After eight seasons, the HBO series “Game of Thrones” has ended. And as expected, there are conflicting opinions about how the producers brought to an end the stories they told us for more than 8 years. It’s only natural: it is difficult for millions of heavily involved viewers and fans to agree. It seems that the success of the series lies in the good stories told to us by its creator, George RR Martin, in the books as well as television producers David Benioff and DB Weiss. The only way to keep the audience’s attention for hours and hours, either in the books or on the screen, is by presenting something really good. As one of the most popular characters in the series, Tyrion Lannister, explained: “There is nothing more powerful in the world than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” And of course, a good story will always cause controversy, because it moves us at the most intimate level: our emotions.

In today’s business, stories are perhaps the most powerful weapon used to sell. As Emotive Brand, a prestigious company dedicated to strategy and design, explains. In this millennial era, where what is important is the purpose, we are hooked into a narrative, a history lesson, a personal testimony or a video about corporate social responsibility, before we realize that someone is selling something to us. “You’re only as strong as your story, but if your story goes on too long, or it meanders around, or it does not arrive naturally at your solutions, people are going to read something else. When done correctly, a story is the shortest distance between your brand and why people should care.” Away (a luggage designer) does not sell suitcases; it sells travel stories. Lenovo does not sell computers; it tells stories of people who do innovative things with computers.

The issue here is to be authentic in crafting your story: no story can replace good execution. Therefore, when seeking to connect all the processes, many companies have resorted to business systems for Resource Planning (ERP by its acronym, Enterprise Resource Planning). ERP systems have integrated production control, logistics, distribution, inventory, invoices and accounting within the company, and have even spread to activities such as sales management, delivery, payment and human resource management.

Business software, according to Suresh Sambandam, CEO of KiSSFLOW (a digital platform that integrates process, case, project and collaboration management), is defined by three dimensions which cover:

  • The Application context
  • The Regional or Geographic context
  • The Industry or Vertical context

Thus, a system for credit management (application context) for the agricultural industry (vertical context) in Central America (geographic context), is very different from one that is required in India. And a credit system for agricultural producers will be different to one for financing automobile sales.

The problem with ERP, according to Sambandam, is that its implementation is based on the assumption that there are a set of common characteristics which cover all the variations of the three dimensions described above. These sets, are configured by parameters of ERP or are customized by ad hoc developments (when business processes cannot be solved with available configurations of ERP). Personalization of the ERP can take a lifetime, and that is why implementations fail (regardless of problems such as lack of resources, training, support, poorly defined objectives, or fear of change).

Faced with this “umbrella” approach to ERP solutions, where they seek to cover as many businesses as possible, in recent years a set of applications have emerged that seek to complement the functions of ERP, integrating with them easily and efficiently. Some of these applications are available as cloud services, and others are applications that are installed directly onto the company’s infrastructure. And most importantly, these applications have a specialized point-in-time approach that only achieves one thing, but does it very well and at a much lower price than an ERP or a development for an ERP.

An example of these solutions is the RPA (Robotic Process Automation). ERPs are very good at handling the information that has been generated within the system itself, but trying to reconcile that information with external information sources such as external Excel spreadsheets, bank reports, or business partner services, can be extremely complex and subject to an infinity of errors. RPA specializing in conciliation can easily automate all steps in the reconciliation process, take the external sources, compare balances of the accounts of ERP and identify any differences for accounting personnel to investigate. All this along with a segregation of tasks and profiles, easy to use graphical interface, adequate recording of information for easy review and audit, and without the intervention of humans: without the need for breaks to rest or payment of overtime . Including all this in an ERP would be expensive and complicated, while the RPA application can be installed in just weeks for a very reasonable cost.

I’m going to miss “Game of Thrones.” I will miss the good stories that made me return to the TV again and again. We need companies that offer us services and products that have such good stories, making us return again and again to those companies. And it is possible to build those stories, if you have an ERP supporting your processes. Depend on very agile suppliers that complement and know your ERP.

 

Author: Jorge Oropeza

References:

Diego Mariño, ” End of ‘Game of Thrones’: the speech of Tyrion that changed the history of the series”, May 2019, lainformación.comhttps://www.lainformacion.com/arte-cultura-y-espectaculos/final-juego-tronos-discurso-tyrion-lannister-cambio-historia-serie-poniente-sieterereinos/6501715/

Emotive Brand, “Stories Sell – Give Your Sales People Good Stories – Get Great Results!” June 2018, artplusmarketing.com
https://artplusmarketing.com/storytelling-is-the-best-bridge-between-customers-and-solutions-ea80deaae298

Suresh Sambandam, “Why old ERP wine cannot be bottled in SaaS”, June 2010, medium.com
https://medium.com/@sureshsambandam/why-old-erp-wine-cant-be-bottled-in-saas-5808fa6c0f11

Wikipedia, “Enterprise Resource Planning System”
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_of_planificaci%C3%B3n_de_recursos_empresariales

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