The premise of this book is straightforward: The business objective you are trying to achieve determines the strategy you should follow when selecting, implementing and operating ERP.
This book was written due to the above premise NOT being standard practice. Most often, business objectives do not play much of a practical role in the ERP selection process. Executives merely instruct their people to pick the “best” system that will work for their business and “does not cost too much”. ERP implementation projects are more often managed on the basis of what the ERP implementation partner company knows, than by what the client requires. Once the system is up and running, executives just want ERP to “keep working”.
On the other hand, once one accepts that the business objective sets the framework for ERP, the focus shifts to thinking about how to ensure that this objective will actually be achieved and how the business benefits will be realized; considering the investment in time, effort and money that ERP requires.
We aim this book directly at the executive level of the organization. The intended reader is the chief executive, or a trusted executive who is tasked by the chief executive to make the strategic decisions about ERP in their organization BEFORE it commits to a course of action. This is a “use it or lose it” opportunity: Once ERP systems are selected and implementation partners appointed, the execution of ERP projects are (and should be) run by professionals with knowledge and expertise of ERP computer systems, business process design and the like. HOW they do it should be controlled by a clear strategy established upfront and firmly anchored in the business objective.
This is not a particularly difficult or arduous task for the executive decision-maker – our target audience. In this book, we present an objective-driven way for executives to think about ERP and set a strategy that eliminates much of the confusion often associated with the selection process when acquiring an ERP system. It also drastically reduces the risk and wrenching dislocations that accompany some implementations and significantly increases the probability of operating ERP in a way that will achieve the business objective and bring business benefits.