Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  08 Mar 2011

BUSINESS: Fast, Cheap and Good: Pick Any Two


Recent Gauteng Business News

In this internet driven world of instant gratification and low-cost software, isn’t it time we had super-fast delivery of cheap business solutions? Don’t be fooled; while there is plenty of really good free or low-cost software, especially those based on cloud computing models, fast and cheap remains an extraordinarily bad idea. So bad, in fact, says Immo Böhm of Afresh Consult, that it could cost the farm.

Impatient companies which attempt to implement an enterprise resource planning system (or Integrated Business Platform, the next generation of ERP) on the quick are destined for failure, unless they are able to compress the work required to select, implement, configure and commission the system into a timeframe which does not allow for any shortcuts to be taken. That will drive up the cost, inevitably. The rule is very simple: fast, cheap, good. Pick any two of the three.

It is certainly possible to have a good project fast, but it is not going to be cheap as expensive consultants will be necessary to do most of the work.

On the other hand, it is possible to opt to do much of the legwork internally - but then your project is not going to be fast, although the ultimate cost will be considerably reduced.

If quality isn’t a consideration (!) and the project is rushed, it could well be fast and cheap, without those expensive consultants. But you guessed it: it will definitely not be good.

For any provider of complex enterprise software, there is pressure to meet the sometimes unreasonable expectations created by the internet age. The bottom line is that while getting a good system up and running in as little time as possible is an ideal, it should always be remembered that it should take only as long as it has to, and no longer than that.

We don’t like cheap and fast and no good. ‘The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of making a deadline is forgotten’, so the adage goes; or as the Afrikaners say, somewhat more succinctly, ‘goedkoop is duurkoop’. This rings especially true where enterprise software is concerned.

It remains an ongoing challenge for project managers to manage expectations; the facts remain that these projects are complex, they do take time and, to deliver the promised result, they also take a lot of hard work. Not only from the provider of the solution, either, but also from the client themselves. That hard work comes at a cost, especially since ‘business as usual’ has to take place around the implementation of the Integrated Business Platform.

Avoid that cost and commitment at your peril. Expect a complex project to take some time. Expect it to cost money. And then expect delivery of a good system to run your business better.


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