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Technology and the Future of ERPThe ERP Organizational Change Triad: Technology, People, and Processes

One thing is certain, ERP organizational change is a dynamic and complex interplay of people (or organizational culture), process, and technology. There has been a great deal of discussion, formal and informal research, and many articles (opinions, research-based, journal, case studies, etc) regarding this “triad”. And, there are plenty of views, perspectives, experiences, opinions, and questions around each one of these triad factors.

Triad Questions
  • Which triad factor is the most significant towards successful ERP organizational change?
  • Which triad factor is the most difficult to manage?
  • Which triad factor presents the greatest challenges?
  • Which triad factor presents the greatest risks?
  • Which triad factor requires the most training, preparation, and organizational learning?
  • How do advancements in the management of one factor impact the other two?
  • Which triad factor delivers the greatest ROI during an ERP organizational change endeavor?
  • Which triad factor allows the greatest flexibility and margin for error during an ERP organizational change endeavor?
  • How much does appropriate technology (system selection) make up for poor processes or poor culture?
  • How much does adequate culture and process make up for poor or inadequate technology?
  • How much does excelling at the process part of the triad makeup for poor organizational change culture and/or improper systems selection (etc etc)?
  • What other organizational, knowledge or motivational influences impact the triad interplay in general?
  • What other organizational, knowledge or motivational influences impact each triad factor specifically?

As 1) illustrated by the known challenges of ERP organization change and 2) as demonstrated by ERP organizational change research; these are legitimate and real questions that need to be explored in an effort to contribute to ERP organizational change success. An ERP organizational change plan needs to consider people, process, and technology holistically. It also needs to be mindful of this dynamic interplay of the”triad” by utilizing an ERP organizational change process that effectively implements the most appropriate technology that best supports the business processes that best advocate sustained organizational performance by supporting its people.

There Are Two Exciting Key Questions to Be Asking In Terms of Advancements in Technology

We know that the field of ERP organizational change is advancing with contributions for example from; enhancements in industry “best practice”, implementation of new ideas around business process management, implementing new approaches in project management, improved understanding and value of organizational culture, learning, and leadership, and of course advanced and emerging technology.  The future of ERP organizational change, and the ERP solutions themselves, in terms of technology is exciting. In particular, there are two interesting questions to keep an eye on as researchers and practitioners.

Key Question #1: How Will Technology Change the Triad? 

If you really think about this, this is a fascinating question. If you look at the historical advancements technology brought to ERP organizational change, this is a significant, legitimate, and frankly, fun question. What will emerging technology do for your ERP organizational change success? Ultimately, if technology doesn’t really contribute or factor into your ERP organizational change mission and success, how valuable is the technology then?

Can, or how will, technology make up for gaps, challenges, and risks within the people and process factors of ERP organizational change triad?

What will be fun to examine over the coming years is whether or not the shift in how this dynamic and complex relationship between people, processes, and technology changes. While it is unlikely that all ERP organizational change challenges will be solved by software or emerging technologies alone, let’s take a closer look at this question. What will emerging technologies (as well as those that have been around but have taken a while to be adapted) prove to contribute to successful ERP/business systems organizational change?

Key Question #2: How Will Technology Impact “True Differentiators”? 

What will emerging technologies contribute to ERP vendors and their platforms in terms of what Nestell & Associates calls “true differentiators”? We’ve written a post about the value of system selection explaining that there is “only one right fit for each and every organization”. In our 12/23/2019 post “Private Equity Portfolio ERP Success: The Value of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) True Differentiators”  we discuss how there is one best ERP solution for each and every unique organization. In this article, we emphasized how research strongly suggests that ERP systems and technology selection is a critical influence for a successful ERP organizational change project.

