Five Things That are Obsolete in the ERP Software Industry

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: November 12, 2018

The other day, we posted our top ERP predictions for 2019. While this provides a good look into where the industry is headed, it is also important to understand the things that are obsolete in the ERP software industry.

While there are a large number to choose from, here are a handful to be particularly mindful of as you plan your digital transformation in the coming months and years:

ERP software best practices and pre-configured solutions

In ERP software’s less mature days, the notion of best practices and pre-configured solutions sounded like a great idea. It was (and still is) something that we all want to believe could work. The problem is: it doesn’t. Every industry and company is unique, while ERP systems are too flexible to provide one “best practice” answer to most business processes. This makes the concept obsolete in today’s day and age.

Outdated methods of business process management

Just as there are no silver bullets for pre-configured ERP systems, the days of “business process best practices” and “value stream mapping” are long gone. Consultants that still peddle business process consulting work based on canned processes should be fired right away. Instead, the more effective approach is to define business processes that are unique to your organization and best align with your company’s strategy, culture, and objectives. And contrary to common belief, business process management should happen before you begin your digital transformation.

Limiting your digital transformation options to a single ERP system

There was a time that choosing a single ERP system was really the only viable option for most organizations. That is not the case today. CRM software, HCM systems, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, machine learning, industry 4.0, and a host of other technologies provide options that transcend traditional back-office ERP systems. Be sure to consider all your options when evaluating potential technology for your digital transformation. (Independent and technology-agnostic ERP consultants such as those at Third Stage are a good place to start).

Generic ERP thought leadership

You can tell a lot about your potential digital transformation partner based on the thought leadership that they produce. If it is new, fresh, innovative, and relevant, then that is probably a sign that the same can be said for the overall consulting team. On the other hand, if the company is publishing obsolete and recycled content from others or from former leaders during its glory days, that’s probably a sign that you can expect the same from that partner.

Organizational change management that focuses on software training

Back when people didn’t really understand organizational change management, they would just do some training and call it good. That approach didn’t work then – and it definitely doesn’t work now. Today’s digital transformations require a complete focus on the entire employee experience, including helping them through the change impacts, assisting in the cultural transformation, and driving organizational performance. This requires a more robust approach than basic system training can offer.

Conclusion: digital transformations are changing

The digital transformation landscape is changing rapidly. Cloud ERP software is reaching the tipping point of adoption, and a plethora of other trends are disrupting this industry. It is important not to get bogged down by outdated and obsolete practices of years past. If our ways of managing digital transformations don’t keep up with technology, then we can expect challenges such as the SAP failure at Lidl and National Grid’s lawsuit against Wipro to continue.

The best thing you can do is to hire the best independent ERP consultants that you can find. Third Stage Consulting is one example. Contact me to discuss how we can help make your transformation more successful.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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