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A “Dynamic” twist in ERP/CRM

In recent discussions with some of the IT heads and managers during new business possibilities, I realized that the way they conceive IT as a function in the organization has changed over the years. The IT honchos are now fully agreeing to the KISS (Keep It Straight & Simple) principle and have realized that bringing in greater complexity actually prevents the way organizations would like to respond in an environment needing “flexible” responses. This does not mean that robustness and scalability is not in their mind. However, right now it has moved from realm of “pure technology” based solutions to one that can help solve business problems and are acceptable to people who are going to use this.

Some of the key IT managers are realizing that there is greater need to collaborate between the service providers and the companies in solving their problems. Gone are the days of outsourcing at application development only – it’s more collaborative, there are multiple paths and these need to be thrashed jointly so that the path chosen is optimal, if not perfect! Clients are looking at partners (read ‘Business Enablement with Technology’ partners and not ‘pure technology’ partners) who can help them in achieving the corporate goals with IT with a human face.

“Human face” is an interesting term as sometimes the recommendations coming from consultants are more to meet the contractual obligations, “make key users happy” and are actually “rigid”. The Human face talks about collaboration where there is a bit of change management along with appreciation of real business complexities on the ground. There are several businesses which have their own peculiar set of operational environment, and believe it or not there are many who would have gone with “best-of-breed” solutions for the industry which would be totally unviable and unacceptable to users and organization as a whole. Doesn’t this sound familiar? How many times have you actually seen this happen? There are best of breed solutions which though look good in conference room pilots fail to form the bond with the people in the organization.

And there comes the need for applications which are easy to use, provide lowest TCO, can be implemented fast and can be modeled to meet some of the USP of the businesses. There are several other needs for an “Adaptive” ERP/CRM solution as we might call it! However, if we look at the market you will see lot of products talking about what is “best of breed” without talking about how the organizational transformation would be achieved using the new application or even a set of applications.

I have myself worked on some of the traditional ERPs before moving to the new age ERP/CRM based on concept of usability, acceptance and flexibility. Over the years the organizations have matured in terms of business processes and the need is not to change the processes to meet the application frameworks, but the other way round! The classical debate of bringing the business to the application or vice-versa would never die as it would depend on the organizational needs and business environment. However, with products like Microsoft Dynamics in market which are growing in strength and acceptance over the years, I do see a ray of hope for those who think that they are doing business well, just that they are not able to control it well due to absence of tools/frameworks/applications which can help them streamline their “own” business processes and make them integrated. The “Dynamics” twist is there to help!!

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