You’re the chief financial officer at your company. You’ve been at the helm for years if not decades. You’re used to taking decisions. And you normally know best. But choosing an ERP solution is a whole new ball game and perhaps it’s time to admit that you could do with some help.
CFO, you’re not the average ERP user
As a CFO, it’s naturally up to you to approve the software that your company will use. It’s also up to you to convince the board to start using a new tool. So, it’s tempting to pick a solution that will fit your expectations to a T.
But hold on! Don’t let the power go to your head. Power-crazed CFOs may think they know everything about the company, how it operates and what needs an ERP solution must fulfil. Don’t fall into this trap. Adopt a learning stance and channel Socrates: “I know one thing; that I know nothing”. Ask questions and see what your teams think. You will find out that those who use ERP solutions more than you do may have slightly different needs.
If the tool they use 7 hours a day, 5 days a week fails to live up to their expectations, it won’t live up to yours, either. After all, it’s your staff who provide the information you need to generate reports and it’s the same staff who update this information and win (or lose) time using the ERP solution. So, what if you left it up to them to choose whatever best suited their jobs?
User experience matters
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you doing as you wish. You could claim that you’re the best-placed person to choose the right management solution. But what if you’re the only one who’s happy using your chosen tool? What could you expect from users who grumble that the ERP solution is ill suited to their daily tasks? What would the outcome be other than a delay in carrying out the analyses you need?
By stepping aside and bestowing your decision-making power on users, you’ll be giving the company every opportunity to choose the best tool possible, one that matches users’ real needs. Involving users in this choice, seeking consensus and getting your teams onside will also help your ERP solution fit seamlessly into your workflow. It will be better used and help to produce better results, in terms of your bottom line and productivity.
CFOs, think of yourselves as orchestra conductors: it’s your job to oversee the impact of the ERP solution, but let the users decide how they produce that impact. With the advent of Web 2.0 and horizontal collaboration, ERP solutions are fundamentally democratic. To get the most out of your solution, make sure it’s a crowd-pleaser!