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Author's profile photo Karen Lynch

Reflections From An ERP M.D.: Why Your Business Needs a Central Nervous System

So tell me:  Why has ERP become a bad word?  (Well, technically, that’s three words.) 

As children, we all stood in front of the toy store window and gazed in awe and wonder at the bright and shiny objects for sale.  As adults, we find ourselves doing the same thing:  Oh, look at the iPads, the Smart Phones.  And, ooh, see that Big Data Solution, In-Memory Computing, Mobile Solutions for my Enterprise, Public or Private Cloud – oh, which to choose, which to choose?

Our adult “toys” are, admittedly, fantastic new innovations that offer us the ability to take our businesses to places they’ve never been before.  Places we could have only dreamed about just a few short years ago.  But, somewhere along the way, we’ve left ERP lying helplessly on the shelf.  Or, as some pundits recently and direly (yes, that is a word:  I looked it up) opined…

“ERP is on its deathbed.”

To that, I emphatically say:  Not so fast there my dear reader.  In order to make the most of all the fantastic new innovations available today, your company needs a healthy central nervous system.  Just like the human body’s central nervous system, ERP is the foundation that everything else should be built upon.  Without this, you won’t be able to take full advantage of all the efficiencies and increased profitability that new innovations can offer.  Think of it as taking aspirin for a serious illness.  You might feel better in the very near term, but you’ll eventually need to see your doctor for a full diagnosis and a prescription for something stronger.

Like many, you’re probably running your business on custom code or a packaged software solution that has been so highly modified  it no longer bears any resemblance to the solution you originally purchased.  And, I would venture to guess that those few, brilliant souls in your IT department who wrote the code are now either nearing retirement age, or aren’t allowed out of the office for fear they would be hit by a bus.  If this sounds familiar, then you are in need of the ERP M.D.!

A good ERP solution is like the result of good, old-fashioned doctoring.  Let’s treat the patient, not the symptom.  Implementing a good ERP solution will:

·     Cause your company to clean up its data.  Like thoroughly cleaning a wound so that it can heal (admittedly, this is not fun), it will be hard for your business to operate effectively if your data is dirty.

·     Integrate your business processes so that your operations run more efficiently.  Just like having a pinched nerve prevents you from being able to fully utilize your arms or legs or turn your head, operating a business where core operational processes aren’t integrated causes some departments to function at sub-optimal levels of performance.

·      Enable you to input data one time, which reduces errors and ensures that everyone in your organization is singing off the same page.  Much like when we take a multi-vitamin, we’re ensuring that we get exactly what our bodies need each day.  We’re not forgetting that all important Vitamin C or doubling up on our Vitamin B dosage.

·      Establish the foundation for innovative business processes and technologies.  Your ERP system becomes your company’s central nervous system upon which you can improve your efficiencies, and grow revenue and profitability.  Just like the development of the human body:  first we walk, then we crawl, and then we run as far and as fast as we can.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of helping your company to become physically fit by implementing an ERP solution as your central nervous system, I’d encourage you to visit (or revisit) SAP.  SAP and its partners have listened, and are offering new ways to painlessly and quickly implement SAP’s ERP solution so that you can start to receive immediate benefits.    Additionally, we offer business process solutions tailored to your industry specific requirements, all within the core ERP solution.

Once your  healthy central nervous system is in place, let’s check out some of those bright and shiny new innovations and let SAP help you to mobilize your enterprise, analyze data real time so you can conduct business in the moment, explore the benefits and savings associated with cloud computing, and more. 

To find out more about SAP’s ERP Solution for Wholesale Distribution, visit:

Karen S. Lynch is the Vice President of the Global Wholesale Distribution Industry Business Unit at SAP.

Karen is not an M.D., she just plays one in this blog.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I think it's a very valid point you're raising and I believe the recommendation from Hagemann at this year's SAPPHIRE in Orlando reflects that.

      Before you jump the new-age "toy" wagon of innovations take a breather and fix your engine if it's not there already.

      I think the fact that SAP has frozen any mayor new releases beyond ECC 6.0 until 2020 with a view of allowing their clients to stabilise and harmonise, backs that up.