Monday, 23 January 2017

CEO Education

ERP vendors have often described to me their prospects as being in a “raw state”—raw in the sense that they are new to the process, haven’t done this before and are expecting some guidance. While having a prospect eager for guidance is great for the vendor, they find themselves in a dichotomy.

On the one hand, by wanting to provide great truthful advice, some vendors can, unfortunately, place their sale at risk when competing vendors tell a contradictory and simpler story. On the other hand, some clients, while needing the advice, view it with a high degree of skepticism, thinking the advice might be manipulated because, “After all, they are just trying to sell me something.”

There is no doubt in my mind that executives contemplating replacing their ERP system should obtain some education in this process before they embark on their journey. It is critical they understand what it takes to get the best from software vendors and to fully understand how they should behave in the relationship, thereby ensuring they have the right resources and budget to ensure success.

Until recently this education has been sadly lacking, leaving executives to their own devices. This is, in my view, a major contributing factor to the very high failure rate of ERP implementations. It is unacceptable that in excess of 85% of them fail in some form or another. What is also unacceptable is the high number of acrimonious relationships between client and vendor. This is a major reason why there is such a high churn rate between vendors. I know some successful Microsoft vendors, for example, who have based their whole growth strategy on picking up unhappy customers from other vendors.

While this is great for them, my view is that these relationships should not get to the point of failure in the first place.  This situation should not exist. There has been a significant level of pain and financial waste to get to that point. We should do something to stop it.

Some education on what is an acceptable expectation for both parties helps to set the stage for success. Unfortunately, this understanding is currently being forged in the heat of battle.

Should this type of education be available before executives commenced their ERP journey and entered into a relationship with a vendor, I firmly believe the number of executives whose careers are put at risk due to failed implementations would be dramatically reduced, and the success rate of implementations could be in the 80 percentile rather than the failure rate being at this level.

For this reason, I have developed two workshops designed specifically to help executives select the right product in the first place and to show them how to successfully implement their ERP.

For more information on my workshops, contact me on: and have “Workshop” in the subject line.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely hope the Christmas and New Year break was an enjoyable one for you.

I was catching up on some emails & checking my Twitter account this morning when I noticed this posting from a company asking "should you (being your company) upgrade to Dynamics 365 or stay with your current version of AX".

Some quick background for those not in the Microsoft eco-system. Microsoft has recently released their latest cloud ERP offering to the market and called it Dynamics 365. It is a combination of a number of their existing products such as CRM, NAV and AX. They have renamed the AX product as operations in the new version.

Back to this morning... I followed this link and was presented with a questionnaire that was supposed to provide me with guidance on whether an upgrade to the new version was suitable for me or not. I completed this form and surprise surprise, it recommended I consider upgrading. This was in spite of one of my answers indicating I preferred an on-premise solution. So I answered the questionnaire again, this time with a different set of answers. Surprise surprise, it still recommended I consider upgrading. I did this with a third set and I think you know the result...

Software vendors really don't do themselves any favors with blatant tactics like this. It is clearly not designed to provide the customer with any genuine information about what is in their best interests or not, but simply to generate a sales prospect. It is no wonder that over the years so many organisations have got themselves into trouble with ERP implementations. This poor attitude towards the client has to change. And while not all software vendors are in this category - unfortunately, a large portion of the industry is.

Clients of ERP vendors and those considering changing their systems, really do need independent help to sift through this type of rubbish. Just as a buyer's broker can provide great assistance to those who don't buy cars or real estate regularly, an independent ERP consultant can be worth their weight in gold for those who don't buy or upgrade ERP systems often. (On another point, not only because I am heavier than my Doctor would like me to be, I provide great value to my clients, and so am worth a lot of gold ;-) )