Some thoughts on ERP (which really does not stand for Enterprise Resource Planning any longer)

Top 7 ERP Implementation Analogies

  • The implementation will be like open heart surgery while the patient is still alive and working.
  • An ERP implementation is like the corporate equivalent of a brain transplant.
  • ERP implementation is like a warfare, make it quick and fast, don’t drag too long. The soldier’s morale is the key.

To be considered an ERP system, a software package should have the following traits: It should be integrated and operate in real-time with no periodic batch updates. All applications should access one database to prevent redundant data and multiple data definitions. All modules should have the same look and feel. Users should be able to access any information in the system without needed integration work on the part of the IS department  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_resource_planning

So what we need is a real-time single database that displays this data with the same look and feel throughout and eliminating most of the integration work that IT normally does.  So we should be able to find that.  Let’s follow Wailgum’s suggested plan:

  1. Meet with ERP vendor, get taken to expensive sporting event/dinner by sales rep, and select appropriate software package. (And don’t forget to send the check!)
  2. Install ERP system!
  3. Integrate with other systems. (Repeat as necessary.)
  4. Provide thick “How To” manuals—chock-full of Clipart—to users!
  5. Sit back, relax and enjoy your new ERP system!*

Okay, maybe not.  I do recommend following this people of advice – “Don’t waste time on basic functionality”.  Any system you buy today should have as basic functions

Now, if one or more of these basic functions provides a competitive advance to your business model.  If you are a service oriented business than your billing can be a competitive advantage, a custom product business the sales order entry and product configurator will add to your ease of doing business with customers.

The point is to identify what is the mission critical business processes that you need to focus on with your ERP selection, demonstrations and decision criteria.  Than follow the simple plan below to get you through the process.

Strategic Plan
  • · Provide the rationale and make the business case for the ERP project
Readiness Assessment
  • · Determine institutional “preparedness” and achieve organizational
  • · understanding of the ERP process
Prepare for vendor selection
  • · Document business practices and determine software requirements in preparation for vendor selection
Vendor Selection
  • · Choose your technology partners, both the ERP software and the ERP Implementer
Plan the implementation
  • · Prepare for a successful implementation by developing a comprehensive plan
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