Using ERP to Create Competitive Advantage

Businesses today operate in an economy that is structured around being dynamic. We hear technical terms such as “disruption”, “industry 4.0” and “platform economy” on a daily basis.  Current market participants opt to play the isomorphism game (status quo), to “innovate”, or to pave the way by extending the fuzzy boundaries.

However, is this really extending the continuum of business opportunity or simply a form of reframing? Innovation is widely mistaken for any technology that changes how firms operate or deliver their product or service. This type of innovation taking place at the early stages, is considered to be inferior. Therefore, what exactly should innovation be and how can companies create competitive advantages?

The answer is not straightforward but lies in a company asking itself three questions as a starting point:

  1. What business are we in?
  2. How is the organizational ecology evolving?
  3. Why do we want end users to utilize our firm?

If a business can adequately answer the above in three sentences, creating an advantage is not far out of your reach. Let me unpack my view on what tenets a firm should adopt:

  • The Two C’s – A firm needs to ensure resource Competence and Capability is geared towards ensuring distinct competence
  • Focus – A firm with alignment on the needs of its people and customers will never go wrong
  • Innovation – This is a process of making use of patterns and adaptive spaces by identifying business opportunities and utilising distinct co-ordination of the business capabilities and competence to create uncaged cognition and value
  • Develop a Good “CV” – Businesses need to ensure effective Co-ordination of its internal and external tangible and intangible structures. In addition, they should always Validate every network of their structure and frameworks as complacency skews value
  • Strategy – This is where companies fail, as they do not differentiate good strategy from bad strategy. Businesses need to adopt a unique position by aligning, co-ordinating, validating and executing their strategy design by being inclusive and un-caging the cognitive frames.

Companies need to understand that the sources of competitive advantage are changing in the continuum of the economic boundary. Great value can be achieved by adopting a more malleable view on defining processes, effective strategy, and this will lead to innovation and untapped competitive advantages. So how can ERP aid a company in creating untapped competitive advantages? By leveraging on the process capability of a business, ERP transfers insights, which should trigger opportunity creations and thus allow for a constant validation and adaptive ecosystem for a business to adopt an ambidextrous structure.


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