious business process.
Software tools like robotic process automation (RPA) will directly address both the need for simplified internal systems and process improvement. Adding a digital workforce to the organization will deliver cost reductions and increase employee satisfaction. These computer bots will replace the ERP’s unique customization and reduce the manual steps it takes to complete tasks.
Through automation, you train employees to utilize data outputs to complete tasks instead of a new way of compiling and entering data. Managers can spend time enhancing their team’s problem-solving skills, providing an improved environment for them and their customers.
ERPs are essential tools for the way we do business. Customization of your ERP doesn’t have to be significant to provide the benefits your department requires. Where there is repetitive human interaction with the ERP, consider available automation solutions. Intelligent automation allows back and forth communication between your legacy systems and your ERP without changing source code. The added benefit creates greater business process efficiency, is controlled by the business unit, and improves employee and customer satisfaction. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Mark is an experienced sales and marketing manager with a professional background in healthcare and technology services. In his current role, Mark works with companies to understand and uncover process automation challenges. For over 20 years, Mark delivers value-added solutions that improve operational efficiency and quality outcomes. His MBA focused on organizational leadership and change management.