Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been around for quite some time, and as a result, have accumulated a large number of features and functions to support ever-growing business demands. Unfortunately, intricate systems such as ERP’s do not assist ongoing vendor innovation and new technologies. Even newer ERP systems, designed on new and updated technologies, cannot avoid the previously existing complexity that is built within many ERP systems to support complicated business needs. As a result, ERP systems face some ongoing challenges.
The root of these issues lie within both vendors and end users. Over time, vendors have tried to extend some comprehensive solutions by themselves or through mergers or acquisitions that didn’t always offer the best user experience.
Years ago, ERP systems included vigorous capabilities and did not always respond to the needs of large enterprises. This is why software vendors began to offer customized services to customers who could afford to pay for any custom-made features they wished to add. Consequently, customization led to technical issues because of custom coding and system upgrades.
ERP systems were originally built upon material requirements planning dais (MRP), which vendors added functionality for finance, sales and purchasing to. As employee and customer management became more important to companies, vendors then included basic human resources (HR) and customer relationships management (CRM) capabilities. However, ERP vendors quickly realized that it would be more efficient to acquire existing top-notch software products in order to complement their newly specific offerings.
Cloud computing, in the end, made way for new development in the ERP evolution. The software as a service (SaaS) delivery model was a cutting-edge feature in enterprise software, as systems usually relied on configurability.
The obvious benefits of the cloud (convenience and accessibility) and the excitement created by the potential of an ERP awakening made many companies overlook any long-term challenges of this new delivery system. In fact, a few years later some companies that had been using cloud ERP found out with the purpose of the total cost wasn’t significantly lower than the on-premise delivery model, even though the initial cost looked better.
The new vendors went out of their way to distance themselves from the original legacy ERP systems, such as Workday. Workday markets their products as an alternative to ERP when in fact, the structure of the solution is parallel to an ERP. Despite the fact that some systems use cloud technologies, vendors are essentially following the same old development model (adding multiple modules to their core ERP product).
No one expects users to fully understand the technical details of an ERP system. They do need to understand how each person’s use of an ERP solution can impact others using it though. The promotion of user understanding relies on finding a stability between business complexity and the embracement of technologies that abridge user interaction, as well as company culture and employee engagement.