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May 16, 2014

Why you should settle for ‘good enough’ ERP

Sage wants you to focus on useability ahead of new X3 product launch.

By Joe Curtis

Companies should settle for "good enough" enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems rather than chasing perfection, according to business software firm Sage.

Speaking at Sage’s Lisbon conference, ERP boss Christophe Letellier said that SMBs should focus on useability and simplicity over comprehensive solutions.

He said: "Heavy and complex solutions are incredibly difficult to use. They’re too long and too expensive to implement. Go for good enough and the costs of your IT will drop dramatically.

"There’s no need to go for perfection. Perfection sets you up for failure. If you want to do the big thing you do heavy complex things. And heavy complex things drive you exactly where you don’t want to be."

Letellier was speaking ahead of Sage’s release of version seven of its X3 ERP product.

CBR heard earlier in the day that the firm has spent four years speaking to customers to ensure the latest iteration was built with end users in mind, making ease of use a focus.

The product will be rolled out as an on-premise solution for Sage’s target audience of European SMBs come June, with a further cloud-based release in the pipeline.

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The news comes after a $4bn American carpet company, Shaw Industries, plumped for Netsuite’s ERP solution over SAP and Oracle options, with Computerworld UK quoting its CIO criticising the complexity of the latter pair’s offerings.

Roddy McKaig told the news site: "[They] were much more complicated to configure and set up. They were going to charge a lot more – almost double for getting configured and installed."

And Letellier compared such comprehensive solutions to a plate of spaghetti in an interview with CBR.

He said: "It is very nice, it does the job, it feeds you. But it’s pretty heavy and don’t even try to understand it because you can’t even follow one strand of spaghetti."

"I prefer to have a good enough solution, I didn’t say a bad solution, something that helps me progress one step after the other. To have that and have all my people be able to use that. That’s the vision we have."

Domestic appliance manufacturer Smeg’s CIO Jean-Charles Harle told CBR he relied on end user feedback to pick Sage’s X3 solution over French competitors.

"It’s a good choice because it’s not too complex," he said.

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