It is clear that the demise of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), in the way we traditionally understand it, IS a real possibility.
The ERP industry stands at a watershed and is in the process of being redefined.
This discussion focuses on some of the key factors that are pointing in this direction:
We are rapidly seeing the advent of a new generation of tech-savvy executives. They are executives who have been around computers all of their lives. They do not necessarily know how to use them to best effect, but they are not scared of the technology and are quite willing to get hands-on.
Big brand ERP is rapidly reaching market saturation. Most corporations have a big brand ERP, some are on their second or third product. Many have been using those brand name products for a considerable period of time. Realisation is building that it is not the brand or the tool but what is DONE with the brand or the tool that is the issue. Consequently, the prospects for new sales of brand name ERPs are diminishing rapidly.
Executive frustration with ERP
High levels of frustration with ERP remains. Fact is that at an operational level there is a reasonably high level of satisfaction in many organizations but at an executive level, most users complain. The complaints include not being able get answers to their questions when they need them, that the quality of reports is dubious and that the cost of maintaining reports is excessive, etc.
Most business intelligence investments have also failed to deliver on expected returns.
Increasingly this is leading to a cynical view of ERP and reluctance to incur significant costs. This also points to a relatively bleak future for ERP vendors and implementers who do not adjust to the new reality.
Emphasis moves to IBIS – MAKE IT WORK
Increasingly there is a move towards what I call "IBIS" or ‘Integrated Business Information Systems’ – the mishmash of technology that represents the real world for most enterprises.
IBIS frequently, but not always, comprises an ERP surrounded with great diversity of third party specialist software, custom developed utilities and sometimes whole modules of custom development together with the ubiquitous Excel spreadsheets - all of which constitute a unique solution for the enterprise.
By now most have realized that this mishmash will always exist, whether it operates surreptitiously under the cloak of FRED (the name of your big brand ERP) or whether there is a realisation that FRED is NOT the total solution. There simply is NO silver bullet and if you replace FRED you are still left with all the surrounding stuff and frequently with the recreation of the surrounding stuff to fit the new FRED.
Precision taxonomies dominate
In recent years it has become increasingly apparent to me that the next BIG frontier in the ERP or IBIS space is the huge morass of badly configured systems out there.
Business has made huge investments in precision software only to have it populated with sloppily defined content. Whether the Chart of Accounts, the Material Master, the Product Class, the Customer Type or whatever the validation list is it frequently has little or no logic, highly variable granularity, duplication, etc.
The net effect is that precision ERP software operates at a fraction of its true potential. Processing that should take place within the ERP takes place in add-on's and Excel, even simple reports are difficult and time consuming to develop and maintain and management struggle to get the answers to simple questions. Complex models and analysis are frequently beyond the bounds of possibility.
The answer to this is NOT to replace the software, it is to reconfigure the existing software with precision taxonomies leading to precision configuration.
Decision support is paramount
Many years ago, long before ERP was coined as a term, we used to refer to MIS "Management Information Systems" and then EIS "Executive Information Systems".
When the MIS and EIS failed to deliver the MI or EI, the industry re-branded the technology as ERP "Enterprise Resource Planning", thereby adopting a label that was frequently inappropriate because it is a reality that few organizations actually DO RP in their ERP – most industries require specialist packages to RP their businesses.
In truth MIS and EIS WERE appropriate labels, the problem was that, because of the sloppiness referred to above, those systems could not deliver management or executive information.
Today the industry is coming full circle – executives and managers STILL want information on which to base decisions and, as much as the re-branding created a smoke screen for many years, the smoke is now clearing and tech savvy executives are demanding the information they need in order to support improved decision making.
Precision taxonomies and precision configuration is the only way to meet this need and this has nothing to do with which product is used.
Precision data warehouse data
Increasingly it is becoming apparent that the real opportunity for precision configuration lies with the data warehouse on top of the ERP. Because the ERP is working operationally, the cost of re-implementing it is beyond the realms of what is practical for most enterprises. Investment in excellent precision first principle taxonomies, what I call "Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies" or "SEPT" for short, in the data warehouse with remapping of the operational data is where the REAL opportunity lies for business information systems today.
Incremental beneficiation becomes the norm
The realisation that re-implementation of an ERP is frequently too costly brings with it the realisation that incremental beneficiation of operational data in the ERP underpinning the precision data in the data warehouse is an attractive option for many enterprises. This is likely to become the norm for most existing installations going forward.
Software company influence diminishes and implementers become re-furbishers
As a consequence of these developments it is likely that the influence of large ERP companies will diminish, further take-overs are possible and shake outs and down-sizing are distinct possibilities.
The number of ERP implementations will reduce drastically and those implementers who survive will increasingly focus on developing high value taxonomies with associated data warehouse and business intelligence installations focusing increasingly on high value business information solutions.
In the ERP space it can be expected that implementers will increasingly become re-furbishers – fixing up sloppy configurations in a controlled manner over periods of years. It is likely that many implementers will fail to make the transition so a major shakeout in this area is to be expected. .
