It doesn’t get much clearer than that. When the world’s leading information technology research company says in effect “be very careful” it might be time to pay attention.
In fact, it was last year when the giant research firm warned those considering “post-modern ERP” that they will not be immune to the “traditional ERP headaches of higher costs, greater complexity and failed integration by 2018.”
The “Achilles Hill,” suggests Gartner, will be the lack of a cloud application integration strategy and related skills.
Carol Hardcastle, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement: “This new environment promises more business agility, but only if the increased complexity is recognized and addressed. Twenty five or more years after ERP solutions entered the applications market, many ERP projects are still compromised in time, cost and more insidiously in business outcomes.”
These so-called post-modern ERP solutions are simply not the “Nirvana” that their cloud publishers want buyers to think they are. What’s lacking is integration of all the parts, not to mention the skills to pull them altogether.
On-premise providers have had years, decades even, to launch all the necessary software ERP components to comprise a completely integrated suite of applications. Even those who haven’t will usually have ecosystems of third party providers to provide the key components of those applications, things like accounting, workflows, production management, kitting, manufacturing, planning, purchasing, warehouse management or CRM.
Simply throwing software up onto a cloud service provider does not automatically make these things happen. Even top tier players in the space we happen to work and live in – the small to midsize business – have mostly only managed to cobble together partial or incomplete ERP cloud versions of their systems, often lacking the full-featured capabilities of their earth-bound brethren.
An article in the UK’s “The Register” (byline: ‘Biting the hand that feeds IT’) noted last year, “Nobody was singled out by Gartner, but it’s been the iPad toting, cloud-friendly sales and executive classes who have driven uptake of business software providers such as Salesforce, side-lining the more considered counsel of those in IT who could have taken a more measured approach. However, according to Gartner, vendors are also guilty, putting self-interest ahead of their customers.”
Ms. Hardcastle concludes… “The blame for this does not lie solely with end-user organizations that lack the experience and expertise to avoid many of the pitfalls. System integrators and ERP vendors have to be accountable to their customers in this respect.”
The solution, as always, includes the important precepts: Starting with a solid ERP plan… having full management buy-in… analyzing your processes before your begin… aligning people, processes and systems… planning your integrations carefully… and keeping your eyes on the big prize – that is, what you need to do to take your company to the level you dreamed and planned for in the first place.
A dream, Gartner Research might well add, that may not yet include any clouds.