Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are a critical part of any government, but they can be expensive and difficult to implement. Technology analysts, the Gartner Group, made quite the splash back in late 2013 by characterizing Tier 1 and Tier 2 ERP software as “legacy”. The premise of the argument was traditional ERP systems require too much customization making it difficult for organizations to adapt to change.
A lot of governments are still using outdated legacy ERP systems, even though there are better, post-modern Government Resource Planning (GRP) options available. ERP systems are expensive and difficult to maintain and they’re not very scalable.
Post-modern GRP software is the answer. Read on to learn about the advantages of post-modern GRP systems which are customizable to fit the ever-growing need for progressive activation and a lower total cost of ownership.
What is the Difference Between Legacy and Post-Modern ERP Systems?
Post-modern means many things depending on the discipline, but within the context of legacy ERP vs post-modern GRP, there are three main themes:
Pace of Change
Post-modern can mean that the pace of change is so rapid it’s impossible to distinguish what is more modern. This means enterprise software designed in the old paradigm, the ’90s, was not designed for rapid changes, adaptation or agility. Gartner is quite right to make the distinction.
The modern era was characterized by broadly accepted meta-narratives. Post-modern brings many of these narratives to question. We’ve become sceptics when we analyze the new wealth of information relative to these meta-narratives. The ERP meta-narrative is that it is possible to support almost the broadest enterprise needs with a single suite of integrated software that will have the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
The high technical debt of implementing and maintaining ERP bloatware and the difficulties of intra-suite integration have caused great scepticism about vendor propaganda. (Of course, leading vendors have jumped on the “post-modern” bandwagon by claiming compliance with the concept.) “Best practices” are the other major tired enterprise software meta-narrative.
Analog to Digital Thinking
Computerization has been characterized by improving analog concepts. Accounting, word processing, spreadsheets, video on demand etc. Marshall McLuhan pointed out, any new medium takes the previous media as content. At some point, the “medium becomes the message.” That happens when the impact of the medium exceeds any message, and when the medium takes on the true characteristics of the medium.
We’re seeing this through the combination of social, mobile, and big data for new business models and the shift of power from institutions to communities. In other words, so many of the leading enterprise software companies are stuck in the analog way of thinking – where “economies of scale” are enabled through proprietary technology in the analog world.
Today, however, open technologies drive economies in the digital world.
The ‘Run Simple’ Myth
One of the Tier 1 ERP vendors has been touting “run simple.” This is an odd positioning for a company that has been selling complex for so long. The problem facing legacy vendors is to reduce the burden of customization – not by providing improved configurability – by convincing customers to use non-differentiated vanilla features. Or, in the government context, change artificially manipulate PFM reform plans to laws so that the software processes are legalized. (Of course, one of the reasons for this “run simple” approach is that the latest generation of software isn’t yet mature.)
Configuration Advantages of Post-Modern Systems
Some don’t believe that a mostly configuration approach is possible in enterprise software. They have a point. Every enterprise software domain introduces complexity in configuration. It really isn’t possible for configuration to provide deep adaptability for a product suite that covers public and private sectors and horizontal domains like ERP, SCM, CRM and PPM together. Unlike the configurability of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™.
Cloud providers have shown how configuration for horizontal domains for many organizations can be supported. FreeBalance is showing how massive configuration is realistic within a single vertical market – government.
Post-modern systems such as the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™ are more agile and customizable than legacy ERP systems. They empower governments to be more nimble in their operations, which is important in the ever-changing landscape. If you are looking for an integrated financial management system that improves governance, then a post-modern GRP system may be the right choice for you.