I just finished a call with the CFO of a Medical Devices firm. They’re looking at a new ERP solution as they’ve materially outgrown the old one. What was interesting about that call was that a key buyer value in this deal is that the solution needs great process/business modeling and workflow technology. This buyer needs to understand how information will flow from the shop floor to the back office and all points in between. Data will also need to flow between the company and its offshore contract manufacturers.
Interestingly, I had a discussion on this very subject with Joey Benadretti and Brian Stein (President and CEO, respectively) of SYSPRO USA in the last two weeks. Their ERP product line has recently added “Power Process Modeling” to the solution mix. This appeared initially in release 6.1 of their product. Interestingly, it was Brian that was most energized about the subject (and I was glad to see this).
The appearance of these capabilities in ERP solutions signals that:
- users are increasing seeking ways to tailor how work is done in their firm
- users want the ability to differentiate how they approach some processes as it either gives them distinctive competitive advantages or permits them mechanisms to make software fit their business (not vice versa)
- ERP implementers (think systems integrators and resellers) will need to bring more best practices, business process re-engineering skills and libraries of industry-specific process/workflows to new customers
This focus on processes and workflows is long overdue and much needed in the mid-market (a strength of SYSPRO’s). Earlier generations of ERP + Workflow products have either been targeted for large enterprises or were bolt-on technologies that weren't very well integrated with the ERP system. Mid-market customers have often endured products that either were:
- implemented vanilla even though the solution didn't fit their business needs well
- too costly to modify
- expensive to upgrade, if they had been modified previously
- a poor functional or industry fit
Technology that permits these changes, easily, and makes the application of these same changes automatic in future product releases, is much needed.
If your firm is looking at new ERP solutions, be sure the new solution:
- Permits business users (not just IT) to visualize processes graphically and change these process flows easily
- Helps align user activities, processes and business strategies
- Facilitates one-time and continuous business transformation
- Provides all levels of workers visibility to workflows, outcomes, etc.
- Is fully integrated into the ERP solution and covers more than just HR or Finance
- Drives down audit costs (as it makes processes more predictable and prevents non-standard exceptions from occurring)
- Creates the repeatable, standardization your firm requires
SYSPRO's capabilities in this area should, as my call today verified, serve them and mid-market ERP buyers well for the foreseeable future.