Enterprise Resource Planning: To Legacy, or Not To Legacy?

Mar 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM


How much is your company planning to spend on its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system this year? If your answer, like many companies, is next to nil – what are your reasons for not upgrading? Please note, that my questions above are not meant as bear traps of embarrassment. If you are not planning to upgrade or invest in ERP this year, you are actually in quite good company.

In a Forrester survey, cited by Jeff Moad at Manufacturing Executive, 72% of Enterprise Resource Planning customers plan do not plan to invest in ERP systems in 2011.

Moad offers a quote by Geoffrey Moore that seems to offer fairly succinct reasoning for not investing in ERP:

“It’s like building the Interstate Highway System. It’s done.  Time to move on.  Enough is enough.”

On the surface, Moore’s analogy describing a company’s decision not to invest in ERP is easily digestible, and seems to make logical sense.  Of course, this analogy only makes sense as a proof point until we decide to break it down to its most literal components.

In other words, an Interstate Highway may be ‘completed,’ but investments will always be made (or should always be made) to make improvements – whether it’s resurfacing, fixing potholes or expanding lanes.

In the same way, a legacy Enterprise Resource Planning system may be ‘done’ (ie installed and implemented) – but there always exists the ability to make improvements.

As an ERP system evolves, its latest release and applications offer significantly better capabilities than when they were first installed at a client site – even if installation was as recent as one year ago.  Just a few of the improvements I’ve been a personal witness to in regards to ERP, both on the development side and on the implementation side – courtesy of working with Microsoft Dynamics – include:

- Enhanced ability to integrate with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM);
- Growing status as both a System of Record and a System of Engagement (as noted by Moad);
- Assimilation of consumer-oriented technologies, including mobile and social media (as noted by Moad, and by myself in this post focusing on the integration of social media and ERP).

Making the entire decision to not invest in existing ERP systems a bit fuzzier is that most vendors will offer upgrades and updates for minimal or non-existent costs.  This means that the innovation companies seek by ‘moving on’ – or moving investments away from ERP into new technologies – is not only counter-intuitive, but costly.

Again, this post is not meant to call out or embarrass any readers.  Rather, it’s simply meant as statement of facts.  And the facts are that upgrading ERP is strategy far friendlier to innovation and the bottom-line than more than 70% of companies realize.


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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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