Agile. Nimble. Fast. Responsive. These are a few words that come to mind when thinking about effective organizational change. But what about the technology that enables that change? Realistically, more frequent adjectives used in that case are: costly, rigid, immobile, and slow.
Agile business processes allow companies to quickly mobilize and adapt to better meet changing market demands. Although whiteboard sessions for process mapping may take days or weeks to develop, adapting existing technological infrastructure to meet the needs of these new or improved processes can take months, sometimes years, and hundreds of thousands (even millions) of dollars. Never mind that companies are still focused on gaining the maximum value from their legacy system investments.
Who wants to go through a five year, $30M enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation just to turn around and change the processes being enabled during the first year of using the product?
Of course, the all-familiar situation above leads to a slew of missed opportunities for optimization through digitization — a top reason for going digital in the first place. For example, although a furniture manufacturing company had ERP system for the creation and shipment of their goods, the quality of their products was tracked using pen and paper. This included hand scribbling purchase order (PO) numbers onto the corner of a piece of paper when recording the quality of the product on the order.
After leaving the warehouse, quality assurance professionals manually compiled documents by scanning, uploading, and piecemealing together an assessment of product quality. Hypothetically, all of the data captured in the documents tied back to their ERP records. However, there was no systematic check. No easy-to-reference record of each time the same PO went through a failed quality check. No alerts to management when the same product failed eight different tests on the date it was supposed to be checked.
Management realized that it was time to take the opportunity to digitize and start letting their legacy ERP play with a new tool — TrackVia.
The furniture manufacturing company built a TrackVia app that enables users to replace their manual process with a mobile tablet. The tablet is pre-loaded with their day’s work and all of the data within the tool is uploaded from their ERP. Alerts are automatically sent when products fail to pass tests. Reports are in real-time and additional effort does not need to be spent on developing charts and graphs to report back to leadership. Additionally, down the road when processes inevitably change or additional metrics need to be captured, the business can make those changes in their app without knocking on IT’s door.
A new truth is that organizations are realizing that their legacy systems will survive. After all, the costs and risks incurred on their behalf were carefully evaluated and benefits are still gained from their use. However, as business units transform their processes and procedures to best satisfy the needs of their customers, technology needs to support the speed of organizational change.
Newer technologies like TrackVia can enable business users to be agile in their adoption of the ‘digital tool-kit’ in such a way that complements rather than replaces existing legacy systems.
It’s time to start playing nice with legacy systems. This means to not forgo opportunities to optimize simply because legacy systems are difficult to change, rather it means to let the legacy system intermingle and integrate with new technology that encourages nimble and agile change.
What capabilities are missing from your legacy systems? With TrackVia, there are many opportunities to fill the gaps. Learn more by reading how TrackVia is used alongside ERP systems.