It’s update season, including various versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX, all across the Microsoft ERP landscape. Some non-essential. Some forced.

Selling and managing several of these projects is giving me a front row seat to the excitement.

Recently, preparing for the daily (yes, daily) project status call with the project team for a small mid-market upgrade project, while simultaneously prepping the weekly executive overview, my iPhone informed me that it was time for a system update.

Almost subconsciously I entered my password, then got back to my meeting prep. A couple of minutes later my phone screen flashed to let me know that its latest update was finished, and I did not give it a second thought when I picked it up a minute later to answer a call, send out a text, and check the news on my favorite app.

All without a hitch or more importantly the fear of a hitch.

That is when it hit me! What if that update process mirrored the typical ERP update/upgrade?

First, and most importantly, there would be fear. Lots of fear.

Or more accurately, first there would be the marketing campaign. The marketing campaign geared at non-customers touting the fact that a desperately needed combination of new technology and functionality would allow C-Suite types to finally run their business from their Dick Tracy wrist watches.

Of course, I am exaggerating. The ACTUAL marketing messages say cell phones. Irony is not dead in this post. THEN comes the fear. The fear from the folks tasked with carrying out the project.

Next, I would put the project out to bid. My process would identify likely companies, make them fill out lengthy documents laying out in great detail my specific requirements and asking for timely responses.

The responses would be weighed, on a scale, but not read, and then promptly ignored.

Based on the weight of the responses, the next step would be to get a quote and a project plan that would ensure that a timely update will ensure that I can access the latest batch of emojis ASAP!

Several rounds of price negotiations would allow me to identify the company with the biggest disconnect between the sales and implementation team, as well as the most shameless salesman.

Having identified the low cost, most unrealistic provider for my update I would be ready to go!

Did I mention that the update is going to cost more than the original? That only some of the apps will work after the update, and depending on the current version, there might not even be an update available? Just a complete do over.

After firing two partners and spending three times as much as the original quote called for, I would finally turn on my updated phone and find out that nothing looks or works the same.

But there is an update right around the corner to fix that!

Bottom line, can anyone honestly say that the technology required to update cell phones and their associated functionality is logarithmically easier than updating an ERP system? 

An ERP system allows me to print checks; my cell phone allows me to instantly communicate with people around the world with a handheld device that has more raw computing power than NASA had to land on the moon while simultaneously launching angry birds and using an updated list of emojis to add color to my “LOL” texts.

About the Author

Peter Joeckel - Author Photo

Peter Joeckel, with more than thirty years in the ERP business helping companies select and implement software solutions, is in a unique position to offer alternative solutions for “tried and failed” ERP software selection and implementation strategies. Whether you’re in the middle of a challenged implementation or just beginning to research available resources, contact Peter and the TurnOnDynamics team today.

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