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The “Great Resignation”

A number of my clients have recently had  key people resign to pursue alternative opportunities. I have also seen significant movement both within and across ERP ecosystems. Good people, those with great skills, are in very short supply at the moment.

Alan Weiss, the consultant’s consultant, said it best recently:

People treat “the great resignation” (a stupid name) as if it’s an unavoidable meteorological event, or a losing football game. 

What it actually represents is people leaving bad bosses, and management unable or unwilling to provide recognition for talent and commensurate agency for employees. It’s a “Pogo moment” (for those of you too young: “We have met the enemy and it is us.”).

I find comparable businesses fully staffed and doing well. Why is that? Are they lucky? No, they understand that people are the assets and the equipment is the expense, not the other way around.

Now, let’s go back to blaming everything on supply chain problems.

– Alan Weiss

Although I agree this is an internal issue that can and should be better managed, there is also the issue of your ERP support partners or suppliers and the impact their management capability has on the quality of support they provide to you. 

Here are a couple of examples.

  1. I recently helped a client to identify and engage a new support partner for their ERP system. It had been poorly implemented, and the support almost non-existent.  The new partner had started some of the clean-up work and mid-project the company had a situation that brought a key warehousing function to a standstill on a Friday morning. Staff from the client and the new partner worked together over the weekend and diagnosed and resolved the issue in time to start work on Monday morning.
  2. Early in my consulting career, a client was undertaking some maintenance on its AS400 system. The IT manager, distracted for a moment, had not allowed for the keyboard buffer and clicked Delete on a folder one too many times. He had clicked on the “Program” folder. All the code was deleted and business screeched to a halt. The manager and the technical support partner quickly resolved the issue and restored the system back to the breaking point.

In both these examples the support partner had great staff who were competent, and the impact was minimal. (We made a great choice in that partner selection project I ran.) If your support partner does not manage its staff well and is suffering from the “great resignation”, you risk being in serious trouble should these types of events hit you. 

This is why a key criterion in my selection process is cultural fit, not just functional and skill capability. The relationship is vital and unfortunately not enough executives see and value this. More often than not, ERP partners are considered as a transactional or simple vendor relationship rather than as a genuine partnership. My recommendation is to embrace the latter not the former. 


© David Ogilvie

ERP implementation, great resignation, skills shortage

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