Since we first started using an abacus to count up our money, humans have been using technology to balance their books. We’ve just got fancier tech now. That legacy of finance-centric thinking still dominates the IT world today.
Back in 2004 FBS was delivering a new ERP system for a national security monitoring company. They were responsible for life-threatening duress alarms across Australia and New Zealand. Any failure in that critical system for even seconds could cost lives. Their focus however was on their finance system... billing customers. So we asked the hard questions, worst-case scenario how long could your billing system go down for before you couldn’t recover? 10 days. Yet that was their primary concern when it came to implementing a new ERP system, not their core service of alarm-monitoring. The decision seems obvious now, but at the time we had to fight hard to realign the business with the true function of that ERP system.
Since then we’ve implemented many more ERP solutions and the problem is always the same… an obsession with finance. We’ve learnt that to deliver a more functional ERP, and to do it smoothly, we have to get them to take a step back and consider the requirements of their business as a whole. So they don’t miss the forest for the trees.