Insights about enterprise architecture, ROI, Change Management, ERP apps, simplicity, agility & usability

Welcome to enjoy and participate!

1 December, 2018
by PeterBj
Comments Off on Old Style ERP with Lipstick is Still Old Style ERP

Old Style ERP with Lipstick is Still Old Style ERP

Old dog in the cloud

Big ERP vendors’ hope that users will hurry to go all-in on their cloud-enabled system, which they sell as if it was totally renewed. A growing number of  customers — even long-standing ones — begins to feel they are exposed to fraud, and they are absolutely right.

Just migrating an old monolithic ERP system to the cloud does not change anything but increasing the expenses. It can cost millions to re-implement a legacy ERP system in the cloud, but there is no gain. Old style ERP cannot be fundamentally improved by bolting-on some web and cloud technology. An old dog with lipstick is still an old dog.

Companies should never pay for anything not delivered and always buy the best app for the job and not because it is offered by a vendor they already use. To do so is plain lazy and bad business.

Poor usability and the high level of complexity and cost of app integration and making changes is a business disadvantage of magnitudes. Old style ERP delivers declining value. This happens because this kind of apps are getting inadequate at the same speed as new business requirements and technology opportunities emerge.

Old style ERP does not deliver architectural flexibility and usability advantages similar to apps that are natively built in the cloud for the cloud. This brings us to the point my friend and ERP authority Mikael Petersén made about today’s stature: “Companies want something transformative, but their vendors come to them with the same old system they have offered for the last 20 years.”

It is a new day for ERP. Smart business people understands that ERP technology has been through a generational change. Well-informed board members want to see companies move to digital business models and realize you are not going to get there with your grandpa’s Oldsmobile version of ERP. For a system to support its users need to change it must be changed itself or die.

  • The use of user ID predates email. All native cloud apps allows using your email address as user ID. It is therefore a simple way to separate old from new, where the following 3 advantages shall be observed:
    • Research shows that where users had an email address and a ten-position user ID it was easier for most users to log in if only asked for their email address.
    • It is more cost-effective. For example, Microsoft Azure AD offers a lower price when using an email address as login.
    • When properly used you know immediately whom you are dealing with and how to make contact.

It is officially December! The end of the year comes with a lot of pressure to finish strong and plan for a successful 2019. The takeaway here is that status quo does not work and that you have more progressive ERP options than ever before. Whether you need a highly specialized app, a better app for a whole business domain or a new system designed for small to midsize companies, make the choice with an eye on the future.

The choice is crucial as you obviously do not intend to blaze a trail and ask your company to follow… and then find out you took the wrong way!

20 January, 2018
by PeterBj
Comments Off on Four Forces Driving the Future of Business Applications

Four Forces Driving the Future of Business Applications

Four forces

With 2018 upon us, it is time to dust off the crystal ball and foresee what will happen in the world of business applications the year ahead. Numerous new digital technologies are facing their breakthrough. As great as they are, the strongest drivers for 2018 will still be the ones we already know about but have not yet been properly combined.

Future business success requires a new roadmap. Google’s 2017 input search data revealed that “how” was the most popular type of question asked by internet users when people were looking for answers on how to get help and make a difference in what they wanted to achieve. If you want to make your business applications much better, this is how to go about:

Fit for Purpose

A business application that is fit for purpose is just right to do the job it was designed to do. Purpose refers to the reason for which the solution exists. Fit means being adapted to that end. Fit for purpose applications are built in the cloud for simplicity, scalability, lower total cost of ownership, and flexibility to improve constantly.

Investments in fit-for-purpose apps provide ROI through a repeated pattern. The sooner you have it, the longer time you will enjoy the benefit of recurring returns. The payback from your first investment is only part of the equation; again and again, the benefit will show on your bottom line.

Leave Your Legacy

The pace of change may not be as forceful in all industries, but it would still be hard to find a company that is immune to software technology innovation.

In a world where your business capabilities cannot be separated from its enabling technology, you either leave your legacy or disrupt. Your legacy – which includes apps that were developed just a couple of years ago – are now out of date.

Extreme Speed

When processing data – which enterprise computing essentially is about – extreme speed is what counts. In-memory database technology spiced with artificial intelligence makes it happen. When not organizing and storing data in the traditional way you gain enormous performance. With data in RAM, close to the CPU, you never have to move it; data is available up to 10 000 faster than before.

