Why ERP ‘Workarounds’ Never Really Work
When an ERP system doesn’t have enough functionality, or can’t perform the functions that a business needs, employees will often find themselves using other platforms and tools, like spreadsheets for instance, to perform those functions outside of their ERP system.
Obviously, this completely defeats the purpose of having an ERP system in the first place. Employees shouldn’t need to find workarounds to accomplish tasks that they should have been able to do inside their ERP software.
There are several reasons that workarounds occur. The first time a workaround occurs is usually when a company is growing. The ERP system simply can’t keep up with the businesses’ increasing needs. Employees begin to use other methods to help make up for missing functionality.
Another reason workarounds can occur is when employees don’t have enough training. As a result, many employees won’t feel comfortable enough with the system to utilize it, and instead prefer to use other methods to achieve the same result. Sometimes, these processes can be much more labor-intensive and complicated than the ERP software would be! Change can certainly be intimidating, especially if employees have been doing something the same way for many years. But it’s important to give everyone adequate training and make sure they stick with the software until they can see how much it helps improve the speed and quality of their work.
The worst part about workarounds is that by storing data in other places, it further impedes the benefits that an ERP system provides. The only way an ERP system can be effective is if all the data is stored centrally in it. Storing the data in other areas also increases the potential for errors and lost data. Storing data in other areas is also much less safe than storing it in an ERP system.
If employees are frequently using workarounds, that’s a sign that something needs to change. Your business either needs a better ERP system, upgrades to the existing system or more training for employees.