Taking the easy way through a critical function in enterprise resource planning software is never a good idea. Understanding software such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 can be a challenge. However, in order to gain the most benefits, users should be able to learn the logistics of it all especially as it pertains to their roles in the company. Failure to do so leaves two options. First, the employee simply refuses to use the software outright and gets hostile. The other, however, can be worse: Using a different software solution to get around some problems that ERP software can easily solve. Avoiding workarounds as much as possible can push companies in the right direction, helping them realize the full benefits of the software.

Away from authority and control
Workarounds tend to be very nebulous for many companies, often because they take different shapes and forms. However, as ERP Software Blog notes, the common theme among all of them is that they withhold information. ERP is a centralized database, meaning that many businesses are accessing all the necessary information that relates to either their manufacturing or distribution process. When a workaround is put in place, whatever information is being sent through that doesn't actually reach the database and in turn isn't read by management, other staffers, even the head office. Such a situation leaves a business blind to a given situation. If something goes wrong, the only people that will know what's going are those who may have access to this data.

There are other things to consider as well. Data that is placed in a spreadsheet, especially intellectual property, is not protected, nor are documents and notebooks. A disgruntled employee could walk away with trade secrets very easily, harming the business in the long run.

Offline, out of step
Still, more often than not, these workarounds are not a threat to a company's value and merely disruptive to the whole of operations, according to ERP Focus. For example, rather than taking advantage of centralized infrastructure, companies create an extensive array of spreadsheets that are found on various servers, with access being preconfigured in such a way that is confusing. Communications become frayed because nobody knows where key data is located overall.

Another popular workaround that causes significant disruptions to business is incorporating customer data into spreadsheets. With so many software deployments, including most Microsoft Dynamics implementations, utilizing some form of customer relationship management tools, there is little reason for users to place potentially confident information on an insecure file format. More importantly, any changes done to the customer information will not be properly tracked, meaning any mistakes will be untraceable.

The final workaround happens to involve no software at all. Instead, it's making schedules using whiteboards rather than the production scheduling software. Surprisingly, a large number of businesses still mark their order production schedule by white board, making changes with a dry erase marker rather than automating  the process in the corresponding NAV module.

The most common reasons for imposing workarounds often comes from a failure of training employees on the software. Explaining to them the benefits and teaching them core components can often save companies a lot of trouble in the long run.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.