There’s still a great appetite for ERP tools despite the fact that they’ve been around for quite some time. To me an ERP system is like a ready made meal – packaged, pre-processed and on the outside quite a nice idea. The idea behind ERP is that you have a bunch of processes that support key organisational capabilities built into an integrated software system. It’s a fix, but it doesn’t fix everything – there are always processes that need to be changed and gaps that need to be filled.
A BPMS on the other hand is like picking your ingredients and making a meal – it’s more time consuming and costly, but ultimately you get something that is a lot more satisfying. Some BPMS have ready made modules that mimic ERP systems but in my experience they aren’t quite there yet.
Ultimately, like a ready-made meal – you buy an ERP system it and it may not be quite as tasty as you expect. You might have to add a bit of salt or some sauce. But going back to the factory to ask them to change the recipe is somewhat expensive!
I don’t think ready meals are the answer, and I don’t think cooking from scratch is the answer either. I think the future lies in BPMS having libraries of standard, re-usable processes that can be picked up and altered to suit the organisation – but I still see organisations spending huge amounts of effort building processes from scratch. I believe the lines between ERP and BPMS will blur to the point where ERP will cease to exist as a concept.
The future is still cooking from scratch, but the ingredients will be all prepared for you – simply season to taste.