We are no longer operating in a “traditional” ERP world of monolithic, suite-based systems that do not support digital business initiatives.  Instead, postmodern ERP strategy and systems will complement and enable digital business outcomes today, as well as provide agility and flexibility to speed adoption for technological advancements to come.  However, there is no one-size-fits-all postmodern ERP strategy.  A business should define its strategy to suit its unique needs by establishing a new strategy for business applications that utilizes (post)modern technologies to deliver faster response and better return on investment without sacrificing integration, integrity, and/or governance.

What is Postmodern ERP?

The term “postmodern ERP” was coined by Gartner in 2014 and represents, in its own way, the rejection of legacy or “modern” ERP that came before it.  In our blog post, “Painting the Picture for Postmodern ERP” we discussed that Postmodern ERP gets its name from its similarities to the postmodern art movement, in that it rejects and deconstructs the “modern” approach that came before it. Postmodern ERP is a hybrid of the best-in-breed approach to business management applications and the modern suite-based approach to ERP.

Postmodern ERP is a technology strategy that automates and integrates administrative and operational capabilities like finance, HR, purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution with appropriate levels of balance between vendor-delivered integration, business flexibility, and agility.  Disruptive technologies like the CloudApplication Programming Interfaces (APIs), and the adoption of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model made the shift away from the modern ERP MegaSuite and to the postmodern approach possible.

History and evolution of ERP

Advantages of a Postmodern ERP Strategy

  • Unlock enterprise agility and flexibility (no matter the size of your business)
  • Respond quickly to changing market conditions
  • Adapt to disruptive technologies
  • Embrace digital transformation
  • Manage changing regulations
  • Deliver consistency across projects, clients, and partners
  • Business appropriate integration
  • Increased business outcomes
  • Improved usability and user adoption

According to Gartner, a postmodern approach includes two or more separate strategies, and each application the organization utilizes falls under one of these categories:


This strategy focuses primarily on administrative functionalities like financials, human capital management, and indirect procurement.  This is a more service-centric approach to ERP, for industries that don’t require comprehensive operational capabilities.  Some industry-specific functionalities may be incorporated in the overall ERP strategy, but at its core, the focus is on administrative functions.


Product-centric industries like manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc. will likely expand their ERP strategy to beyond administrative tasks into operational areas, such as order management, inventory management, manufacturing and supply chain, to maximize operational efficiencies.

Organizations should develop a separate strategy for administrative ERP and operational ERP.  The strategy for selecting, deploying, and managing applications that fit into each of these categories are different because the applications and how they are utilized within the organization are so dissimilar.  In many cases, a postmodern ERP may include integrated applications from two or more vendors.  The ability to combine software from different vendors without sacrificing data or processing efficiency allows you to choose the application that best fits your company’s needs.

Planning for Postmodern ERP

  1. Establish a clear view of business requirements and the evolving business strategy.
  2. Ensure which current and prospective solutions will effectively set the business up for success.
  3. Align all business needs with architectural components to establish transition plans.
  4. Implement new solution(s) or update to current release.
  5. Eliminate unnecessary modifications and leverage approved, supported extensions and applications.
  6. Collaborate with vendor(s)/partner(s). Together, set realistic goals and proactive alerts for upcoming updates.
  7. Establish change strategy and approach.

Executing a Postmodern ERP Strategy

  1. Maintain detailed business scenarios and scripts.
  2. Develop change management and testing procedures.
  3. Leverage administrative and end-user training to ensure the system is being used as intended by al users.
  4. Regularly apply patches and updates.
  5. Apply version upgrades as available.
  6. Leverage cloud applications where appropriate. They are inherently current, flexible, and scalable.

Need help developing a Postmodern ERP strategy? Contact us to discuss your ERP options with one of our consultants.

To learn more about Postmodern ERP and how it can benefit your business, download our free eBook!

Free eBook - Future-Proof your business with Postmodern ERP

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