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Standard Processes, Custom Decisions

March 10, 2011 No Comments

I gave a webinar on Smarter ERP with Decision Management and one of the tweets during the presentation – “Standard processes, custom decisions” prompted a few requests for more details. So, here goes.

When I talk to companies about their ERP implementations we often end up discussing the balance between standardization/globalization and flexibility/localization. These companies invested in an ERP system or other enterprise application in part (sometimes in large part) to get a standard system – standard data, standard processes, globally enforced. But when they come to implement it they find that local variations or product-specific exceptions undermine this attempt at standardization. They end up as one company said to me with a “worldwide standard process with hundreds of local exceptions”. This is far from idea as they know have to manage a much more complex process – the actual process has hundreds more elements than the original “simplified” process that was envisioned. This reduces agility, increases risk of errors and problems, reduces the ability of the various groups involved in the process to share and collaborate, and makes it harder to spot opportunities to improve the core process. Plus the process diagram is ugly.

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