Workarounds: symptoms of a failing ERP

A key indicator of the need for your business to implement or upgrade an ERP system is the number of workarounds that your employees are using to get their jobs done. Workarounds are those activities that your employees manage outside of the accounting system, ERP or CRM. Employees use workarounds either because the system is too complex, too slow or isn’t serving the changing needs of the business.

The many forms of workarounds
Workarounds take many forms – Excel spreadsheets on someone’s local hard drive, a spiral notebook with notes accumulated over the years, or sticky notes that adorn worker cubes. A few examples that may sound familiar include:

  • The salesperson’s Excel spreadsheet which includes every one of his contacts and opportunities
  • The warehouse notebook that lists the special shipping requirements for each of your customers
  • The spreadsheet tracking partial orders received and payments made to vendors
  • Reports that have to be compiled by cutting and pasting from multiple standard reports

Corporate assets at risk
Workarounds may seem harmless enough – just a quicker way for an employee to get her work done – but they endanger the business. Every Excel spreadsheet and notebook that holds the intellectual property of the business is at risk of being lost or stolen. Almost every company has a story of a salesperson who walked away with his contact list and valuable prospects were lost.

Cycles of inefficiency
The time each employee spends tracking or creating information outside the ERP or CRM system is just the beginning of the cycle of inefficiency that workarounds create. If another employee needs the information, there is a cycle of emails or time spent physically tracking down the notebook. Reporting on anything that is managed outside the ERP system is likely to be incomplete and outdated.

A better way
There is a solution to workarounds. You can encourage your employees to use an ERP or CRM system if it is easy to use and supports the way they do their jobs. Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are designed to solve the problem of user adoption. Integration with all the Microsoft Office solutions, including Outlook, keeps employees in the system – because it’s easier.

Let’s talk about your company’s workarounds and find a better way to do business.

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