In part 1 of our mini-series How Did We End Up Here? The Impact of Dysfunctional, Fragmented Systems on Customer Perception and Brand Reputation – and Ways to Fix It we explored a common scenario of a frustrated consumer trying to find out what happened to an order, how fragmented systems can be the primary inhibitor to good customer service (and higher revenue), and touched on the benefits of a Unified Commerce system. But we ended on an ominous note. There is still one major element that is keeping major retailers from making the switch to a Unified Commerce solution: fear.

The prospect of replacing an organization’s ERP, POS, CRM, BI, SCM, PLM, WMS, and productivity solutions is enough to make even the most prepared executive shudder. Not only does the prospect of failure loom over such a project, but it also typically involves coming face-to-face with less than ideal business practices. Not to mention fighting the inertia of “but we’ve always done it that way.”

These systems essentially represent an organization’s respiratory system and replacing them is suggesting multiple organ transplants. And, like true organ transplants, while there is potential for pain and risk, there is also the potential for innumerable positive outcomes. In fact, according to a report by IDC, organizations that replace outdated, disparate solutions stand to gain up to $3,700 in revenue annually per employee in increased productivity and agility.1

If you’re considering such a ‘transplant’ for your own organization, consider the following to ensure that the operation goes smoothly and your systems aren’t rejected:

Give yourself plenty of time.
Instead of waiting for a crisis (sun setting of current systems, angry customers reaching critical mass, etc.) start your search now. Having a clear, systematic, organized plan of action will make the transition all the easier.

Go unified or go home.
If you’re experiencing multiple system failures in your organization, then replacing them with more unintegrated systems is maybe not the wisest decision. Similarly, if you replace a damaged heart (ex: ERP) but still have lungs that are only working at 25% capacity (ex: WMS) then you will most likely still have problems. Look for a unified platform of business applications that were built to work as a team, but can stand on their own as well. Flexibility and mobility are a must across your entire organization.

Pick with the future in mind.
Make sure you don’t end up in a systems conundrum again. Choose a solution from a company with proven longevity and a strong forward vision. Companies like Microsoft aren’t going out of business anytime soon. Research product timelines and R&D budgets to be sure solutions are on the cutting edge.

Find the right partner.
This is directly related to giving yourself plenty of time. Just like you wouldn’t want Doogie Howser doing your heart transplant, you’ll want to spend time working with an experienced partner that knows your vertical like the back of their hand and has a history of successful implementations to draw from. Specific solutions for your industry are always a plus too.

If you’re wondering what happened to my order from part 1, it took over a month for all of my items to be delivered and in the end so much of my order had been refunded that my total spend was $1.15 — for a total discount of nearly 99.5%. At this point I feel pretty confident that I have cost this leading brand money because of how my order was handled. On top of that, although I loved this store previously, I never want to do business with them again. I’m not alone in this feeling either.

Don’t let these customers be your customers. Stop asking yourself, “How did we end up here?” and start telling yourself, “I know how we’re going to fix this.”

Sunrise Technologies has over 20 years of experience helping organizations tame unruly systems. As a preferred Microsoft implementation partner with hundreds of successful Dynamics AX implementations, we have unparalleled experience working with apparel, footwear, home furnishings and consumer products brands. If you’re ready to take the bandages off your business applications, reduce the number of interfaces you have to maintain, improve your customers’ experiences, and see increased revenue through increased productivity and agility, contact us today or head over to our resource library for customer success stories, white papers, and factsheets.