ERP systems and Business Processes: it’s not rocket science!

I’m sure most of you, fellow ERP consultants, have come to the realization that all ERP systems cater for the same business processes (doh!). Some offer more functionalities and configuration options, some less, and that is where they differ, but the underlying business processes are in essence the same: Order to Cash, Procure to Pay, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing (CTO, ETO, MTS, MTO, etc.), On-site maintenance, Depot repairs, Accounting, Finance, and more.

So why, if you know the processes, seems to be so relevant what ERP you know?
For a company hiring you it makes a lot of difference if you can “hit the ground running” – that sentence always brings to my mind the picture of a hand-wound toy car being released!:) – or not. Most of us will be able to quickly get up to speed on a new system, at least with the standard portions of it.

The issue really lies with the customized (personalized) parts, where the standard system logic might not have been followed, or with the custom integration among systems.

There is no amount of knowing BaaN/Infor Enterprise 10/SAP/NAV, etc.  that will magically make you know how the custom software is working. Only good, clear, updated documentation can help, and sometimes that is missing.

So, while it might take say 2 or 3 intense weeks to learn how SAP works if you’re coming from Infor Enterprise, for instance, if the documentation is lacking, it will take months to re-discover all of the customizations (personalizations) and integrations.

That’s where you cannot hit the ground running, you can speed up the learning process, but the curve will still be quite steep for anyone coming from outside the company.

The wider software experience you have the easier it is to cope with the task of learning your new environment, but team and manager support will make the real difference together with your curiosity and will to ask questions and learn.

Don’t be afraid to ask, nobody knows everything!


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