Undermining ERP

By George Wing Print this article Print

Though enterprise resource planning systems have been around for almost three decades, vital information is often still not readily available to management. That can be changed by combining a revitalized underlying architecture with the robust use of business intelligence/business insight.

Undermining ERP

In reality, an overwhelming number of companies suffer from one or more of the following debilitating conditions that significantly detract from obtaining full ERP value:

• Disparate home-grown applications
• Applications that do not meet current business requirements
• Old or technically deficient ERP solutions
• Underutilized and/or never fully implemented ERP
• Multiple divisions on a variety of ERP solutions and/or releases
• Many bolt-ons with poor interoperability among applications
• No MDM
• Poorly developed or executed BI strategy
• Support challenges from vendors and/or from in-house resources
• High and rising TCO.

Developing a Road Map

What is the road map for achieving a Class A ERP and BI environment? First, you must understand that this is a significant and time-phased endeavor that necessitates top management buy-in and ongoing commitment. The vision and execution strategy must be willingly embraced across the enterprise because this project will affect virtually every department.

To achieve the desired objectives, the following approach is often pursued:

1. Validate that the company’s IT strategy is aligned with the business goals.

2. Pursue the following tactical actions:
• Assess current applications and infrastructure.
• Evaluate existing resources: internal, service providers and vendors.
• Develop a new applications and infrastructure architectural design.
• Identify and select resources to achieve the new architectural design.
• Establish an MDM initiative.
• Determine needed new resources: internal, service providers and vendors.

3. Assure that governance is in place, along with a project management office (PMO).

4.Build cross-functional project teams (led by a process champion) to define common best-practice-based processes that ERP must support.

5. Develop a master plan that outlines what, who, when and how the new architecture pieces fit together and how they will be deployed. (There are usually multiple phases.)

This article was originally published on 2010-02-04
George Wing is a partner in the Business Operations and Technology Practice of Tatum LLC, a consulting firm. He is based in the company’s New York office.
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