HOST: David Broussard
GUESTS: Adam Goldstein, Vice President and Brett Weiss, Managing Director
SUMMARY: Adam and Brett discuss the current state of Enterprise Resource Planning systems and how organizations can join the race to the cloud.
The Transformative State of ERP
Adelina Kainer 00:00
Welcome to Digital Reimagined, a podcast packed with insights from Apex Systems, a world class technology services leader working to reimagine value for our clients.
David Broussard 00:11
We'll bring you the voices of industry experts to showcase our proven solutions that span across digital innovation, modern enterprise, and workforce mobilization.
David Broussard 00:20
Welcome to Digital Reimagined. On today's episode, we are talking about the transformational state of Enterprise Resource Planning systems, or ERPs, across companies. We're joined today by two leaders from Apex Systems' ERP practice, Adam Goldstein and Brett Weiss. And Brett and Adam, I would love to have you guys introduce yourselves and give a little bit of your background.
Adam Goldstein 00:42
Thanks, David. This is Adam, I've been in the ERP space now for 20 years. And then for the last 13 years at Avaap, which was acquired by Apex Systems just this July.
Brett Weiss 00:55
And my name again is Brett Weiss. And, similar background to Adam, I come from a healthcare supply chain management consulting background. Like Adam, joined Avaap and am proud to say that we built a world class ERP consulting practice while we were there. And now happy to be part of Apex Systems.
David Broussard 01:16
Awesome, well I can speak for everyone at Apex that we are as equally excited to have y'all on board and part of this team. So, appreciate the introduction. Like I said, we are talking about transformations within ERP systems across companies right now. Could you give us a sense of where things stand from an ERP perspective, a state of the union, if you will, in terms of what companies are thinking and talking about?
Adam Goldstein 01:39
Sure. So if you look at ERP, you know, ERPs had a multi-decade transformation period. But we're at a real inflection point now, primarily driven by cloud adoption and the SaaS availability of the ERP applications. Historically, ERPs have been on-premise solutions that, really, customers have a hard time keeping up with. They customize heavily and then the upgrade process, you know, they'll do once or twice a decade, becomes just a huge nightmare and incredible cost, almost as much as the original implementation each time. With that, that drives a lot of value into moving to the cloud and a self maintained platform. But there's a journey to get there. We're still at the very beginning of that journey into the cloud. And it's driven by a few different factors. So one is the technical debt I talked about inside these organizations where they've allowed these systems to become under-maintained, they're not keeping up with the proper versionings or security controls, nor taking advantage of the latest versions and feature functionality. So we work a lot in the healthcare vertical, you know, customers were predominantly just overrun by the efforts of the clinical operations, and the Affordable Care Act, and most recently with COVID. And they're now coming due on some of that debt. And so the speed and velocity these customers are looking to move to the cloud has continued to rise during that tenure.
Brett Weiss 03:13
Yeah, I would support that and say that, at the end of the day, the state that we're in with ERP is exactly that. It's a race to the cloud. From an industry perspective, I would still categorize cloud adoption in its infancy from the ERP perspective. You know, maybe 5% of the organizations out there have adopted a full ERP cloud-based strategy. However, that tsunami is upon us and is only going to increase over these next several years.
David Broussard 03:44
Guys, so to summarize what it seemed like you were saying is that it's all about getting to the cloud right now. But it sounds like these new cloud-based ERP SaaS platforms can just bring a world of functionality to a company if implemented. How does the company make sure that they get the most out of a platform like this?
Adam Goldstein 04:03
I think the number one thing is to phase it in a logical order. What we advise customers against is trying to go "big bang" with everything all at once. These organizations have a lot going on besides just their ERP or other system implementations, specifically from the business side. So doing a realistic timeframe into what they can consume and change at a menial pace is very important.
Brett Weiss 04:28
You'll find when Adam and I and our team assemble a strategy for a client to deploy ERP, you've got to focus on the core capabilities of the software which then drive all of the extensions that attach to it. So our typical recommendation is to deploy the core financial accounting, the core supply chain management, and the core HR payroll, and then of course, if an organization has critical business drivers that require incorporating additional functionality as part of the initial phase, we can certainly do that. But at bare minimum, it's got to focus on the core.
David Broussard 05:12
That's great insight. Sounds like a lot of things to consider before you even decide to make this massive move. What are some of the other considerations people need to take in, other than what you've said, when it comes to "Do we make this massive transformation right now?"
Brett Weiss 05:30
Yeah, it's a great question. And it's very timely and relevant to what's going on in the industry right now. There's a number of tier one ERP players out there, all of whom want to capture the lion's share of the cloud migration market. And I would advise any client, as I often do, to, first of all, get their facts. You have to look yourself in the mirror and understand whether you're utilizing the breadth of the capabilities of your incumbent vendor that you already have in place to the best of its ability. More times than not, the client does not use the vast majority of the capabilities the software actually has. So it's ironic in that they actually are owning capabilities that they're unaware of. Why is that? Well, it could be a lack of education, it could have been that over a decade or two decades of utilizing a system, the people that once knew those capabilities are not there anymore. It could have been, as Adam talked about in the beginning, customizations to legacy applications that are no longer relevant. So that would be first and foremost, is you've got to take a hard look in the mirror and assess your incumbent vendor and whether, not only can it meet your needs today, but can the vendor that you're partnered with already meet the needs of your evolving company. And the other thing that's got to drive some of the decision making is if your vendor has established that your current platform has an end of life as of a certain date. That's going to drive the need for perhaps faster decision making than if you still have no date announced.
Adam Goldstein 07:15
I think what's important is not just the end of life of the software itself, but the end of life of the hardware it's on. Whether it's your data center, or the actual physical single servers you're running, or the operating system, or database they're on. These are all variables that could cause you to make inorganic decisions, that rightful planning could have allowed your organization the proper timing to do a better cloud strategy.
David Broussard 07:42
A lot to think about for a CIO and everybody else involved, it sounds like. So, any parting words you'd like to give?
Brett Weiss 07:50
I would say that in summary, there's no better time to be in this world of ERP that Adam and I and our business unit specialize in. And it's because of this mass adoption and race to the cloud.
David Broussard 08:07
It's been awesome talking with you both about this subject today. And I appreciate you both coming on to chat with me.
Brett Weiss 08:14
Thank you. It was so great to be here.
Adam Goldstein 08:16
Thanks so much, David.
David Broussard 08:20
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Adelina Kainer 08:25
To learn more about Apex Systems' offerings, visit us at apexsystems.com/insights. You'll find our podcasts here along with success stories, articles, news, and trends.
David Broussard 08:38
The music you heard was Do Ba Do by Otis Galloway.