ERP proves daunting for mid-market

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 27 Aug 2015

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is for most, a daunting and overwhelming consideration - more so for the mid-market or medium-sized organisation.

So says Heath Huxtable, head of consulting and software integration at Vox Telecom, who notes that the reality is that ERP is difficult to get right.

"ERP is not only a costly undertaking, but brings a layer of complexity that is often grossly under-estimated," says Huxtable.

According to Huxtable, the complexity of an ERP deployment and implementation is due largely to the fact that an organisation will be dealing with the entire business operation - sales, procurement, marketing, stock management and everything in between.

"All of these units are businesses in their own rights, and to try and get a cohesive view of exactly what that requirement is, and to actually resolve it, is massive."

According to independent ERP research conducted by Panorama Consulting Services, 30% of ERP projects fail because of a lack of change management, lack of user involvement, training, user and high-level adoption.

Keith Fenner, chief sales officer at Sage X3, says as Africa's mid-sized enterprises expand across the continent and other parts of the world, so should they look at putting in place ERP platforms that will allow them to seamlessly manage multiple legislative environments, currencies and languages.

"Many companies in Africa are still running their businesses on home-grown legacy systems or even using manual processes," says Fenner. "In many cases, they don't have the appetite for the time, risk, and cost attached to rolling out a complex, high-end platform. For that reason, we're seeing a lot of demand in the market for systems that can be rapidly deployed to address the growing pains of a company on a global expansion drive."

He adds enterprises should be looking for alternatives to the monolithic ERP packages of the past, since the global environment demands that they evolve quickly in response to changing laws, regulations, and business conditions.

"Today's enterprise applications must be flexible and modular to cater for the complexities of a global business," says Fenner.

Huxtable says increasingly, organisations are looking to cloud-based ERP solutions. He stresses that cloud-based solutions simplify the ERP cost and complexity conundrum.

"And companies in the mid-market that are not 100% convinced of the benefit of a full-scale ERP deployment have additional routes that they can consider - it no longer needs to be an all or nothing discussion.

"Move the ERP deployment into the cloud or implement a CRM solution that can integrate ERP tool sets as required. No organisation should ever feel like there is a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach to ERP, or in fact CRM."