Because of the speed, data aggregates can be scrapped, and the program structure is changed so radically that apps need to be redesign and rewritten. As a result, they become faster, smaller and nimbler. This has been well demonstrated, for example by Starcounter. Founding an app on an in-memory database does not only make it faster, but it also means less code, enhanced transparency, and a much smaller data footprint.

Progressive Web

At first glance, there may not be any immediate connection between the in-memory database and the user interface. But it really is. With simplification, elastic data, and response times close to zero there is vast potential for improved user experiences – in a way that is far away from just putting new lipstick on a tired old dog.

The saying ‘from the users’ perspective, the user interface is the application’ is still true – so selecting the best user interface technology is critically important.

Progressive web apps are beautiful and useful to users from the very first visit in a browser tab, no install required. As the user progressively builds a relationship with the app over time, it becomes more and more powerful. It loads quickly, even on flaky networks, sends relevant push notifications, has an icon on the home screen, loads as a top-level resource providing a full screen experience on all devices from PCs to wearables.

Yes, to build a progressive web user interface you need knowledge of universal standards such as HTML, CSS and, Java Script, but they are relatively easy to learn and maintain as the result is both readable and flexible.

Moving to the next application generation will be liberating

Business will be much faster and easier. Organizations become more productive. People are engaged. Improvements can happen at the pace of business needs instead of fighting against peculiarities of antiquated software and architectures.

To compete at the speed of digital, you need to unleash your people and the four driving forces presented in this article. If you want to move fast, learn from those who know how you can make a giant leap with a stepwise approach!

28 August, 2017
by PeterBj
2 Comments

Catch the Rising BI Star

Rising Star

 

The need for transforming data into intelligent information to boost business performance is creating angst among many business people. They need something better than what they have today. Business Intelligence tools are not new, and many tools can ultimately perform similar functions, but the technical toolset of the developer, ease of presentation, and cost of use is drastically different.

Some companies will be fortunate to have employees that understand the difference and see the benefit of being an early adopter of Microsoft Power BI. Other companies stay with what they have and therefore pay more for being less informed.

Prepare to Win

If your organization wants to take advantage of the big data revolution, you’re going to need a business intelligence platform that can make the most of it. BI software is crucial for interpreting and examining data, whether you’re putting together some single reports, or performing a full battery of data analyses.

The BI market is saturated with old products. How do you evolve from something you’ve built your company around into something new and better? Or, in a broader sense, how do you keep your company competitive? No one should need to be reminded that change is the only business constant.

Many years ago, BCG developed a product life-cycle matrix based on market share and growth. “Dogs” are the low market share and low growth products. Single market BI apps fall into this category. “Cash Cows” are high in market share but low in growth. They keep the money rolling in but their days are limited. “Rising Stars” are products that are low in market share right now but high in growth. This is where the future lies.

Lower Cost and Higher Performance

Microsoft Power BI will initially live side by side with legacy BI tools. This coexistence may continue for several years. A mix-and-match strategy provides business dynamics but should not be a sleeping pill for companies who want to minimize BI portfolio’s complexity and cost. Don’t view your old BI star as immortal; see it as the aging Cow it is.

Microsoft has narrowed all significant feature gaps. For the second year in a row, Microsoft is placed furthest in vision within the Leaders of Gartner’s 2017 BI report. Get the report here and learn more about Microsoft’s favorable standing.

Microsoft won’t waver in its commitment to Power BI – you can be sure of that. Microsoft will continue executing on its successful “five strategies,” which states five seconds to sign up, five minutes to wow the customer, and five times more value for money, i.e., 80% lower cost than other (so called) leading BI products. Bundled with Office 365 it may even be less than that…

Opportunity is Now

You’ve still got time, but you shouldn’t waste that time by ignoring the advantages Power BI offers. If you do, you’ll eventually find yourself trying to get milk from a Dog. You must either adapt to new technology or get buried by them.

Better, faster, and cheaper are vital ROI issues and measures. The sooner you join a rising star the longer time you’ll enjoy the benefits of recurring returns on your investment. Timely is no small thing. Darwin’s famous theory might as apt been called “Survival of the Timeous.”

Evidence of Power

Once the data was connected to Power BI, it took my son and me two hours to develop a comprehensive Warranty Management Dashboard, with capacity to filter and drill down each graph. As great as it is, Power BI comes with a warning. Your appetite grows as you eat. Power BI talks to our intellectual curiosity; the desire to explore and know more.

