There has been a lot of talk in the BPM world in the last few years about where BPM fits in with ERP systems. Some might see it as obvious, but most large companies, after implementing “Big ERP”, often choose to change their workflow to adapt to the strict and inflexible ERP system instead of finding a tool that would make it fit their needs better. There is an important point in here: if you are using a simple ERP tool, like Oracle or SAP, without much customization, you are probably acting and sounding just like your competitor. How do you stand out?
The Problem with an IT-centric Approach with ERP
Bill Swanton, a VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, most eloquently described the issue of omitting BPM in an organization and focusing on an IT-centric approach with ERP. An ERP may be sufficient in developing the beginning stages of your company, but once you reach a certain point – maturity – you may find yourself being governed by the software instead of using the software as a tool. Once you develop as a company and find your competitive advantage, you may need to develop a workflow to cater to your unique needs. You may eventually realize that your company is centered on the ERP process instead of the most important points, like transactions. Using a BPM greatly increases the flexibility and efficiency of your ERP.
Benefits of Layering a BPM over an Existing ERP
There are many internal benefits of using a BPM, but here are some of the main points:
- Uses a format that business users – not just IT professionals – understand
- Allows for smoother transitions for change, especially compared to changing the process of an ERP;
- Provides better standards for BPM than the ERP allows;
- Captures more process than in the ERP system;
- Drives continuous improvement;
- Communication and learning is made much simpler for all employees; and
- Reduces costs of transitioning from or changing an ERP as your business changes.
Each of these benefits is a great reason to integrate a BPM into your company, but taken together it is even more compelling.
Competitive Advantage by Improving Your Business Process
Having success with your ERP software is about more than just using it correctly, it is about visible and quantifiable improvements in your organization. Success in business often relates to differentiation from competition. Layering your own process platform may allow you the following benefits in competitive advantage:
- Faster response time to opportunity through increasing the efficiency of non-automated tasks;
- Developing a manageable escalation model, speeding up the process for escalations; and
- Analyzing risk more precisely without slowing the process down. Improving a process and removing risk may increase the speed of your business process and you can therefore do more business with the same resources.
Layering a business process management tool on top of your present ERP may simply improve the management and efficiency of your organization. However, this must be done correctly with a great attention to detail. If you would like to learn more about BPM layering on your ERP, contact us today.