Change, IT and ERP - Three Forces on a Collision Course
Time to Call Maaco?
For some time I've been advising application software vendors that their solutions, even the new SOA products, aren't really enabling the nimbleness and agility corporations need. CIOs need agility worse than anyone. Let's look at a couple of outside data points.
First, we see CIOs specifically identifying agility as a problem.
"A report from consultants Capgemini has found that around 4 in 10 CIOs believe technology is not giving business the agility it needs, and 29 percent said they don't believe IT is keeping pace with business change."
Expanding on this theme is a recent study done by TEC (and sponsored by Agresso) that offered even more evidence (see http://www.agresso.com/files/_SURVEY%20SUMMARY_FINAL.pdf for the full report).
"How often do you believe that the perceived impact of making changes to your SAP, Oracle, or Peoplesoft enterprise solution has previously prevented or delayed your company from selecting business strategies that otherwise might have had a positive impact on your business?
Half the time
There are forces that are driving CIOs nuts. First, the demands being placed on businesses to be more nimble and agile are coming from all directions in an ever increasing rate. Businesses now must respond to ever more demanding customers (who want ever more personalized solutions), more channel partners, more supply chain partners with rapidly mutating businesses, etc. Governments, regulators, media, advocacy groups and more are also demanding that companies change. Lots of needed business changes mean lots of adjustments are required of IT.
The other big change driver for IT is internal not external. Think of everything IT must now support. Don't forget PDAs, laptops, telecommuter's home computers and other devices. IT has to support on-demand applications and applications that didn't even exist a few years ago (e.g., CRM, SRM, collaboration, analytics, etc.).
Together, these two forces create a multiplicative problem for CIOs. Remember Sir Isaac Newton's law: Force = Mass X Velocity? The Mass of IT continues to grow daily. The Velocity of change required of IT is growing mightily, too.That means the Force that IT solutions must bring to bear is compounding significantly. All in all, being a CIO is a tough job that's getting harder by the day.
ERP vendors really need to understand this.
One of the speakers on the Agresso analyst call today likened the current crop of many ERP solutions as having the effect of pouring wet concrete on users. Once it sets, those users, their processes, etc. are forever frozen in time. His analogy reminded me of those scenes of Pompeii we've all seen. You know the ones where people were literally stopped in their tracks centuries ago. Now, I wonder if those ancient Romans had ERP back then, too?