The majority of Fortune 500 companies use some form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation to keep their operations running as smoothly as possible. Still, with the quickly changing landscape of the modern workplace, the ERP implementations that these companies have come to rely on are failing to adapt to the level of innovation, accessibility, flexibility, and ease-of-use required to stay competitive. And, without any major advances in ERP, the time and effort it costs just to maintain these systems continues to increase, especially when it comes to maintaining and optimizing your enterprise time management.
In the first segment of our three-part blog series on optimizing enterprise time management, we’re going to cover several of the ways in which your legacy ERP implementation is wasting your company’s time and resources, and exactly why it’s so critical to get that time back:
Your time is your greatest asset
A company’s time is as vital to its success as money, resources, and materials — to the extent that on average, employee time contributes directly and indirectly to 60% of operational expenditures. A 500-employee organization has one million aggregate hours at its disposal each year to use or waste, and maintaining systems that enable your to closely and easily track and manage your time is critical to gaining a competitive advantage. If your ERP can’t keep up, then your company is inevitably wasting the time of employees working to pick up the slack — time that could be redirected into more profitable avenues.
When ERP fails to adapt to evolving business needs, time gets wasted
Your business processes will evolve over time to adapt to growth and change within your company and industry, but current ERP implementations lack the flexibility and scalability to naturally evolve with you. For example, remote and mobile employees are increasingly commonplace in today’s workplace, and yet legacy ERP systems simply aren’t built to accommodate these types of employees. Cloud software is becoming a similar modern staple, but big ERP vendors present vague cloud roadmaps that are years down the road. As the workplace continues to evolve, businesses should expect legacy ERP systems to fall further and further behind, and the cost for trying to keep up will be significant increases in administrative overhead. And, if you can’t adequately keep track of things like remote and mobile employees, then managers won’t be able to fully understand how and where their employees’ time is being spent.
The cost of change is steep
ERP software has spent the past several decades evolving into what it is now, and customers should expect that any additional enhancements and improvements in functionality will be incremental and expensive. The workforce today has changed — its needs are diverse, mobile, and technologically-advanced — but ERP software fails to accommodate this, and doesn’t appear to be changing that anytime soon. In fact, the only change long-time legacy ERP users have come to expect is the costly and disruptive upgrade treadmill — which they often feel forced into to maintain their support contract. Seeking improvements through these upgrades or even custom builds typically means making exorbitant seven- or eight-figure investments, with the ultimate ROI still lacking. This, too, results in significant and ultimately unnecessary administrative overhead for your company, and can derail your enterprise time management in many ways.
Customization is expensive and inelastic
Most ERP customers have introduced a variety of necessary customizations into their ERP to optimize their business processes, but these projects tend to require a substantial amount of time, money, and dedicated resources. Often these become so specific, that any change in requirements, which happen more often than you’d think, cannot be sufficiently handled within the system, and people resort back to using spreadsheets and manual processes. And, when you rely on manual processes, it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made and time will ultimately go missing.
Customization also often ends up being used by only a few specific individuals, and doesn’t gain widespread adoption within the company. Adding insult to injury, the ERP support mantra for custom code is “you break it, you fix it.” When things go wrong, your IT team is left to clean up the mess without support, taking another chunk out of your overall IT budget.
In this modern era, companies looking to optimize they way they track, manage, and use their enterprise time need and deserve better from their ERP. These examples outlined here are only a few of the many ways legacy ERP is costing your company time and money — make sure to check out Part 2 to learn more.