Warranty Dashboard

 

13 January, 2017
by PeterBj
Comments Off on A Forty Year Perspective on ERP and Digitization

A Forty Year Perspective on ERP and Digitization

Looking forward by looking back

With more than forty years of experience from digital transformation with ERP and 2017 quickly taking off, it felt like an invitation to reflect on what has been and what lies ahead when seeking to deliver better value to customers.

January 1977, after having completed high school, past the IBM programming ability test with distinction, employed by the pioneering ERP vendor Movex and educated through numerous IBM courses I was nearly 19 years old and full of energy to make a difference.

Learning from Practice

When acquainting with the real world at customer sites (where I spent most time as we could not afford our own computer), I was enamored by the ease and speed the computer made me carry out tasks the typewriter and calculator made tiresome and error-prone.

In my role as a programmer, I improved my ability to make the computer do magic by understanding how the resultant functionality enabled integrated business processes and that users are not just keying in data but actually using data as information.

Customers were the biggest source of inspiration why it felt great when they were happy, such as when a production manager said: “Now when I see the result it was definitely worth the time and money invested. What impresses me most is that the solution you delivered not just meet our wants, it also fulfills our needs.”

Due to our success the volume and size of the projects increased, forcing me to practice more management and teamwork. In doing so, I realized we could energize more power together than we could one by one, why collaborative efforts became a way for us to deliver more value for less money to customers.

There was no doubt in my mind that the life of the users was about to dramatically shift for the better; the outcome of the enterprise solutions we delivered would transform paper-pushers to knowledge workers and send productivity to new heights.

Overcoming the Obstacles

But not everyone I met shared the same enthusiasm of it all. The resistance, to the point of anger at times, that people displayed when faced with learning how to use the applications we offered was fascinating to watch but tricky to handle.

The majority of the users had been in the workforce for many years and had been doing fine without computerized applications. Often they made clear to me that things were fine the way they were, so why change?

I am positive that to many customers, I appeared as a bright but naive youth with no experience to understand that the old way of doing things would prevail and the technology I gushed about would fade away as a failed experiment in time.

There were different approaches to avoid changing. I remember a warehouse manager asking me, “Can my job be preserved until I retire next year?” His wish was fulfilled because we could not automate all his duties. A year later, the missing pieces was filled out making his job obsolete, but then he was happily retired.

Recently, I met with a process owner replying, “That is not possible!” After the “impossible” was demonstrated, she rhetorically asked, “Why is this not already implemented here?” A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. But why must it take so long to be aware of what is possible?

Progress is inevitable. We can, and will create the economy of the future when we remember that the function of technology is constantly empowering people to do things that were previously impossible.

Just as we had to find a way to help bridge progress in the early days of enterprise computing, we need to do the same today as we puzzle over our next move and wonder how to help our business and customers successfully through a new wave of digital transformation.

Successfully Going Forward

To cross the divide, we are going to need to see things from a fresh view, which involves not just technology but just as much customers, colleges, and culture:

  • We need to adjust our approach to speak uniquely to customers thinking and their real needs. Therefore, we will need to find ways to understand what customers want, say, and do. What we hear may challenge our business model while some requests may fly in the face of “what we have always done.”
  • There is a new generation coming to play. We must give room for them to fail, learn, and thrive to bring the world forward, while knowing that bureaucracy and Taylorism will not impress them. And they are right; Taylorism being about static optimization of work imposed by “those who know” on “those who do” is not how competitive advantage originates in the digital age.
  • Delivering value is so important that it needs being rooted in an authentic interest and focus of understanding what has merit in the customer’s eyes, not yours. The winners will have a culture where self-reflection and seeking smarter, less wasteful solutions across the business modus operandi is the ideal.

As you contemplate on transforming your organization, as you search for the right way to steer into the digital age I believe these seven provisions can help getting it right:

  • Take a genuine interest in the customer. Listen first; take the time to hear what they are saying, and why they are saying it.
  • Be prepared to change, based on what your customer is telling you. Do not give your competitors an opportunity to serve your customer better and faster than you can.
  • Be aware; sometimes the problem lies not with ERP but with the demand for quick fixes or the need to cure underlying structural problems.
  • Ready to invest, even if it means a short-term loss for long-term gain, to bring forward real benefits to your customers.
  • Honesty about your company’s capabilities, from the view of the customer will pay off. Bear in mind, they like to know what is going on, so you need to constantly feed them with new information.
  • Assure you have a clear vision of the desired outcome of your digital transformation. Be proactive.
  • The secret of winning change is to focus all of your energy not fighting the old but on realizing new and better solutions.

