ERP Is Not Fit For Purpose
Governments around the world are starting to realize that their legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are no longer “fit for purpose” for their Public Financial Management (PFM) requirements. Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) form the backbone of government and without efficient systems, there can’t be efficient citizen service delivery.
FreeBalance has received numerous recent procurement requests for ERP-based FMIS replacements in the public sector in recent months. Among the reasons for acquiring new solutions is the inability to adapt to meet current requirements, and the use of obsolete technology.
What’s disturbing is that these are the very same products that the largest vendors are still pushing.
Why Can’t Existing ERP Keep Up With Government Needs?
These systems were custom-built for specific needs at a particular point in time. Those needs have since changed thanks to Public Financial Management (PFM) reform and modernization. Governments are faced with expensively customizing existing ERP using proprietary software languages, or opting for something modern – such as the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™.
More governments are opting to reduce technical debt and unnecessary costs through modernization. The various ERP vendors’ cloud options do not adequately support this modernization.
What’s the Problem With ERP Cloud Options?
- Cloud platforms used differ from what’s implemented on premises, meaning that governments can opt for the best solution
- Cloud application functionality lacks maturity for public sector requirements, making many of these ERP options worse that the legacy on-premises versions
- Cloud lock-in through proprietary technology will put governments in the same unfortunate high-cost situation sometime in the future
Top Three Things Government’s Should Consider When Looking to Replace Their ERP Systems
Our experience recommends that governments should question their FMIS procurement practices that are based on the rationale that this is ‘how it has always been done’ and address ‘risky’ risk management.
- Consider zero-based budgeting approaches because it’s likely that maintaining and supporting legacy ERP exceeds the cost to acquire new and modern software
- Examine software configurability to meet your needs – parameters and other techniques rather than code customization
- Identify proprietary software disadvantages and technical debt
What Is The FreeBalance Approach?
Many governments have been using FreeBalance software for decades. Some have implemented multiple generations of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™ from PC-based to client/server to web-native to cloud deployment.
Our approach differs from the typical ERP practice in that we:
- Focus exclusively on government – what we call Government Resource Planning (GRP)
- Implement our software with partners
- Leverage the knowledge gained in customer implementations to improve the product
- Understand government trends and engagement in advanced countries to build for future reform
- Identify adaptability needs to reduce code customization for implementations and progressive activation
- Add any customizations to software code for future support, and the benefit for other governments
- Leverage open standards and robust open source technologies to provide governments with more infrastructure and middleware choices
- Utilize the same platform for on-premises, shared services, public and private clouds to enable portability