Our expectations as consumers are changing. When I was a growing up (I won’t comment on how long ago that was!), we expected to have to wait for things (“It’s in the mail!”).
As the technology evolves, the time it takes to do things, and the time we are willing to wait to do things has changed significantly (how do you feel when the company you are dealing with wants you to mail or FAX information to them?). Let’s look at some examples:
Mail – Before the 1980’s the only option for sending written communications was to write a letter and send it via the post office. Typically, you could send a letter and depending on how far it had to go, you could expect the recipient to get it in days, maybe weeks for long distances. In the 1980’s, the fax machine became a popular way of sending written correspondence. A fax could be sent and responded to instantly; however, in most cases, you had to go to wherever the fax machine was to pick up your fax. In the 90’s, e-mail became the standard and you could receive your message at your desk seconds after it was sent. Today, with Blackberry’s and iPhones, messages can be sent and received at any time of the day and night anywhere (almost) in the world.
Banking – Before the advent of bank machines, people used to need to stand in line to see a bank teller to access money in their account. You needed to get to the bank when they were open and make sure you took out enough money to cover your needs. Banking took hours and forget about getting cash on the weekend! With the move to bank machines, you could do most transactions using the cash machine and could do those transactions any time you needed to. Today, you can bank from your smart-phone, pay for items using a smart-card and even apply for loans over the internet.
Music – If I heard a song on the radio and wanted to listen to that song, I’d have to drive to the record store and get the album. If I was really anxious to get a song, I could get it within a few hours. With the advent of iTunes, I could download the song, move it to my iPod and listen to it in minutes. Today, I can download a song directly to my iPod touch or iPhone and listen to it immediately.
ERP – Before ERP systems we managed things by paper. Responding to changes took days, sometimes weeks. In the 70s, ERP systems became popular, but the systems were expensive, large and cumbersome, and very difficult to maintain. Responding to changes took days, sometimes weeks. Today...hmmm...let’s see...well, they’re still expensive, they’re still large and cumbersome, they are still very difficult to maintain. And responding to change takes days, sometimes weeks.
So...where are the advances in ERP??? Well, maybe our expectations of ERP systems haven’t changed. Maybe my customer is happy to wait for days or weeks for me to respond, right? Not likely!
Our customers want responses now. They NEED responses now because THEIR customers are demanding a response from THEM!
ERP Systems aren’t the answer. They do what they do...provide a plan and track transactions. If you look at each of the examples above, the key changes were not evolutions, they were revolutions within their industry. We don’t have mail carriers capable of instantly delivering mail (even superman couldn’t do that!), we have completely different technology.
ERP systems won’t evolve into something fast enough to meet our needs. We need a completely revolutionary technology. We need a response management system. So...why wait?