21 November, 2016
by PeterBj
Comments Off on Three Attitudes to Digital Transformation

Three Attitudes to Digital Transformation

pathfinder

There is solid research showing that transforming toward becoming more digital pays off with huge dividend. How this possibility is realized or lost depends on behavior; which can be categorized into three groups: 1) redefine and reposition, 2) adopt best practice, and 3) business as usual. Each one of them is believed leading to a certain result: You win, you follow, or you lose.

So far, this analysis answers two questions: 1) how companies drive or react in regards to opportunity and 2) what the result is likely to be from each type of behavior. But it does not answer the question: Why?

There is a stage before behavior, known as attitude. Guided by experience from meeting with 1000s of managers ranging from CEOs to process owners and supervisors I have found three distinctive attitudes that can be labeled: Cave Dwellers, Light Chasers, and Pathfinders.

Cave Dwellers

This attitude reminds us of Plato’s 2,300-year-old allegory of the cave. In Plato’s story, we are all chained in a cave for eternity with our faces toward the wall. Behind us, stick figures are dangled in front of a candle, so shadows are the only reality we know. By chance, someone breaks loose, staggers toward the opening of the cave, sees sunlight, and realizes the limited and false view of reality inside the cave.

This person returns to the cave to say that the vision that we have spent our lives focused on is only a shadow of the real truth. Unfortunately, to those who have never seen anything else, the message sounds crazy. So naturally, they declare him insane and put him out of his misery.

Plato’s story helps describe a population of managers pleased with what they already have. No need to consider anything else. They will sit there until getting blindsided by competition. They do not realize that if competitors are getting better and they are not getting better, they are getting worse, on their way to losing. The prospect for cave dwellers is as simple, challenging, and scary as that!

Light Chasers

Light chasers are the polar extreme of Cave Dwellers. These managers remind us of children who are tricked by the “light game.” One clever kid shines a flashlight against a dark wall and dares the others to catch the light, saying, “When you catch the light, you win.” The chasers run toward the wall, but just before they get to the beam of light, a flick of the wrist by the flashlight holder starts the whole chase over. Most kids smarten up and learn that this is not a game worth playing.

Too many managers are chasing the light. The difference is that the light is now the latest and most fashionable technology. Light Chasers are digital fashionistas, living by the credo, “Buy the latest, and you will be the greatest.” But technology is not as Light Chasers would like to believe an end in itself. Therefore, they often fail with the implementation, looking to the next “big thing” before they learned to use what they just bought. By accident it happens they are successful, just like monkeys picking out the best shares.

Pathfinders

Pathfinder’s focus on serving more customers more profitable. They recognize that digitization is a driver of business advantage, so they look for solutions meeting their organization’s business goals with that as a basis. For them digital transformation as both a strategic and tactical capability.

Impossibility is not part of their vocabulary, and neither is naivety. Pathfinders asks the right questions: How can we win new customers? What digitization opportunities are best for us? They are proactively pushing forward; taking adequate digital technology to production as fast as possible.

If others – after the fact – find the pathfinder being on the winning path it is much appreciated. Such affirmations will yet not make them believe they found the ultimate solution. Above everything, they are pathfinders. It is among the pathfinders we find the winners and fast followers.

9 December, 2015
by PeterBj
Comments Off on What is Ahead for ERP in 2016?

What is Ahead for ERP in 2016?

Two Roads Diverge

The New Year is quickly approaching. As we reflect back on the past year of ERP, and before making predictions for the year ahead, we must first acknowledge the upcoming trends of 2015, which are likely to impact next year.

