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Digital Transformation and Disruptive Innovation: Painting the Picture for Postmodern Cloud ERP

Sean Atkins | July 12, 2018

The president and founder of ACC Software Solutions discusses the correlation between postmodern art and postmodern cloud ERP. He highlights how digital transformation and disruptive innovation creates a new paradigm SMBs in every industry will gladly embrace—and it can be explained through the work of postmodern artists.

In the cloud ERP world, digital transformation has resulted in what can be called Postmodern cloud ERP. “Postmodernism” is the idea of retaliating against that which is “modern” as defined by the modernist movement. It’s the label put on cultural changes being made to established structures and belief systems. In the art world, postmodern art is a rejection of the idealism, high culture, and utopian visions of modern art. The term “postmodern ERP” was proposed by Gartner in 2014. It’s a form of rejection of the legacy or modern ERP that came before it. Gartner first referred to this movement as, “the devolution of modern ERP,” but ultimately recognized the similarities between this “devolution” and the postmodern art movement.

Digital Transformation and Disruptive Innovation: Painting the Picture for Postmodern Cloud ERP

Below are three postmodernist paintings that represent three major ideologies of the Postmodern Art movement that can be applied to Postmodern ERP.

The Word is not the Thing: cloud ERP is for everyone

Though The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images) was created by René Magritte about forty years before the Postmodern Art movement, it greatly influenced the skepticism and rebellious philosophy of postmodern artists. It is a painting of a tobacco pipe with “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” written below the image, which is French for “This is not a pipe.”

Magritte’s point is that you cannot smoke a painting of pipe—it’s a painting representing a pipe. This sentiment harkens to Korzybski’s general semantics premise of “The map is not the territory” or “The word is not the thing.” Paintings, maps, photographs, and even language itself are created by humans as representations of things and experiences.

 

The Treachery of Images (aka This is not a Pipe)

The Treachery of Images (aka This is not a Pipe) by René Magritte (source)

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. With the adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud ERP software, and other technologies inherent in Postmodern ERP, small-to-mid-size businesses can afford the same robust solutions and functionality large enterprises have utilized for decades. Enterprise solutions are no longer exclusively for Enterprise-sized businesses.

In essence, the word is not the thing just as the painting is not the pipe.

Deconstructing the Complex: the flexibility of cloud ERP

One of the central lessons of Pop art and, more broadly, Postmodernism is that all forms of communication are filtered through codes, language, and/or cognition. Where Magritte focused on the limitations of language and imagery, Roy Lichtenstein sought to understand the code, or processes, of mechanical reproduction. He drew inspiration from mass produced images in comic books which were created by a printer using a series of Ben-Day dots in four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). Lichtenstein used Ben-Day dots and thick lines to create postmodern landscapes, effectively using deconstructed commercial art and processes to create images that were traditionally reserved for high culture.

 

Sunrise by Roy Lichtenstein

Sunrise by Roy Lichtenstein (Source)

The days of the monolithic ERP suite are gone. In the postmodern ERP world, cloud-based ERP solutions are broken down into personalized sets of integrated business functions. The goal is to use the best applications possible in each area of a business, while ensuring they either tightly or loosely integrate as needed.

Just as Lichtenstein deconstructed mass-produced images into Ben-Day dots and thick lines to create a new masterpiece, the ERP suite has been deconstructed into cloud ERP applications that each business can tie together under a single ERP platform according to their individual needs. And with this comes many benefits, including easier ERP implementations and increased overall flexibility.

Interpretation is everything: what is cloud ERP to you?

Like Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol loved to question the differences between high and low culture by embracing consumerism and popular culture. Warhol was obsessed with the commonplace, famous, and popular icons because their visibility and accessibility meant that everyone interpreted them according to their personal experiences.

Regarding his own work, Warhol insisted that the viewer determined the meaning based on their unique interactions and history with the subject matter. Some artists in the postmodern movement took this sentiment a step further by allowing their audience to participate in performance art pieces or asking the audience to be the ones to create or complete the artwork.

Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol (Source)

Similar to Warhol’s work, interpretation of a postmodern ERP strategy is unique to each business. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to postmodern ERP strategy. Two organizations within the same industry could both implement strategies that are postmodern in nature and yet completely different. That’s because each organization must define its own postmodern strategy according to its operations, unique needs, budget, and future goals.

For more information on Postmodern ERP and how it can benefit your business, download our free eBook! You can also contact one of ACC’s experts today to discuss Acumatica and how it can accelerate your business as well as to ask for a free needs analysis.

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Sean Atkins

Sean Atkins, President and Founder of ACC Software Solutions, has spent over 25 years in the ever-evolving ERP space. His passion for helping SMBs succeed flows through ACC’s commitment to being a trusted source of technology, knowledge, and support. His extensive experience includes ERP training, software selection, business process re-engineering, project management, and value analysis.

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