ERP Systems- A former higher education colleague once shared with big emotion and bigger disdain, “I did not become a CIO to oversee an ERP project.” Inarguably not the strongest leader, it was still surprising to hear those words. From a high-level perspective, it is unfathomable to imagine any IT executive today surviving, let alone thriving, without having driven at least one heavy-vetting process or full-scale implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. And the pressure to lift and shift to modern cloud solutions starts early and loudly.
An ERP system is an essential software foundation for any large business. Especially within higher education, the systems serve as the underpinning for most business transactions.
There are also often additional layers of fully-integrated, bolt-on accessory technologies. Therefore, if an ERP system isn’t scalable at its core, it stands to reason all business processes spidering out lose effectiveness. Short story long, these systems need to be maintained for peak performance. Often they are not, making it feel almost mandatory to scrap it all and start over.
Is the grass really greener?
Many ERP implementations have been in place for a decade or more. While routinely patched and upgraded, plenty of them have not been comprehensively reassessed since their original implementation.
With the changing face of higher education, system modernization is a top priority. Our ERP system, while a workhorse, continued to impede progress on all fronts. Our staff was mired in transactional tasks, our limitations were self-imposed via historical customizations and our preferred future state appeared entirely untenable given our system’s current reality. Could we ever untangle the mess we’d made?
We assessed, we were courted by the most exciting, new solutions on the market and we calculated. As peers deliberate similar decisions, it has been interesting to note that the path we chose is an uncommon one.