Kumar and Goyal (2011) have stated that “Over the last two decades, the ERP market has grown from strength to strength , and the ERP system has almost become an integral part of any part of any enterprise worth its salt.” The authors then go on to report that “the ERP market is currently about $ 40 billion in total revenue, consistently ranks among the top IT spending priorities for enterprises, and is expected to grow to more than $ 50 billion by 2013.” (Ibid)
With such figures flying around, I, for one, am obviously going to ask some basic questions and share the outcome of my thought-process and research with you in the course of what follows:
– who is spending the money?
– whom is the money being spent on?`
– to what end is the money being spent?
– what exactly is “ERP” (Enterprise Resource Planning) and did it exist previously – in other words, have we not yet realised that this wheel had already been invented and was in use prior to being baptised ERP by some marketing and/or management gurus and/or priests?
– that the ROI is worth the effort seems obvious – I do not see any enterprise “worth its salt” (Ibid) to pick it up from the authors cited above – but then the question is, why has it gained importance today of all other days?
The same authors also quote the Project Management Institute in saying that “70 per cent of all ERP deployment projects fail, are late or go over budget.”
Now, wouldn’t facts such as these not send you raving mad and running amok? I was on the verge of the latter when I was distracted by a more pleasant sight that led me to a rare and brief moment of lucidity in which I asked myself the following question and its subsidiaries as follows::
– why did the ERP deployment fail though?
– is it because the leadership is not qualified enough?
– is it because the ERP deployment was not adapted to the enterprise’s needs?
– is it because, imposed on the resources, they did not understand how, why, when to best use them?
On the other hand, if the enterprises have spent $ 40 billion and are going to increment that spending by a further $ 10 billion, with $ 28 billion being lost thus far, the enterprises are planning a further loss of $ 35 billion by 2013. These facts sent me of my rocker all over again!!!
Another day, another line of thought: if processes as simple as “IDEA Board (Improvement Driven by Employee Action)” (Johnson, 2011) were to be deployed, and the billions of dollars spent on employee empowerment with initiatives of this type, then, not only would the improvements in those organisations’ operational processes be best adapted to themselves, but it would also mean that incoming managers would have to adapt their methods to suit the existing operations rather than twisting the organisation’s operations to suit their needs.
The above reflection would lead anyone worth his/her managerial salt to ask a him/herself a fundamental question: when an organisation employs a manager, is it to manage the resources as it best suits that specific organisation or is the employment based on adapting the organisation to the manager’s modus operandi?
Alleyne (2011) quoted Murray (2011) who shared that, “unless you train your managers and executives, [they] are not going to be able to speak the same language… [or] be able to lead by example… [even] sustain the program.” The author also quoted Beckles (2011) who referred to “the success of the Survey/Feedback/Action program within his company” (Ibid). Through my own experience, I have been able to learn that both of the above are based on efficient measures of communication within the organisation.
Robertson (2011), argues that “When done wrong, it [employee empowerment] can be devastating for both, the business and the workforce.” In keeping with this train of thought, any financier worth his/her salt will definitely be very hesitant to relinquish any part of his/her control that s/he enjoys. That is the case of most corporate executives who have a lot to lose and not enough in terms of guarantee – as any banker would (re-)act.
As such, we stand confronted with the best interests of the business and it’s operation whilst safeguarding it’s resources versus the stockholders’ interests and the guarantee that they require to get competitive returns on their investment in the organisation.
Barnes (2011), points out “it is (…) fitting to give back to them [employees] what they rightfully deserve, especially those who have become the most loyal to the company.”
Polonsky (2005, 1063-4) defined stakeholders as individuals or groups thereof who present “three features, namely:
(2) affecting/being affected by the organisation;
(3) the sense of an interest or right in an organisation.”
Therefore, if we group stockholders and employees as stakeholders (as marketers like to label them), then we can deduce that it is in the best interest of the organisation to protect the interests of its investors as well as those of its employees.
While paying dividends to investors is one way of protecting their interests, rightly implemented employee empowerment measures are paramount to protecting the employees’ best interests. Both can be achieved by means of better communication which will raise the organisation’s credibility amongst its investors and improve its operations carried out by its employees.
These are just two aspects in which better communication can help in improving an organisation’s reputation amongst a more or less random cross-section of its stakeholders..
Alleyne, R., (2011), Top Employers share Pearls of Knowledge, The Barbados Advocate, available at http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=business&NewsID=19543
Barnes, W., (2011), “Encourage Employee Empowerment Through Corporate Gifts”, Management, available at http://articlesbeacon.com/business/management/encourage-employee-empowerment-through-corporate-gifts
Johnson, M., (2011), Lean Leadership and Employee Empowerment, Michigan Tech – Continuous Improvement Blog, available at http://blogs.mtu.edu/improvement/2011/08/08/78/
Kumar, K., and Goyal, A., (2011), Best Practices for Successful ERP System Deployments, Supply Demand Chain Exevutive, available at http://www.sdcexec.com/article/10282391/best-practices-for-successful-erp-system-deployments
Polonsky, M. J.,(2005), Stakeholder thinking in marketing, Business & Economics, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 39, Number 9/10, Emerald Group Publishing, available at http://goo.gl/pXjnw
Robertson, T., (2011), Negative Effects of Employee Empowerment, Chron: Small Business, Demand Media, available at http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effects-employee-empowerment-18691.html