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Optimize Business Processes to Limit ERP Customization

Identify the best targets for process optimization and focus on configuration. Just say “no” to everything else.

  • Delivering value from your ERP system is hard work. In 2012, under half of organizations who recently implemented an ERP system realized the value they expected from their ERP system.
  • Customizing your ERP system is extremely expensive and often pushes you off the path to upgrade.
  • Focusing on configuration will deliver ERP value with minimal effort and increase overall end user satisfaction.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Your ERP system is not about the technology, it’s about the business processes and the people using the system. Focus on these two aspects as a cost effective way to optimize your ERP system.
  • Some business processes need customization, but most don’t. Identifying which ones are key to your business will help you hone in on where the effort should be best spent.
  • Discovery workshops are the key to rapidly changing a business process. Build discovery workshops to speed up the optimization process.
  • You can’t forget to manage the change at the organizational level. Academic research points to a lack of change as one of the key reasons ERP implementations don’t deliver the estimated benefit.

Impact and Result

  • Prioritize business processes that are key to your organization’s success.
  • Develop discovery workshops that will uncover easy-to-fix configuration problems that will deliver ERP value and improve collaboration in your organization.
  • Improve key process performance indicators such as, cycle time, defect rates, and service delays.
  • Introduce ERP optimization as a standard procedure that IT will perform on a regular basis.

Optimize Business Processes to Limit ERP Customization Research & Tools

1. Define your process improvement SOP

Ensure ERP optimization via configuration becomes a core IT activity

2. Prioritize and optimize your business processes

Identify which business processes will be optimized first

3. Launch and monitor the optimized business processes

Minimize the resistence to change through training and monitoring.

Identify the best targets for process optimization and focus on configuration. Just say “no” to everything else.

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Get the help you need in this 1-phase advisory process. You'll receive 4 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

  • Call 1: Review and justify the prioritization of identified business processes

    Identify which priorities are key candidates for improvement.

  • Call 2: Review identified processes and associated projects

    Decide which approach to take to improve the identified business processes.

  • Call 3: Discovery workshop building and feedback collection

    Facilitate internal sessions with staff to analyze processes and identify opportunities for improvement.

  • Call 4: Understand how to manage ERP optimization change

    The improved processes have to be incorporated into the ERP system. Appropriate project proposals are the first step.


George Goodall

Tom Rochefort


  • Arturo Duque, City of Miami
  • Brett Feddersen, Government of Boulder, Colorado
  • Chris Devault, Panorama Consulting
  • Dan Veneris, Airgas Inc.
  • Georgina Anderson, McGladrey LLP
  • Jim Wisdom, City of Lawrence, Kansas
  • John Staab, Rainforrent Inc.
  • Mathias Kirchmer, University of Pennsylvania
  • Nick Staicu, Moneris Inc.
  • Richard Traeger, MPC Inc.
  • Robert Jones, UNTSystems
  • Sheldon Watson, McGladrey LLP
  • Walter Tota, Litcom Consulting
  • Zainab Alibaba, Interswitch Inc.
  • 2 organizations contributed information to assist with the development of this project blueprint. Due to the sensitivity of the information, the contributors requested confidentiality.
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