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Moving On From What's Familiar: ERP Edition

Skyward Best Practices
Skyward Best Practices - Experience, Collaboration, and Leadership

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Change is disruptive. Change is expensive. Change is time-consuming.
Sugarcoating these truths will not make them go away, so we might as well be honest with each other.
The first step in improving your day-to-day operational management processes is not evaluating the best available options; it is making the decision to start looking in the first place. History tells us that even if you have a good idea of what you want to be able to do, the impetus to change is often stifled until your wants turn to needs.
There are all kinds of scientific reasons behind our resistance to the unknown, but the world does not need another amateur psychology paper. Instead, let’s talk about the specific issues that come into play when the subject of change is the enterprise software that touches every level of your organization’s day-to-day activities.


You are getting by with the status quo

This argument goes back to the want vs. need discussion, which is rarely black and white. You already know that your existing solution is less than ideal. Over the years, your team has come up with workarounds, self-made user guides, and manual integration of other programs to fill the gaps left by the core system. Unless you’re in a really bad spot, you are still able to function well enough to get by, so you don’t necessarily need to upgrade any time soon.
Of course, “getting by” is a relative term. How many more goals could you accomplish over the course of a year with the dozens of man-hours you could free up every week by instituting streamlined processes? How many times have you come up with a great idea only to be stopped in your tracks by the limitations of your technical infrastructure? How many problems would be solved if your staff could actually access the information they need to do their jobs without relying on someone else to provide it for them?

If you are like most people in this situation, the status quo is the ancient past in technology terms. Electronic payroll, automated workflows, and accessible self-service portals are all examples of the ways that updated technology can simplify your work life and make it easier for you to deliver the kind of results you’ve been tasked with. “Getting by” and “achieving success” are two very different concepts. If you wait until you need to make a change, you might find yourself in a far more untenable situation.


The cost of change is too high

You are expected to produce results for a wide range of stakeholders. Surely there are more pressing matters to be addressed within your already slim budget? That money you have set aside for annual maintenance fees is not going to cover the one-time license, training, and project management costs associated with implementing a new solution.
Then again, there are other factors in play that are impacting your bottom line right now. Total cost of ownership can be hard to pin down, which is why the need for change so often goes unnoticed. Waste as a result of inefficiency is one of the most common sources of escalating costs associated with outdated technology. By the time an inevitable event triggers your fiscal alarm bells, an internal audit will doubtless reveal thousands of dollars being lost to “the old way” every year.

From a risk management standpoint, the potential cost associated with non-compliance is harder to measure, but every bit as important. How confident are you in the privacy and security of your financial and HR data? Is your current provider monitoring for changes to Affordable Care Act requirements? Are they keeping track of upcoming state and federal reporting updates, or does that burden fall on you as well?
The cost of not changing is the biggest eye-opener. In a recent survey, we found that  our customers reported average per-employee cost savings of $6.85 with online requisitions, $12.50 with online time off requests, and $20 with accounts payable ACH, just to name a few. When these savings are spread across your entire staff over the course of a year or more, the snowball effect kicks in. Before you know it, you will find yourself saving thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars every year. These numbers do not even take into account all of the extra time your team will have to focus on higher-level projects when you present them with an escape from procedural purgatory.


The thought of retraining your team is terrifying

You have spent years trying to get your staff to be as efficient as possible within your existing constraints. Every task has been mapped out in detail, many with step-by-step guides that your team uses to bring new hires up to speed. The thought of having to go through all that training and documenting all over again can be enough to make your head spin.
A lot has changed since you implemented your previous system. In the current landscape, training is no longer based on enormous user manuals and shelves full of binders. Find a solution that comes with the right mix of on-site, web, and self-paced training. You’ll end up with a team that knows what they are doing and has the resources to polish up on their knowledge whenever necessary.

It’s time to throw the binders away. The combination of a knowledgeable staff and personalized technology will render all those sticky notes a thing of the past. Your team will appreciate a solution that is intuitive and designed with their specific roles in mind over the complexities and tedium that were par for the course with the previous generation of administrative software.

You do not just need a technology overhaul, you need someone who can provide the foundation and resources to set your team up for success and mitigate the pains associated with wholesale change. You have not gotten this far by believing everything you read or every promise that has been made to you. Start by reaching out to someone else who has been in your shoes, weighing these same pros and cons already. Ask them the only question that has the potential to put your mind at ease:

Was it worth it?

To learn more about Skyward's commitment to helping our partners move on from the familiar and into the future, contact us today. 



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