Experience or Technology? The ERP Selection Dilemma.

The ERP landscape has changed quite a lot in recent years.

There is a consistent stream of new entrants into the ERP market and an ever-increasing range of products. This raises the question of whether to go with technology over experience or experience over technology. This has stirred the industry and with that has created a situation where buyers of ERP tend to pick one over the other. The question is though, who trumps who, experience or technology?

This dilemma makes me think of the question: Is knowledge more important than wisdom?

The answer is that experience should never trump technology and technology should never trump experience. Amongst other factors in the ERP world, technology and experience live in a symbiotic relationship.

Let me explain.

Technology is the way that information and functionality is delivered. Technology is dependent on specific skill sets that exist in an organization and is often the toughest “change” to manage. Let’s call that knowledge.

Just take the push back from Windows XP to Windows 7 and now Windows 8.1. The complaints I heard were not technology related, but rather functionally orientated. Things such as the removal of the start button and then its redeployment. Consider the fact that a new skill set brought new technology but the lack of experience cost the user a lot of heartache.

Similarly, as new technologies evolve they look like shiny new objects we all need to have – as long as they are backed by a lifetime of use case experience. Often technology is way ahead of its use case abilities. It is through experience that people are able to take technology and deploy it in practical use case scenarios. This is where this symbiotic relationship comes into play.

Many organizations have the ability to develop a base application that can run on a new device or operating system or make use of new technology. However, unless you have the experience to incorporate robust functionality from many years of development of business applications, you will not get a well-rounded solution. Experience is wisdom.

When deploying an ERP system you are deploying a solution. It is not an application and it is not a technology. When you think in terms of a solution where technology meets functional experience, you will understand that deploying a product with great technology yet lacking the business functionality brought by time-tested experience will render a subpar solution. In the same way, suggesting that time-tested experience doesn’t need not make use of technology too, is short-sighted. To have wisdom one needs knowledge, but knowledge alone does not bring wisdom.

Selecting a time-tested application that has a single source, deployed across multiple platforms, means that you never have to compromise technology for experience or experience for technology.

At SYSPRO, our experience has enabled us to embrace technology without compromising the features and functions that have stood the test of time. It does not matter if you deploy on platforms ranging from minicomputers, PC-LAN, client/server, web/Internet all the way to the cloud. Thinner solutions tend to provide a one-size fits all solution. This is the trend we see in newer ERP entrants where technology is chosen over experience and functionality.

Choose wisely, my friends, and stay thirsty for knowledge by never choosing experience over technology or technology over experience again.

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