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Business process improvements, customer relationship management and business analytics are high on CIOs' to-do lists this year.

#9: Enterprise Systems Planning">

Project #9: Enterprise Systems Planning

Participants: The technical executives with the broadest view of a company's systems. Often, they'll get some assistance from the chief financial officer.

Price tag: High in terms of management time.

You hear it all the time, about companies that have grown through acquisition: They have a dozen database vendors. Or seven enterprise resource planning systems.

Enterprise systems planning is the discipline some companies apply to get a handle on their sprawling applications. It starts with defining business requirements, and then mapping the technologies the company already has against them.

"I was working with a company that had 25 different CRM systems," says Diamond Management's Curran. "The question I asked was, 'Do you have an opportunity to take it down from 25 to three? Then you'll have one support organization working on it instead of five.'"

Enterprise systems planning is part of what has to happen for a company to operate efficiently after a merger—and to have the leanness to avoid becoming a buyout target itself. The attention being paid it is no surprise.

Next page: Project #10: Financial reporting

This article was originally published on 2007-03-07
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