Version lock—a situation in which companies can’t change components of their IT portfolio because of integrations and interdependencies—isn’t just an IT problem. Version lock has a huge impact on the business because it can prevent departments and companies from pursuing strategic changes in business processes. Some examples include:
- You have a great idea for a process improvement, but the software you’re using can’t support the changes. As a result, you define work-arounds with different shadow tools such as Excel or limited point solutions, increasing data silos and making it harder to confidently use that data.
- A new release of one of your software solutions is available with great features but you can’t take the new release because of the modifications and extensions you’ve done in other software tools. So you use different processes and shadow IT tools to work around the gaps in your software, perpetuating the problem.
- You’re facing a forced upgrade to maintain support—at a significant expense with little value for your enterprise—because you’ve been avoiding upgrades due to the software assets/portfolio in play and related integrations and dependencies.
Is Cloud the Cure for Version Lock?
Historically, reducing version lock problems involved bringing in as much transactional support as possible to a single solution, typically an ERP solution. Yet ERP selections and implementations are typically lengthy, costly to procure and implement, exceed time and budget estimates and, according to a Panorama Consulting 2016 report on ERP systems, nearly 50% of respondents feel they received less than half the expected benefit.
To help solve these challenges, ERP vendors are increasingly releasing cloud-based solutions that offer regularly occurring upgrades. Although those help companies stay current, many of these cloud ERP solutions may offer reduced functionality, requiring companies to assemble different shadow IT tools to fill these gaps.
While ERP solutions remain a popular choice, especially as a system of record, they should no longer be considered the only tool. Within the rapidly changing digital solutions landscape, ERP solutions will struggle to easily incorporate a company’s data elements and data points into a coherent, real-time business process that supports digital supply chain transformation.
Instead, companies need to embrace the digital transformation that is upon us. As business leaders of IT or supply chain, our jobs are to embrace that which reiterates our competitive advantage while implementing cost savings from various process improvements. ERP solutions, even cloud ERP solutions, aren’t flexible enough to provide that rapid response to changing business models.
Bimodal: Your Key to Digital Transformation
This is where a bimodal model becomes important. In a bimodal state, companies continue to run portions of the business on a stable ERP platform while adding a technology-based innovation layer that equips business leaders with the agility and flexibility to try new markets and new business processes that help drive top and bottom line improvements.
Adopting a bimodal approach is also a great way for you to start solving your version lock problems. Start by identifying projects that you can begin to transfer to appropriate systems of record, but that might also gain value from the fast-moving iteration made possible by an innovation layer. One such example? Streamlining a business process with a mobile app that’s integrated into your back-end system, increasing employee efficiency while maintaining the data integrity of your system of record.
The DSI Digital Supply Chain Platform (DSCP)™ is the comprehensive tool that can help you navigate your version lock challenges and extend the life of aging solutions with seamless integration back to the core system of record. This platform approach allows companies to add new user interaction layers and business processes as opposed to sourcing multiple point solutions to close different business gaps.
Additionally, the DSCP also provides superior support for future digital supply chain capabilities such as machine-to-machine integration, the Internet of Things, automated data collection, improved user interaction layers and mobile-first experiences, among others.
Version lock is a problem that doesn’t just impact your IT department; it introduces challenges throughout your business. Solve them—while also enabling other business benefits—with the DSI Digital Supply Chain Platform. Learn more about what the DSCP can do.