It's impossible to go on a digital journey to cloud ERP if your mindset hasn't shifted.
In the past, implementation was considered the end of an IT project. Many companies still believe in this concept. It originated from the traditional approach to managing on-premise solutions when you have complete control over your solution and operational environment. It's time to shift how we plan, deliver, and govern new IT implementation solutions. The operation of your business applications is entirely different in the cloud where you are no longer in full control of your environments.
Companies need to learn that a cloud system go-live is not an end-state. It is a new beginning. You will need to plan how to manage and optimize your solution, as you'll have to share this control with your cloud provider. That is why long-term and proactive planning is essential for your success and value realization. Go-live is the point when you start realizing your investment's full potential. You need to consider much more than the implementation and have all processes, tools, and resources in place to ensure you're getting the most out of your new solution.
McKinsey's analysis of delivered ERP projects shows room for improvement in utilizing the new system: Only "20% of companies manage to capture more than half the projected benefits from ERP systems." We at Columbus have more than 30 years of experience helping businesses worldwide utilize their solution's full potential. Let's see how we do it.
Build Governance When Implementing Cloud ERP
Let's start with the good news – this may be your last big implementation project. However, if you continue to work the way you did before, your mindset will be on implementation for too long, and there is a risk that you will not be 100% ready for the entire cloud journey.
We recommend you start building the governance of the future operation while still in the implementation phase. If you don't have a plan before your solution goes live, you may miss the benefits of a flexible solution that meet the needs of your business. Moreover, you may spend much more than you expected.
Operational governance will enable you to become part of the 20+% in the following McKinsey report. It's a tiny change that will make a huge difference.
Suppose you have a flexible and structured governance model built on operational principles like Microsoft operations framework or ITIL. In that case, you will automatically and safely access new versions and adopt new technologies. With that approach, you will react faster to changes in your business needs, market changes, and growth opportunities, plus expand your business, lower the cost, or be more efficient.
Let's see what has changed in two years to understand why this is important. Many will say everything: new ways of working, shortage of goods, new regulations, and now a new geopolitical situation. And in the last two years, there have been 16 releases of Microsoft 365FO, many with new features and functionalities, legal updates, improvements, and changes that can help your business keep up.
In short, you have built a foundation where you, on an ongoing basis, can grow the value of your investment. It is not about being agile or not. It is about understanding the digital journey.
- If you have an operational mindset, you are already on the journey, and use changes to your benefit or at least be in control of it.
- If you still have an implementation mindset, it can be challenging to benefit from all the new possibilities and lower the cost of releases, etc.
It is of utmost importance that you know that you have lost control. In a cloud system, you are not able to discard upgrades. There is a risk of expanding the project phase's time and cost while navigating ongoing releases. In an operations model, you will most likely still lack some control, but the mindset will help you plan your way out of it and focus on the correct elements at the right time.
The Ongoing Value of ITIL Processes and the Microsoft Operations Framework
Now you know that your systems will change over time with many new tools, functions, and features added to your solutions, and how do you get value on an ongoing basis?
The answer is the foundation for ITIL processes and the Microsoft operations framework. In those models, there are a lot of pre-defined services. Each service has its value contribution to the solution, built to ensure that you get the value and protect the solution. For example, when you deploy code in an implementation project that goes wrong, you can fix it and do it again. If you do it in operations, you cannot remove the code again. You must make workarounds or pull the system down to prevent subsequent errors. That's why in the implementation stage, it's called deployment management, and in operations, it's called release management.
Operational service must completely protect the solution; therefore, there are essential processes, best practices, and skills. You will need a deep understanding of the technical aspects of used platforms and business processes, their criticality, and how they fit together. That's why many businesses choose to work with a partner.
The team that builds the Formula 1 race car and gets it ready for the season is not the same as the one in the pit stop on race day. They have many of the same skills but work very differently. But they also work together – that is also why we have specialized teams working as one at Columbus.
We like to share our experience and give our best advice. Why not talk to someone that does this every day?