“In my 19 years of implementing ERP systems, absolutely none”, I admitted and my colleagues confirmed this.  “So why do you try to conform to something that is actually not normal?”, the consultant asked. “Because that is what the customers want to hear: ‘Vanilla ERP system’, ‘Cloud’, ‘Agile’, ‘Fixed price’, these are all the current buzzwords”, said my sales director, on which the consultant replied “So you are consciously deceiving your customer?”, the consultant asked.

 

Updating strategy

Every half a year Kaya Consulting is updating its strategy using a business model canvas in which we are discussing our value propositions and customer segments etc. So our discussion above became a bit off topic, but interesting none the less;

–          We have emerging trends of cloud

–          We want increasing access via mobile devices

–          We have emerging new market segments

–          And there is the internet of things going on

So who are those customers? What is our value proposition? What does it take to be able to deliver? Which are our channels? These were all key questions part of the theoretical model but it all boiled down to a more practical question that started the discussion above: “have you ever implemented an ERP system without any modifications?”

 

 Does vanilla ERP exist?

“So why not? Every customer is asking for it! So why is this not possible?”, was the follow up question from the consultant. Well let’s see, to start:

–          Every customer has its own identity. Every document will need to breathe that identity, so that by itself means we need to modify the layout of the reports.

–          Every customer is doing business with other vendors and customers. And if we want to automate the exchange of information then we are talking about creating interfaces! Even EDI doesn’t work since there are different EDI standards, which is a paradox right there.

 

Reasons of ERP system modification

But the real reasons most of the time are:

–          That company processes cannot be changed to a standard ERP system, sometimes because of statutory regulations or simply because of the situation of the company, whatever that might be.

–          Adapting ERP systems is simply more efficient or cheaper.

–          And most of the time the business process is simply perfectly fitting the company`s needs, so why change it to something less effective just so you don’t have to change the ERP system?

“So the conclusion is that the normal customer, with the normal set of employees with normal company procedures in a normal country with normal customers and normal vendors doesn’t exist?”, the consultant asked. “If it would exist, I think that it would be very normal for every normal person to start a normal business and compete”, the CEO of Kaya Consulting confirmed.

 

“So there is your challenge: ‘Do you dare to tell the customer that they are far from normal? And that modifying the ERP system to the customer`s need is a normal thing to do?’, the consultant asked. “We have to! everything else is deception”, the sales director stated.

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