3 min readMar 27, 2024


Simplicity - VI: ERP Implementations’ Story II

Strategic Management Series

Besides the witty sayings and theories advanced in defining what simplicity is about, life shows that there’s a considerable gap between theory and praxis. In the attempt at a definition, one is forced to pull more concepts like harmony, robustness, variety, balance, economy, or proportion, which can be grouped under organic unity or similar concepts. However, intuitionally one can advance the idea that from a cybernetic perspective simplicity is achieved when the information flows are not disrupted and don’t meet unnecessary resistance. By information here are considered the various data aggregations — data, information, knowledge, and eventually wisdom (aka DIKW pyramid) — though it can be extended to encompass materials, cash and vital energy.

One can go further and say that an organization is healthy when the various flows mentioned before run smoothly through the organization nourishing it. The comparison with the human body can go further and say that a blockage in the flow can cause minor headaches or states that can take a period of convalescence to recover from them. Moreover, the sustained effort applied by an organization can result in fatigue or more complex ailments or even diseases if the state is prolonged.

For example, big projects like ERP implementations tend to suck the vital energy of an organization to the degree that it will take months to recover from the effort, while the changes in the other types of flow can lead to disruptions, especially when the change is not properly managed. Even if ERP implementations provide standard solutions for the value-added processes, they represent vendors’ perspective into the respective processes, which don’t necessarily fit an organization’s needs.

One is forced then to make compromises either by keeping close to the standard or by expanding the standard processes to close the gap. Either way processual changes are implied, which affect the information flow, especially for the steps where further coordination is needed, respectively the data flow in respect to implementation or integration with the further systems. A new integration as well as a missing integration have the potential of disrupting the data and information flows.

The processual changes can imply changes in the material flow as the handling of the materials can change, however the most important impact is caused maybe by the processual bottlenecks, which can cause serious disruptions (e.g. late deliveries, production is stopped), and upon case also in the cash-flow (e.g. penalties for late deliveries, higher inventory costs). The two flows can be impacted by the data and information flows independently of the processual changes (e.g. when they have poor quality, when not available, respectively when don’t reach the consumer in timely manner).

With a new ERP solution, the organization needs to integrate the new data sources into the existing BI infrastructure, or when not possible, to design and implement a new one by taking advantage of the technological advancements. Failing to exploit this potential will impact the other flows, however the major disruptions appear when the needed knowledge about business processes is not available in-house, in explicit and/or implicit form, before, during and after the implementation.

Independently on how they are organized — in center of excellence or ad-hoc form — is needed a group of people who can manage the various flows and ideally, they should have the appropriate level of empowerment. Typically, the responsibility resides with key users, IT and one or two people from the management. Without a form of ‘organization’ to manage the flows, the organization will reside only on individual effort, which seldom helps reaching the potential. Independently of the number of resources involved, simplicity is achieved when the activities flow naturally.

See Part I

Originally published at Sep-2020, Last Reviewed: Mar-2024




IT professional/blogger with more than 24 years experience in IT - Software Engineering, BI & Analytics, Data, Project, Quality, Database & Knowledge Management