I was recently speaking with a business leader who is contemplating a new ERP system, and he mentioned that it was as confusing as buying a new golf driver. As I let that thought marinate, I realized the similarities between golf and ERP are astounding. Consider the following five similarities as you embark on your ERP or digital transformation:
Neither your golf clubs nor your ERP system will make you successful: Anyone who belongs to a country club knows the type - dressed to the nines with a brand-new set of Pings, and they still average three-digit scores. If you have a bad swing, those top-end Callaway’s won’t help you. Buying a new SAP, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics ERP system won’t simply make your business successful, either. Both your clubs and your ERP are just tools that you need to learn to use.
Both golf and ERP require coaching: If you try to teach yourself to golf, you will spend years and thousands of dollars in green fees. More likely than that, you will simply give up before you learn properly. Likewise, companies that try to implement ERP without help tend to fail miserably. Getting proper education and guidance as you learn to golf or implement ERP will save you money and make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding.
You need to match your requirements when purchasing golf clubs or ERP: When you go to buy new clubs, a good pro will advise you of the different angles of lift, height, grip size, flex, and a number of different factors that differentiate clubs on the market. Some sets even come with different numbers of clubs (i.e. modules). Price does not necessarily mean better, either, as you need to match your clubs to your own game. With ERP, if you run an internet search for Top ERP systems, you will still need to dial in on your company’s specific needs to find the right software that alleviates your distinct pain points. The well-known brands pay for advertising, but don’t necessarily provide the functionality your business needs. If you purchase an ERP with the wrong functionality, you not only risk paying too much, you also risk complicating your business and processes. When this happens, you end up needing to customize the software and wanting to throw your clubs into the pond.
Little things can make a big difference: In golf, very small adjustments to your stance or swing can make instrumental differences to where your ball lands. This is because the trajectory of a ball is so far out from the compact area from which it is hit. With ERP, small programming adjustments can impact an entire workforce, derail shipping schedules, or lose track of inventory. There are so many triggers between the integration of people, processes, and technology that it’s easy to get off track.
Planning and preparation lead to success in both cases: We talk about implementation readiness and planning frequently, yet we still see businesses jumping right into implementation without any foresight. Consider what you need to do to play a round of golf, you don’t just “go play”. You need to make a reservation, you need to validate the weather forecast, you need to check-in, you need to stretch (unless you’re young or implementing QuickBooks), you need to put on your golf shoes, you need to purchase (or borrow your friend’s) balls, you need to wait your turn for tee-off, and you need to time your game to stay in tune with the flow of other players and the drink cart
Third Stage Consulting Group is a global thought leader in business transformation, ERP software systems, operational change management, and business advisory. Let us take your organization’s digital transformation to the Third Stage.