July 29, 2016Doug Hadden
ERP has gone to ground. It’s the inevitable fate for once-powerful technologies that defined modern business to descend from “figure” to “ground”. Marshall McLuhan pointed out that every important medium starts by jumping out – being front and centre or “figure” – prior to descending to “ground” and becoming context. Such is the fate of the technologies known as “Enterprise Resource Planning”.
ERP is obsolete.
“Obsolete” in the McLuhan sense means something that has taken on a reduced role. The obsolete medium no longer defines what is important in business, society, or politics.
ERP, once the exciting new technology that promised so much, is now context for digital disruption and business change. It’s as if organizations acquire ERP, as one buys an automobile. Small variations in characteristics.
It has become increasingly evident traditional ERP has become a contextual anchor to slow organizational agility. Legacy ERP, partly defined by the Gartner Group, restricts change. The new “post modern” ERP is all about agility for change, growth and usability. It’s about openness and the ability to assemble solutions rapidly. Yet, the very vendors whose products are “legacy” often claim to be “post modern.” It’s the same fight for relevance that we see from the television industry whose cable news has very little news and a lot of opinion. Where history channels have little history. Music channels little music. And, learning channels with little to teach. Television has become ground for the social media figure. Reality television cannot compete with real reality – at least not social media.
So it is with legacy ERP.
Major enterprise software vendors like SAP and Oracle have escalated the marketing froth about innovation. These vendors continue to acquire companies in the SMACT world of social, mobile, big data analytics, cloud and IoT world. The latest: Oracle acquisition of NetSuite. Shouldn’t these acquisitions be unnecessary if these large vendors were innovating?
Post Modern is what Post Modern does
Major ERP vendors continue to use legacy methods of communications. The press release. The big loud conference. The use of social media as yet another channel for publicity or customer support.
In other words, it is difficult to be post modern with a legacy attitude. Enterprise vendors cannot claim to have simple and open software in this open social media world unless the software is simple and open.
Broadcast is obsolete and tired. Engagement is wired.
Enterprise software companies cannot claim to have transitioned from “legacy” technology until they adopt post modern engagement methods.