  • Traditional Client/Server ERP is Dead
    • At Sage’s annual conference July 2015, CEO, of 14,000 employees, Stephen Kelly announced that they are dropping the acronym “ERP” from their product names and said, “We believe ERP is a 25-year-old term, characterized by cost overrun, and in some cases even business ruin. To the finance directors of the world, ERP stands for Expense, Regret, and Pain.”
  • Faster Development and Greater Flexibility
    • Salesforce’s San Francisco Dreamforce software event is the biggest in the World. It attracted over 100,000 people hearing about the advantages of CRM and the cloud. Salesforce is yet, even more eager to sell the advantages of lightning fast development and application personalization with “clicks, no code.” These benefits have attracted many partners of which more than 2,000 offer apps on the Salesforce1 platform. Some of these are comprehensive ERP systems, such as those offered by Kenandy, Rootstock, Financial Force, Sage Live and Service Max.
  • Cloud Computing has gone from Probable to Inevitable
    • Amazon’s conference in October 2015 demonstrated that cloud computing has gone from probable to inevitable. Amazon WS, a startup 2006, now has 1 million customers located in 190 countries, having a $7B annual run-rate business, growing 81% last year, which makes them the fastest growing enterprise technology company in the world. Last year also showed that Amazon is a gifted software developer. For example, their new BI QuickSight is powerful and cheap; promised to cost only 1/10 of traditional alternatives such as those 255 BI apps that are available on their marketplace.
  • HTML5 and In-memory Computing are the New Standards
    • Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 announcement in November further emphasize the trends mentioned above. In addition they are talking about the benefits of DevOps to support “a living ERP system,” in-memory BI embedded directly in the application using the same user interface. Another key takeaway is a new touch-enabled HTML5-based user interface, supporting all type of devices with no need for Client software anymore.

The technology landscape has changed drastically in just a few years. Flash, Microsoft GUI and Java on the client are quickly disappearing. A prominent University recently reported that they replace Java with Scala as its preferred programming language. Workday, the most successful ERP newcomer during this century is following the same route. Workday, providing HR and Finance apps in the Cloud as a service, also help unveil two other trends: ERP is no longer “one size fits all” or a single product suite. As Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor, said at their 2015 conference, “Having the whole stack doesn’t matter anymore.”

As ERP is bumpier than ever, it has been interesting to follow how the world’s two largest ERP vendors Oracle (ca 12% market share) and SAP (ca 24% market share) diverged in strategy five years ago. Oracle bought the hardware manufacturer SUN while SAP announced availability of a brand new in-memory database, HANA. In what follows, we will take a closer look at the aftermath of these fateful decisions.

Oracle Refocuses on Software and Cloud

Oracle’s Fusion application project started shortly after Oracle’s USD 18 billion-acquisition spree of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel Systems in 2005. As the undertaking of rewriting its ERP system in Java was beginning to be completed, Oracle, in 2010, decided to buy the limping hardware supplier SUN. The mantra became “Hardware and Software, Engineered to Work Together”. Pushing Fusion applications was not prioritized. Three years after the launch of Fusion, the analyst Forrester called the number of Fusion customers, a “drop in the ocean” compared to Oracle´s overall applications installed base.

When other ERP vendors concentrated on preparing for digitalization and cloud, Oracle tried to sell a “12-cylinder gas-guzzler” to put in your office. It did not work out very well. Now, the question is rather: Who wants to buy Oracle’s hardware division? The famous book title: ‘What’s the difference between God and Larry Ellison? God doesn’t think he is Larry Ellison’ needs to be completed…

Oracle should also realize that the traditional RDBMS market is shrinking. Amazon’s attractive migration offerings to open source databases is one reason prices will go down. Another reason is that SAP’s new application offering does not support Oracle’s database (which is now what 80% of SAP’s customers have). If applications is not Oracle’s key to the future, what is? It is, therefore, good news for Oracle’s shareholders that its recent messages resonates well with the needs of the marketplace.

SAP Aims to Run Simple

SAP is well known for having the most complicated ERP system ever made. 45,000 tables, 400 million lines of code, and more than 400,000 screens. The numbers are astonishing. SAP ERP Suite is the incarnation of ERP complexity. SAP’s leadership finally realized more does not equal better and that a need for action was necessary before the business was stifled due to its own weight.

  • February 3, 2015, SAP announced a new generation of ERP named S/4 HANA. It is an entirely new product built on the most up-to-date design principles. SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott described it is a game-changer, the most important announcement for SAP during the last 23 years (i.e., since the launch of R/3). Some of the keywords is easier to learn and use, speed and simplification wherever possible. The key enablers are the in-memory database HANA and new user interface, Fiori.

SAP is at the top of its game with 67,000 employees and an envious P&L statement. Yet, it is ready to take a remarkable gamble. The hardest thing to do as a market leader is introducing a product and concept that directly challenges the paradigm that led to your success. In particular, SAP faces three challenges:

  1. There is no guarantee the idea of simplified ERP will appeal to existing customers or new prospects that are used to managing complex and inflexible application suites, where these characteristics are part of justifying the CIOs compensation.
  2. Even if the concept of radical ERP simplification succeeds, there is no assurance that buyers will choose to buy (or rent) next generation ERP applications from SAP.
  3. Massive ERP rewrite projects has left traces that horrifies. MAN X, DOCA, MOOSE, DEM, SF, and Project Green are a few examples. Why is SAP taking the risk? SAP’s co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner answer is: “If we did not rewrite their 400 million lines of code, we will die… sooner or later.”

