Complete Enterprise Automation: ERP & Workflow Systems

by Surajee Ratnayake

The Psychology of Science, published in 1966. Abraham Maslow wrote: “I remember seeing an elaborate and complicated automatic washing machine for automobiles that did a beautiful job of washing them. But it could do only that, and everything else that got into its clutches was treated as if it were an automobile to be washed. I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

This Law of Instrument talks about over-reliance on a familiar tool or using the one tool for all purposes.

Over-reliance on a familiar tool in Digital Transformation

This is a common phenomenon in Digital Transformation too. It’s a common misconception that an ERP Systems are able to do a complete enterprise automation. An ERP system can automate routine business processes and store data in a centralized location. It makes the data readily accessible to all those users who need it to perform tasks while enabling automated communication between silos or departments.

The Dark Side of ERP Implementations

Using an ERP to automate entire set of business processes of an organization is counter intuitive.  ERP projects are infamous for sailing past budgets after the implementation kicks off specially when solution requires significant customization to meet your company’s need.

Following are some common occurrences with ERP implementations,

  1. Cost overruns due to additional changes or development on ERP software because modules/ functionality don’t deliver the expectation of end customer
  2. Delays in ERP executions due to unplanned business or process requirements;
  3. High complexity in ERP Systems making it hard for users to focus on singular tasks
  4. Exorbitant costs for implementing additional workflows with the ERP
  5. Employee resistance to use ERP due to complexities
  6. Difficulty in extending an ERP to third parties-suppliers and sub contractors due to license models

  7. Does not facilitate continuous improvement due to high ERP customization cost

  8. Take a toll on business. Not enough staff to build and run at the same time.

A Balanced Approach

This is where a balanced approach is required. True digital transformation must be done through an integration of the right tools & the right mindset. It’s important to draw a line between Core ERP functions & other Process Automation in an organization.

Workflow Management Systems

A Workflow Management System (also known as BPM Systems) focuses on capturing & improving a broad spectrum of business processes by creation of workflows.

Workflow Management Systems are best suited to automate repetitive, manual business processes. They are a very good complementary addition on top of an ERP.

Workflow Systems will ease the pressure on an ERP and make the ERP more agile by extending the functionality of ERP with a flexible workflow creation tool.

A good Workflow Management System provides easy integrations with ERPs with minimal effort.
Systems like does this even better with NO-CODE integration with ERP systems. It makes the lives of IT leaders easy by helping them to create flexible workflows to extend the functionality & bring agility to rigid ERP systems.

About Surajee Ratnayake

Surajee is the CEO of WorkHub24 – Probably the best Workflow Platform you’ve come across.
His mission is to empower people & organizations to make their digital transformation journey an easy reality. He also enjoys meeting clients & partners to engage & advise on key digital transformation initiatives & also encourages sustainable living.

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