Before we begin exploring why summer is a great time to start the process of selecting an ERP system for your organization, let’s clearly define what an ERP selection process is.
The first step of an ERP software selection process is the project preparation and planning phase. In this critical step, organizations will identify the key business drivers and needs that an ERP system would help address, such as: eliminating IT bottlenecks, promoting overall efficiency/productivity, improving business processes, integrating data and systems to support digital transformation/Big Data, enabling future growth by providing a digital platform to embrace ongoing technological change, supporting the company in being more agile (with its people and technology), and much more.
Once organization-specific needs have been identified, the ERP selection project can next move to gaining the necessary buy-in from leadership for the change. Executives will need to understand and be ready to answer the “Why?” -- why the organizations would benefit from selecting and implementing an ERP system. Next, the organization will seek out a partner, an ERP provider who can help them meet their unique needs during the planning and (later) ERP implementation process. All of this planning for an ERP system must been done carefully and strategically, which means finding the right time for doing it well.
An important part of selecting an ERP system is writing a good ERP RFP.
Why to Consider a New ERP System This Summer
Reason #1: Summer is generally a slower period for most business organizations
The pace of work, production, and customer demands will generally be more relaxed in summertime. Many employees, of course, go on vacation during this period and may leave earlier on Fridays. Some organizations use the summer slowdown for training and development of its staff. Executives may use summer to focus on strengthening key stakeholder relationships, such as with anchor customers or suppliers.
Focusing on ERP is a great way to use summer slowdown time
Those same executives might use summer as a quieter time for reflecting on the strategic direction of the organization and to consider key strategic initiatives that may support the organization’s future growth and evolution. Considering an ERP system may be a great way to use summer to reflect upon, and build upon, the organization’s future.
Reason #2: You’re halfway through the year, which represents a good time for a strategy audit
The first, second, and fourth quarters are busy seasons for most organizations, when they need all hands on deck to drive the company’s strategic goals forward. The third quarter, July to September, is an important time of relative calm, when thinking and reflecting upon where you are and where you’re going next can come to the fore.
focus on long-term plans for a change
As Forbes suggests, “consider the summer slowdown as an opportunity to focus on long-term plans for a change, revisiting --and recommitting-- to the core strategies that drive your business.” So you might view summer as the year’s halfway point to see if you’re on track to meet your strategic goals for the year. If you’re not on track, you can consider strategic initiatives, such as an ERP system, that could have your organization working smarter and faster towards reaching those strategic goals.
Reason #3: You have more uninterrupted focus available for considering an ERP system
Executives and business leaders have, by necessity, grown accustomed to constant interruptions and task shifting/multitasking, all of which drain the two scarcest resources of all: time and focus. When someone on your team needs help during the busy season, they come looking for you and you need to respond with support, troubleshooting, coaching, or whatever the situation requires. During busy months, you have an email inbox bursting with endless requests. You also have meetings all day and then need to get “actual work” done once these meetings have concluded.
With summer’s slower pace and more staff out of the office, you have the greatest gift of all: relatively uninterrupted time to focus your attention on a few, key strategic goals. You can study and analyze how an ERP system would enhance the way your organization works, and you can meet with key stakeholders to consider an ERP system in a more relaxed, collaborative atmosphere that supports better focus and more immersion into longer-term initiatives.
Find out how to make ERP selection easier with our guide:
Reason # 4: You still have enough time left to make the decision and to implement an ERP system before the end of the year
If you spend a couple of summer months considering an ERP system, you’ve likely analyzed your opportunities to improve and have ultimately reached the conclusion that an ERP would indeed help your organization work smarter, you have enough time left in the year to move from the ERP consideration phase to the ERP implementation phase.
So even if you’re off track with your goals, something a summer strategy audit (see #2 above) identifies, you can then move to make post-audit decisions that can get you back on track. These decisions, such as moving forward with a more modern, flexible ERP software, can reinvigorate your people, especially if the reason for the change is clearly and consistently communicated to relevant stakeholders.
The message you’re sending when you move from ERP consideration to implementation? “We have identified problems (bottlenecks in our IT) and we are moving forward with a solution to address them, so that we can work smarter.” When you do this, people stop reactively pointing fingers and shifting blame for ongoing performance problems, and you can proactively shift to a problem solving and collaborative approach.
In conclusion, summer can offer you and your organization a more relaxed environment for evaluating and reflecting upon your long-term business goals. It’s a great time to look around corners and gaze beyond the short-term horizon. How can you better prepare your organization for the future, a future where new technology is emerging faster than ever? An ERP system, which is something you can carefully consider this summer, may be the best answer for your organization.