The growing abundance of new technologies available to businesses is allowing smaller players to disrupt the established market leaders.

So, how are Australian businesses investing in technology to give them an edge in local and global markets? I explore the weapons available to smaller businesses through business intelligence and data.

Last year I published The big 5 ERP selection errors a CEO should avoid and when Bob, a colleague in the USA saw it on LinkedIn, he was quick to confirm from his experience the veracity of my observations and in subsequent conversations gave me great material for this article from a recent project which I happily plagiarise here with his permission.

Having selected software to run your company the next challenge is getting it implemented and not surprisingly there is a strong correlation between the issues that cause grief in the selection process and the issues that can derail the implementation.

The big 5 for failed implementation projects are:

• Lack of clarity of the objective

• Lack of ownership

• Lack of proper resourcing

• Scope creep

• Ineffective change management

The latter is so destructive that even if you get the others perfectly executed you could still dismally fail on this point alone. It is an insidious fact that people typically don’t like change and will do whatever they can to avoid it or minimise its impact on them personally. No wonder so many companies report less than satisfactory outcomes from ERP Implementation projects.

As part of my job at Pronto Software, I receive Requests for Proposals (RFP) from companies that are in the market for ERP systems. Usually a RFP is not a short list of questions. A recent one had more than 5,000 questions to be answered, some so broad that it could be answered in a hundred different ways, some so technical that I needed the help of a specialized engineer to answer, some so vague that the answer didn’t matter anyway.

That made me think – why do companies want a new ERP?

Every so often, I get asked about the best technology for business software and ERP, or if a solution includes the trendy buzzword of the day. I typically don’t answer these questions directly as it is often loaded with preconceived ideas and influenced by marketing messages.

Instead, I ask them why technology is important and what their needs are. After exploring  a few “whys”, here are some of the real business needs that come out of these, often passionate, discussions.

I’ve found that organisations often overestimate the ease of rolling out a successful Business Intelligence program. Recognising the breadth of impact it will have on their organisation can sometimes be overlooked. There is often a lot of time spent determining the right BI technology, but once deployed, many believe the rest will take care of itself. In truth, the technology itself is often the easiest decision. Without due consideration for your people, processes and organisational culture, you might not achieve the outcomes you hoped for – or pitched to your company directors to get the budget approved!

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