It is debatable whether the term ERP will be in the forefront of business-speak in twenty years' time and it is likely that the ERP industry will be radically re-defined in the next couple of decades.
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Business Systems NOT delivering?
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Dr James A Robertson -- has been involved in the effective application of Business Information Systems, including but NOT limited to ERP, since 1987 and in the profitable and effective use of computers in Business since 1981.
Drawing on a diversity of experience, including formal military training in Quick Attack techniques at the Regimental Commander level, Dr Robertson has developed highly effective methods of investigating any sub-optimal Business Information Systems situation -- be it an established system or a stalled project or any other source of Executive frustration -- quickly and concisely diagnosing the root cause of the problem and prescribing concise practical actions that Business Executives can effectively act on see the Pulse Measurement page and also the Sample Reports page for redacted real reports.
He has also developed highly effective methods of strategically enriching systems to unlock the full potential of existing investments, see the Precision Configuration page and couples this to architecting small pieces of clever software that harness the full potential of your investment, see the Software page.
If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist
Business System Failure is RIFE -- we offer insight into why this happens AND WHAT is required to prevent it.
Failure is at epidemic levels with massive damage done to client companies -- if you are NOT aware of the extent of the problem please visit the About Failure page for a catalog of major failures running to billions of Pounds and Dollars.
All evidence indicates that the established players do NOT know how to deliver stable, reliable high value solutions that WORK.
There HAS to be a better way!
This website provides information relating to that way with a large collection of white papers, presentations, standards documents, etc that you can use to start bringing the situation under control
We also offer high level advisory services with regard to the application of the principles advocated on this website
We offer an ENGINEERING APPROACH to addressing these issues
By Engineering I mean the formal, structured, highly disciplined, highly systematic, highly practical approach that consistently delivers results in ALL areas of human endeavor where formally trained and certified engineers are the ONLY practitioners permitted to operate -- think large buildings, factories, motor vehicles, aircraft -- highly complex systems that work at a level that we take it for granted that they WILL work and where failure is all but unthinkable and, when it happens, attracts immediate public attention and rigorous investigation directed at ensuring that such failures are prevented in the future -- in fact, everything that the management consulting industry that implements complex software systems is NOT
This approach is discussed further on the Engineering Approach page.
In 2003 I undertook an in-depth analysis of all the information and experience that I had gathered with regard to the factors giving rise to Business Information System failure including ERP and general IT and classified this information into a number of categories including "The Factors Causing Failure" and "The Critical Factors for Success" based on this I developed a two day Course "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which is still offered today.
Based on this I wrote the book of the same name, which is available in electronic form here for download:
James has a very detailed profile on LinkedIn should you require further information about him.
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There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website
Please click here to visit the detailed listing of articles
About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics
Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures
About the Engineering Approach
James Robertson's Value Add
Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution
Recognizing Business System Failure
The Critical Human Foundation
Old Software IS Viable
From South Africa
Competencies of Dr James A Robertson PrEng
About Professor Malcolm McDonald
Table of Contents
About my relationship with the Almighty Creator, Yah the Eternally Self-Existing
Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics
Testimonials and other positive material regarding James Robertson
List of Articles
Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes
Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?
The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody
Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration
Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
IT Project Management
CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement
No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes
Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™
The Pulse Measurement Workflow
The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement
Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations
What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?
Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years
Sample Pulse Measurement Reports
Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems
Strategic Essence: Overview
Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined
Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation
Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different
Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure
Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence
Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?
Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment
Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual
A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting
Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works
Robust Business Systems Procurement
Part 1 -- Introduction
Part 2 -- Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc
Part 3 -- Executive Engagement, Bid Compliance, Adjudication and other matters
Guidance and Advisory Services
The Art of Project Leadership
Why Regular Communication with the CEO is Vital
The Business Simulation Laboratory
Precision Configuration and Strategic Business Information Architecture
Precision Configuration based on Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies
The JAR&A Cubic Business Model
Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal
The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration
Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask
Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration
092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013
088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa
026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf
018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf
011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng
Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems
Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering
Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations
Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment
The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual
Part 1: Introduction, Problem Statement, Definitions and Examples
Part 2: Why Use JAR&A, Required Knowledge and Experience, Cubic Business Model and Chart of Accounts and Taxonomy Software
Part 3: How to do it, Case Studies and White Papers and other References
Example General Ledger Manual
Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous
The RIGHT Approach
Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction
Standards for Custom Software Specification
What IS Software?
Critical Factors for I.T. Success
A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail
Case Studies examining Business Information System failures
The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle
The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict
Speaking and Training
Showcase of Conference Presentations
Most Viewed Presentations
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Why your ERP/BIS is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results
The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success
Conferences and Public Presentations
Conferences 80 to 99 -- 2009 to Present
Conferences 60 to 79 -- 2005 to 2009
Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005
Conferences 20 to 39 -- 1994 to 1996
Conferences 01 to 19 -- 1989 to 1994
On-Line Seminars (Webinars)
Webinar on Preparing and Presenting Webinars
Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited