Getting it RightBy George Wing | Posted 2010-02-04 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.
Getting it Right
To guide the successful implementation of a project of this magnitude, it is imperative to have resources in place with relevant subject-matter expertise, project management knowledge, leadership skills and bandwidth. Companies that do not have appropriate internal resources often augment their team with a consulting firm.
A consulting firm should have in-depth experience in strategic planning, architectural design, operational management, ERP selection/implementation, PMO and BI. Typically, it also should have broad industry knowledge of best-practice solutions and be adept at vendor management, negotiations and risk mitigation.
In summary, companies in today’s uneasy economic environment need to have a firm grip on running their businesses. They must gain competitive advantage, position themselves for growth and be able to prosper—regardless of the economic situation. To do that, they must have easy access to pertinent, timely information (communications) supported by a best-practice systems architecture.
The journey from the state of your current ERP environment to Class A is likely going to be arduous, but progress can be made in logical steps. The good news is that application vendors and service providers are much more flexible and pragmatic today than they ever were before. Their offerings are highly configurable, and the climate for mixing and matching competitive solutions is significantly better than in the past.
In addition, SaaS is a viable alternative for some functions, such as CRM and human resources. This option often offers low initial investment, fast implementation and quick benefits.
In concert with upgrading your applications solutions, it is essential to address the concept of master data management. Basically, this is the process of qualifying your data: naming conventions; data definitions and relationships; normalization (error correction, eliminating redundancies, etc.); and data storage and mining. This will greatly enhance the contribution of the BI process.
The traditional role of ERP—handling back-office transactions—remains to this day, but the combination of a revitalized underlying architecture with the robust use of BI is the key to unlocking the true value of ERP.
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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