ERP vendors and Vendor Solutions
  • Some ERP solutions cater to specific industries while some cater across industries.
  • Some come with industry-specific configurations and have hundreds of preconfigured business processes.
  • Some cater to specific niches with little configuration.
  • Some have been around since the beginning of the ERP era and some that we don’t know about yet but will bring to the market new and exciting products with creativity and innovation.
  • ERP solutions utilize different models and often cater to different business needs.
  • Some have all the bells and whistles and try to be everything to everyone. Others are very industry-specific and cater to a niche market.
  • They often employ technology differently and have different approaches to functionality and business modeling.
  • They have different competitive differentiators that drive how they advertise and approach the market.
  • There are free and open-source ERP and there are propriety ERP vendors.
  • And there are ERP vendors that focus on add-ons only.

ERP solutions and vendors all have unique tangible and intangible benefits, advantages, disadvantages, and costs. Some of them have truly unique differentiators, some don’t, and some say they do. What matters, is not just the ERP vendor ads, commercials, or sales pitches, but what really makes for an organization’s success is being mindful of how critical the triad (people, process, and technology) and hence the true differentiators that ERP solutions and vendors bring or don’t bring to the table.

Advancements in technology and emerging technologies will certainly reset the table, but how exactly? And, what does it mean to your organization? 

Let’s Have Fun and Discuss the Trends, Possibilities, and Future of ERP As a Result of Technology 

So we’ve established that two key (and fun) questions are how will the technology factor of the triad 1) improve and advance the world of ERP organizational change success, and 2) impact the “true differentiators” between ERP vendors. So, let’s explore further.

In our upcoming posts and in our podcast, “The ERP Organizational Change Journal”, we will continue to discuss this topic with professional researchers, authors, practitioners in emerging technologies, ERP manufacturer executives, and project management researchers and experts. Where is ERP systems today in terms of technological advances and where will it be in 5,10, 20 years? Moreover, where is ERP organizational change today in terms of technological advances and where will it be in 5,10, 20 years?

In the meantime, check out this list of technologies that we will be discussing. Let’s have fun and explore all technological advances and emerging technologies in the context of ERP organizational change. How, will, can, or should the following technologies eventually add value to your organization?

The Technologies 

You may have heard of these technologies, or you may not have heard of these technologies. But over time in our posts and in our podcast, we will discuss each technology, define it, and discuss potential or current integration into ERP/business systems. The evolution and role that technology has played on ERP organizational change obviously have been significant. But, where are we heading?

We will continue to provide information, context, research and development, and deployments of these emerging technologies.

What Role Do You Think These Technologies Play?

What role do you think these technologies are, or will, play in supporting ERP organizational change success? We’ll have fun exploring each of these and understanding what impact each will, or will not have, on the future of ERP organizational change. Some of these are pretty cool technologies that are highly relevant to ERP. Some of these maybe not as relevant, but let’s discuss anyway!  Over time in our posts and our podcast, we will explore each. Also note that some vendors are even starting to brand, package, and market their “next-generation ERP” and “transformation software”.  In general, ERP vendors are using “next-generation” to mean the integration of emerging and advanced technology coupled with industry best practice. We’ll take a look at some of these vendor-specific “packages”. ERP vendors are doing some pretty exciting stuff that we would like to share out as well!

Stay tuned as we discuss and explore these specific technologies further in terms of, and specifically, its relevance to business systems and ERP organizational change:

Technologies Deserving of Discussion

3D Printing
5G
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS)
Augmented Reality
Biotechnology
Bitcoin
Big Data
Blockchain
Brain-Computer Interfaces
Cloud and Edge computing
Computer Vision
Cryptocurrency
Cyber Security Advances
Digital Operations Platforms
Digital Twins
Facial Recognition
High-Temperature Superconductors
Intelligent Automation
Intelligent Spaces
Internet of Things
Machine Learning
Machine Creativity and Augmented Design
Nanotechnology
Natural Language Processing
Quantum Computing
Re-decentralizing Corporate Information Infrastructures
RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)
Robotic Process Automation
Silicone versus Carbon Based Computing Systems
Tactile Virtual Reality
Ultracapacitors
Virtual Reality
Voice Interfaces
Wearable Technology

Authored by Dr. Jack G. Nestell

Here’s a fun link for emerging technologies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emerging_technologies

Learn more about Nestell & Associates:https://nestellassociates.com/


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