Manage the Change or Change the Management during an ERP Software Selection: The Change

Change happens all the time—but why are changes in our personal lives similar to those in our professional lives?  There are some major events that occur and change things forever. For an individual, such a change can be caused by marriage; for a company, by the selection of an ERP system. There is always a way out when relationships stop working (both between people and companies), but it can be painful—and stressful to go through.

Why are Changes in Our Personal Lives Similar to Those in Our Professional Lives?

Companies are made up of individuals who have similar behaviors—both at work and at home. Let’s take a look at the similarities between the two:
1. We usually have our initial meeting with our partner-to-be in a public place (restaurant, night club, concert, etc.). The same applies when meeting a software vendor (tradeshow, conference, expo, etc.). Either way, we try our best to make a good first impression.
2. On our first date, we’ll try hard to impress our partner-to-be, as the vendor will try to impress a potential customer during a product demo. In both cases, we tend to forget to mention our weaknesses—and put more emphasis on our strengths.
3. When we decide to take the big step, we need to really understand what the change (caused by both marriage and purchasing an ERP) entails. Most failures, in marriages and implementations, are caused by decisions that were not very well informed.
4. Finally, when things are not going very well with our partner or software vendor, we start looking elsewhere and (oftentimes) decide to change. This is perfectly normal; as long as we learn from our initial mistakes and try to do it right the second time.

You can take control of the change by following these simple steps:

1. Do not blindly following the others or let yourself be influenced: In both marriage and software selection, we sometimes tend to follow others because it seems like the right thing to do. You shouldn’t get married because all your friends are doing it and you shouldn’t look for or replace your current ERP system because everyone else in your industry is doing it.
2. Understand the disadvantages: It’s important to understand the disadvantages change will bring preferably before it happens. It is more important to understand the disadvantages of change, because it’s the weaknesses—not the strengths—that can make a relationship (personal or professional) fall apart, if not understood and dealt with accordingly.
3. Be reasonable and realistic: Do not expect a major change to happen and answer all your problems. A partner and a vendor can help you deal with problems and issues, but do not expect them to fight your wars or come up with miracle solutions to everything.
4. Do not try to hide the dirt under the carpet: Remember, there are always two parties involved in a major change such as software selection or marriage. Change can and will be less painful if the two communicate and share thoughts, feelings, etc. It can only be successful when everyone involved is aware of what’s happening and can contribute.

To conclude this post, I would like to share with you a quote by the German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on marriage and love—which also applies to software selection: “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.  A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.”

For another take on ERP and marriage, read “Why Selecting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Is Like  Planning Your Wedding”.
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