My recent post “What AX7 is sure to get Wrong!” received responses split predictably along party lines:

  • Users from the ERP trenches understood the point I was making and could relate to the “galley slave” metaphor.
  • Folks from the software publisher side of the street took the position that software is hard to develop and that I should concentrate on the flashing lights and spinning whirligigs the new version will have and stop posting nonsense.

Just paraphrasing.

However, one comment in particular caught my attention.

My position in the original post was that while software publishers proclaim each new release of their software as the greatest thing since sliced bread, the majority of hard core users find new versions of ERP software more and more difficult for quick and easy data entry and system navigation. While I made the point regarding the release of AX7 I have found that to be generally true for all ERP releases.

I suggested that it might be good if developers were forced to spend a month working in an accounting department keying data before they wrote a single line of ERP code. The theory being that usability would improve by developing empathy for high volume, repetitive data entry tasks.

Evidently that was not a great suggestion because one response pointed out that maybe accountants should spend a month coding to appreciate how hard THAT is.

For just a moment I thought to myself, “that is a fair enough comment, that makes sense” until it hit me a second later!

NO! NO! NO! A thousand times NO!

If your company develops software or mobile apps then accountants and other “galley slaves” should be in a position where they support developers but in every other type of business it is the IT department and the development teams that have to support “The Business” and by extension the business users.

The reason this struck me so hard is that in our consulting business we assist executive teams in companies that have major ERP implementations that have gone awry and we find more and more instances of IT led projects that have “shot off the rails”. And not coincidentally.

Can you say cart before the horse?

Is this a trend? If so, based on my experience, it is not a good trend and we should start seeing “IT Led ERP Implementations” as a “Top Ten Reason for why ERP Projects Fail” any day now.

Have to put up my crystal ball…my CIO is threatening to release my browser history.


this post first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse


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