Business Process Engineering: The Missing Link in ERP Implementations

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: February 12, 2015

bprWhether you’re looking to improve your customer service, improve your top line or increase your bottom line, companies seeking improvement have plenty of reason to reengineer their processes.  Usually, all of the above.
So when a firm takes on the task of implementing an ERP system, business process reengineering is – or should be – the key motivation.  That’s often coupled with a desire for growth, or the ability to handle growth already upon them.
A recent 2014 ERP Process Improvement Report from Panorama Consulting showed that 100% of respondents had suffered some sort of “material operational disruption at the time of go live.”  Of these, 60% lasted at least a month.  Nearly two-thirds said they expected some difficulty in adjusting to operational change.  Interestingly, fewer than half “changed their business processes [in order] to leverage functionality of the new ERP system.”
We ask: Why do it, if not to review, analyze and ultimately change and improve your processes?
Well, as it turns, one key reason is budget and timeline overruns.  The challenges of the reengineering that motivated acquiring the new ERP system in the first place appear to cause companies to neglect the very reason they went there in the first place: process change and improvement.
In other words, it’s harder than they thought it would be.
Panorama suggests three things to keep in mind to ensure that you achieve the best business process reengineering results possible:

  1. Recognize that not all your business processes are created equal. The short version: Prioritize your process improvements, and then focus on the handful that brings the most bang for the buck.  Push the others to the back burner when necessary.
  2. Integrate your business process reengineering and organizational change management activities. Don’t treat these as two separate activities.  So for example, the people defining the new processes should also be the ones defining the impacts on departments and people.
  3. Ensure your project plan includes enough time and resources to properly account for business process reengineering. Most teams don’t ignore process work because they want to… they often simply don’t have enough time (or didn’t budget for enough) to address this on top of all the other important project activities.  Start with a realistic plan and budget that accounts for process evaluation and retooling, and you’ll be an order of magnitude ahead of most ERP implementations right off the bat.

There’s the gist of it, and we couldn’t agree more, based on our own observations of many years.  The rest of the article author’s thinking can be found here.

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