Latin American companies can achieve a new level of operational efficiency and prepare their businesses to face future challenges
"Nothing is real or a lie, it all depends on the color of the glass you're looking through," states a poem from the late 19th century, which remains relevant today. Indeed, a recent study by NTT DATA indicates that 40% of Latin American companies have already adopted an intelligent ERP system or are in the implementation process, which leads to two possible interpretations. The first one is a retrospective analysis to understand why Latin America is slightly behind other regions of the world. The second, much more hopeful, is the opportunity this number opens up for the future. I encourage you to view the situation as the glass being half full.
Intelligent ERP represents a new level of operational efficiency and collaboration. We are moving away from monolithic structures to an open and flexible architecture. There are no boundaries to incorporate new technologies. For organizations that deploy it, modernization and adaptability to changes become ingrained in their DNA. The decisions will be well-informed, based on reliable data, and in real time.
One Step at a Time
However, we must take a steady pace in every stage of the migration project to ensure that more companies in the region achieve such benefits.
Successful adoption begins with a comprehensive analysis of the objectives, ensuring they meet the organization's purpose and defining metrics and KPIs to evaluate the process and keep the company on track.
The second stage is to select the most suitable solution. A solution with proven success stories in the industry in which our organization operates or in companies with similar processes can provide us efficiency, scale, functional coverage, and ease of use, among other benefits. Another factor for success is having an expert technological partner who can design a customized journey for every task, collaborate with project management and change management, and help solve any unexpected issues.
People at the Center
It is essential to include all stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. We must explain what it is all about, maintain transparent communication regarding the impact on the areas involved, and define primary users. It is important to remember that implementing an intelligent ERP is not only about technology but also processes and, essentially, people. Successful implementation requires putting people at the center of the initiative.
It's also crucial to appoint managers who are trained to lead such projects, as their decisions can have a significant impact on the organization. Providing training and support to the involved individuals offers a key differentiating value.
Planning should be grounded in realistic expectations. The disappointment of not meeting expectations on time and target sprouts when extremely ambitious results are defined and cannot be reasonably planned and evaluated with logical indicators.
"Implementation should take six months" is an empty statement. The implementation cycle depends on the starting point, target, and resources allocated along the way.
From Big Bang to Gradualism
Indeed, there will be a debate about the most suitable approach for migration: Big Bang or gradual. Although neither is better per se, and to choose one over the other requires a thorough analysis of the organization's current situation and the context in which it operates, the reality is that gradual projects are always advisable because they extend over a longer term, reducing the risks of interrupting operations. This is essential with a solution such as intelligent ERP, which targets the core business.
In the final stages, testing often occurs when both time and budget are nearly exhausted. Still, testing should be exhaustive to ensure that the intelligent ERP goes into production and runs as expected.
A final consideration: intelligent ERP impacts the core of the business. Therefore, we must work continuously on its evolution, ensuring that it always delivers on its objectives and supports the journey of Latin American organizations into the future.