Having a personal interest in the forest industry I am very happy to see that companies like Derome and Setra are making the right choice of implementing IFS Applications as an enabler for future growth, innovation and the capability of being agile!
Agile may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about forestry as a tree can have a lifecycle of 100 years. Below is a picture from outside Hårkrankeryd, Tranås, Sweden of my latest addition to future construction timber (may it grow and prosper for 60-70 years).
Being in the IT industry where the perspective and goals often are short term (sometimes very short term), I often wonder what we can learn from the lifecycle of a forest?
First, you plant the trees and hope for perfect weather conditions or at least a little rain. Then you leave the plantation alone for a number of years before you need to chop down trees to make room for others with a better looking future.
After 20-30 years you can profit on the forest, after another 40 years you take it down and start all over again, (maybe not you specifically but perhaps the next generation which makes it their responsibility to be sustainable but that is off-topic) time to value is quite long.
So is my suggestion to look at IT investments in an 80-year horizon?
Let’s be honest and say that doing ERP implementations is tough, someone once compared it to doing heart surgery while running a marathon (a bit over the top I admit). With how difficult and short implementations can seem it could be easy to see IT investments as failures.
With that said, I don’t suggest longer implementation projects, but rather to take it step by step. It doesn’t have to be perfect day one, but you can “grow and nourish” your IT system just as any forest in the world!
My take on it is that our responsibility as a software vendor is to provide world-class IT software and guide our customers to have realistic expectations of the time to value!
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Photo Credit: Casey Horner