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Seven Ways to Tell If You Are “Shaving the Bear” with Microsoft Dynamics GP

by Mark Polino
Director of Client Services, Fastpath, Integrated Business Group
September 29 2009

Marketing guru Seth Godin recently wrote an article on Bear Shaving. Bear Shaving is when firms address a symptom rather than a root cause. The term Bear Shaving comes from a commercial where a little girl shaves a bear to protect it from global warming. She had the right intent but ultimately, shaving bears won't solve global warming. An equivalent analogy is buying more buckets as the roof leak worsens.

When working with companies to implement Dynamics GP, I see an awful lot of companies that would prefer to shave the bear. Interestingly, as you go higher in an organization, most executives don't want to shave the bear, they want to fix the root cause but often that message doesn't filter down into the organization. Addressing root problems can be painful, but not addressing them leads to long term decay. What about your firm? At the risk of mixing metaphors, you might be shaving the bear if:

  • You pay for a customization to avoid fixing a broken process.
  • You customize screens because data entry is too hard for your employees. This often says more about the employees than their annual review does.
  • You inject complexity into a simple process. An example is heavily customizing the cash application process.
  • You create a torturous workflow to accommodate a problem employee.
  • You impose your own thoughts on vendors and customers instead of simply asking them. For example, invoice margins shouldn't affect customer payments but I've companies insist that it would.
  • You insist on reports without looking at alternatives such as canned reports, electronic delivery alternatives or analysis cubes.
  • You resist efforts to ...

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About Mark Polino

Mark Polino is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a former Microsoft MVP (2007-2018) for Business Solutions. He is the author or coauthor of 5 books related to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Mark also maintains the Dynamics GP focused website He speaks and writes regularly about ERP related topics. Mark has been a controller and CFO for a division of a publicly traded company and he has  worked as a consultant implementing ERP solutions. Mark holds additional certifications including Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) , Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Dynamics Credentialed Professional for Dynamics GP 2015 (Core Install and Core Financials), Xero Certified. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Rollins College. Mark lives with his family in Florida.

More about Mark Polino
Submitted by pampalm on Wed, 10/14/2009 - 07:46 Permalink

I see the company I work for shaving the to really get to the root of the problem. Thanks for an awesome article Mark.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)