Despite the increase in use of technology within businesses, many organisations still face drawbacks due to disjointed or ill-fitting business management systems.

This happens all too much when a company invests in an ERP system that addresses immediate needs but does not fully understand the longer-term roadmap or future requirements. Down the line it becomes clear that the application does not have the tools or flexibility that is required to realise productivity benefits and growth. When faced with disconnected systems and spreadsheets, the time and costs required to manually manage data can significantly impact day to day performance.

Did you know?

Implementing the right ERP system can reduce operational costs by 23% and reduce administration costs by 22%.

People don't like change.

Change is necessary to enable a business to progress and there are ways to greatly reduce the risk associated with new ERP implementations. Implementing an ERP can be a big investment in both effort and cost, and may require replacing the digital workplace of the company so the risks need to be managed. Preparing for change is essential, when staff are not engaged in the process of selecting and implementing new software, they are often concerned that they will have to adapt their way of working and are more resistant to taking on any change.

How to ensure project success?

Step 1:First, think about how your business systems and processes operate, don't focus on software. With this approach, you and your technology provider will be able to make sure that all aspects of your business needs are catered for. Many of your operational requirements will be common through different businesses and sectors, and others will be unique to you. Identifying these is the first step in identifying a solution with complete interoperability, fit for today and tomorrow.

Step 2: Look for people with appropriate skills and experience to work with during the implementation. The skills required to support you with designing and taking on a new business application are different to the skills needed to support and maintain the application once in every day use. You will want to find a supplier who is able to provide you with a proven and collaborative change management process.

Step 3: Flexibility is key. You shouldn't have to work around your systems, your systems should work around you. A well designed ansd implemented business system will provide all the functionality you need without unnecessary extras and workarounds that do not suit your operations or add value to the business.

Step 4: It is common to engage consultants who specialise in project and change management which prevents your IT resources being consumed with managing the implementation on top of their day to day tasks. If you do not have a consultant available, make sure you seek a provider who will work in partnership with you to achieve common goals.

Why not choose Open Source?

If you decide to select Open Source, you will not only receive support from your implementer, but you also have the peace of mind that sitting behind your software is a community of hundreds or thousands of experienced developers who maintain the code, develop features and enhance security.

Having access to the source code means that specialist companies will be able to tailor the ERP system to suit your exact needs. This is where Open Source really bridges the gaps that proprietary software is unable to fill as proprietary providers often expect you to adapt your business around their standard software.

Open Source also prevents your supplier locking you in so you always have the choice of engaging alternative providers should you be dis-satisfied with the services provided by your existing supplier.

Our advice

Choose a technology partner who doesn't see you as just another project. A provider who's own business model is aligned with delivering your solution will naturally be a better fit than one who's objective is selling you a software product. When evaluating your technology partner, consider someone who:
  • has the capability to understand your business
  • cares about delivering a successful outcome
  • adds value to your business
  • considers your long term objectives
  • provides support throughout the process
  • empowers you to be in control of your business and software
  • is culturally compatible with your team

Remember, you shouldn't have to design your business processes to suit your software.

What we do

OpusVL have been delivering professional open source business solutions since 1999. We typically meet 80% of your business requirements with free, out-of-the-box open source applications which have no upfront or ongoing licensing fees. This approach leaves the vast majority of your budget available to be invested in the processes which makes your business unique and where you have most to gain in terms of scale, competitive advantage and freeing up resources through automation of administrative tasks.

Posted by Lauren Westley & Liam Elkington on 01/07/2016