More of the Same

My prediction for 2016 is that we will see more ERP vendors joining the movement for simplification as a way to radically improve agility and decrease cost. Not always because they want to, but because they have no choice if they want to stay relevant.

  • For a software system to help its customers take advantage of radical change, it must be radically changed itself.

A significant challenge of ERP renewal is that a simple program rewrite or conversion will not do the trick. You could mechanically transform the code into a new arrangement or language – but then it would still be structured the same and perform the same functions in the same way as before. The result of screen scraping gives the same results. Radical rethinking of ERP does more often than not require redesigning it from scratch, using modern technology and sound application engineering principles.

How much the ERP landscape will have changed in three years will be interesting to see? Nevertheless, one thing is for sure; the changes coming will benefit the users of ERP!

19 May, 2015
by PeterBj
1 Comment

Known and Unknowns in the Quest for Predictable ERP Projects

“There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.” When Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of State for Defense in 2002, said this, he was almost universally lampooned as many people initially thought the statement was nonsense.

However, careful examination of the statement reveals that it does make sense. Moreover, the concept of Known/Unknowns existed long before Mr. Rumsfeld gave it a new audience. It has since long been used as a model for risk assessment, and as the illustration below shows, it fits perfect to classify four types of ERP projects.

Meeting the customer requirements well within the timeframe and budget is always the goal of professional implementers. In this endeavors, projects can take four archetype categories. In two dimensions, they tell us about the amount of clarity that the customer has of what s/he wants. 

On the Y-axis, we have capability requirements, what the application should be able to accomplish. On the X-axis we have ease of use issues, with which ease the application can be understood and used. Requirement Specifications is not enough because for each capability requirement are a variety of possible solutions, each solution involves making design decisions that affect usability.

This four-category classification helps us prepare for any new project and everything that goes with it (commitment, staffing, project management, change order procedures, and more). You may prefer an agile methodology; working iteratively and incrementally. That is fine. In most customer cases, however, you will never get the green light to start a project without a budget and schedule – which forces you to examine the scope of the project. To say something clever about time and money you need to know what the project is supposed to deliver.

Two Archetypes of ERP Application Projects
At each end of the spectrum, there are two different types of ERP application projects. One is vanilla (in information technology, vanilla is an adjective meaning plain or basic), the other is a pioneering project.

  • The perfect example of a vanilla project is to adopt a cloud application as-is; go live without any modifications, additions, integration and installation activities.
  • A pioneering project means developing an application that hitherto does not exists. That does not mean everything needs to be developed from scratch. You will for sure reuse many existing components. Nevertheless, to do something new means, as a starting point, that there are many unknowns that needs to be made knowns.

Why would an ordinary company involve in a pioneering application project? Of course, they should try to avoid it. If you can find an off-the-shelf application adequate for the job, that is the best solution. Notice the emphasis on the word ‘adequate’. Adopting an inadequate application can cost more and take longer time than developing a new one (using modern tools). Doing nothing may not be an option as we are in the midst of a transformation where everything goes digital on mobile devices.

I have seen firsthand how frustrating and painful application development can be. However, I have also experienced how development happens fast and simple toward delivering powerful applications driving significant business value.

The secret to successfully implementing new ERP applications (regardless of if it concerns a commodity, new application development or something in between) is to eliminate all unknowns. Simply, do not let them in before the project is completed. How realistic is that?

In the real world, you must allow exceptions to prove the rule, but that is what it is: exceptions. Most important to eliminate the unknowns is to specify the deliverables thoroughly and then have the users endorsing the new solution. The quality of this work depends on the ability to imagine the new solution – which in turn very much depends on the quality of the interactions and skills of the people involved and their ability to describe the new solution.

When the project have got the green light and is on the run, you still have to live with some unknowns – while you concentrate on delivering what we already know. You can do that, because you know that perfect is an illusion – so what you did not do perfect last time, you do better next time. That is how better can make you close to perfect. 

I know that this approach works, because I have used it many, many times. If you know where you are going, you eliminate the risk of ending up somewhere else.