Negatives of Enterprise software


Hi, my name is Peter Gadzinski and I work for a company called MaxScheduler. We're continuing our web surveys for manufacturers and printers about software challenges they face in their businesses. We want to share our experiences. MaxScheduler has been in the scheduling software business for about 15 years. We've helped companies schedule around 300 million tasks. Myself, I'm a Scheduling Expert and Product Manager. My LinkedIn profiled is here:

Today's chapter, we're going to jump into the negatives of enterprise software. By enterprise software, I mean MRP, ERP, WMS systems. Let's start off with some scary statistics: 50% of projects experience cost overruns. 60% experience scheduling overruns, 60% received half of the expected benefit from the ERP implementation. There's also a number, I'd say 50-75% I've heard of ERP implementations as failures. Another fact, it can take six months to two years to implement enterprise software. That's quite a large investment.

Myself, I have a background as a software developer. One of the things that's always bothered me about enterprise software systems it there hasn't been an evolution in design. I'll give you an example. These are two screenshots of enterprise software, I believe they're MRP products. The top left is from the 90s, the bottom right is relatively current, cloud-based MRP software. If you look at it, there's not that much different between the two.

My point I'm getting to is that the design of these systems really hasn't been going through an evolution. Technically what you see is a whole bunch of text fields where you have to enter in values and there's some kind of wiring behind the scenes that makes everything work and sometimes that wiring can feel very mysterious. Sometimes you expect to be able to enter in a certain value, but you can't. Sometimes you end up fighting these systems to accomplish what you want to do.

To contrast this, think of what it's like to make use of Microsoft Word. You install the software, open it up, start typing. Feels very natural to pulling out a piece of paper and writing. You want to print something, or e-mail it, you don't really need to break open a manual to figure out what to do. It's pretty intuitive and it's obvious that enterprise software hasn't reached that point, and unfortunately, I think it's going to be a while until we see progress in that area.

Another tough thing about enterprise software is there sometimes is a gap between the way your business runs and how the software runs. Depending on the effectiveness of that implementation, that gap can be pretty large. What you end up doing is you try to run your business one way, and then you sometimes end up having to fight the software to track that information or track that business process.

We recently worked with a customer, they're in the business of processing bolts. They do around four million a day. Yes that's correct, four million a day. If you're going to process that many bolts each day, you want to do that in an organized manner. The way they do it is they track two numbers, they call it lot and bin numbers.

In their situation, they bought a off-the-shelf MRP product, one of the more popular brands. I'm not going to mention which it was. They went through a sales and implementation process and they ended up in the situation where the bin and lot numbers could not be tracked within this MRP software. Basically what happens is they had to throw the thing out. They were lucky enough to get their money back, or at least some of their money back, but I'm not surprised that stuff like this can happen in the enterprise software space.

Another challenge with enterprise software is you have to constantly keep the information clean. In software there's this kind of guiding principal, 'garbage in, garbage out'. You can't expect a good productivity out of a piece of software if you keep putting in garbage information in. Going back to the design issues, which you can often see is it's awkward to carry out tasks with enterprise software.

When you implement an enterprise system your employees will be spending a lot of time in these systems and you should be aware of this. Also balancing it with the idea of how much benefit are you getting out of this software systems. I mention this point because sometimes you can kind of use these systems a bit more simply and get a lot more bang for your buck, balancing with the amount of time you put into it. If you put in all your information and try to keep everything up to date, it can take a lot of time on your part or your employee's part and you might not get that much benefit out of it.

Another aspect is it's a huge investment to purchase and implement an enterprise software system. Once you've done that, there's still ongoing costs, such as support and upgrades.

This is the end of the chapter. Thank you for your time. If you have any comments, questions, or are interested in MaxScheduler, our scheduling software, please reach out to us through Have a good day.

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