Remember: Big Bang = Big Bang!

While the doctor was at Coupa Inspire, he heard a very scary message over and over again from Coupa customers during the CPO panel. It seems that even though it’s been over 20 years since the demise of Foxmeyer Drug, organizations are still pushing for big-bang supply chain re-vamp projects and advising Procurement to “wait for the ERP upgrade to [almost] complete and then select a new BoB solution to fill any gaps as it will be quicker and easier to do it all at once“! Gadzooks! Six of the 11 biggest supply chain disasters of all time (as chronicled by Supply Chain Digest) were directly, or indirectly, caused by a big-bang ERP project and the fiasco it created, including the ruination of Foxmeyer Drug that was a 5 Billion global company. Big bang projects almost always end in big bangs that wipe out entire divisions, markets, or global organizations. There is no excuse for them in this day and age and no organization, consulting or otherwise, should be pushing for them.

Fortunately for these customers (who were chosen because they were prime examples of successful Procurement organizations in the Coupa community who led the way), they didn’t listen to their organization and just did it. The beauty of a modern self-contained cloud-based solution like Coupa is that you don’t even need an ERP. You can just license an instance and go. This is what they did, and one organization, instead of waiting 18 months to get started, completed a global roll-out in 4 months and banked over 10M in savings before they would have even started product selection had they sided with their organization!

In other words, don’t go big bang unless you want to sabotage your organization (because you are a mole for, or taking kickbacks from, the competition) as the likely outcome is big bust. Just get going, one solution at a time, which you can integrate at the right time in a focussed project that is much more likely to succeed mostly on time and on budget as the project parameters will be better understood.