ERP – What it means today?
Various explanations and definitions are attributed to enterprise resource planning: both online and offline.
We define it as an information system that integrates all related applications for an entire enterprise. It attempts to integrate all departments and functions across a company onto a single computer system that can serve all those different departments’ particular needs.
It’s tough and challenging: building a single software program that serves the needs of people in human resource as well as finance and in the manufacturing section.
Each of these departments usually has its own system optimized for the unique ways that the department works. But ERP combines them all together into a single, integrated software program that runs off a single database so that the various departments can more easily share information and communicate with each other.
Well that’s it, 3 paragraphs explaining an entire concept? If it was only as easy to design, develop and implement an ERP solution as we defined it in just 3 paragraphs. However, while designing, developing and implementing an ERP solution one should be aware of the factors that bear a great impact on the success of such an endeavor.
Success in any enterprise system always starts with leadership at the top. Carefully choose the software and the vendor: begin with proper needs analysis; map the current and desired processes; document the process to facilitate compliance; prepare a formal Request for Proposals for vendors to meet well-defined needs.
Establish a visible, well-supported project team and make sure you maintain thorough communication.
Apply appropriate quality disciplines: improve incoming data accuracy, establish consistent project change management process; develop a quality certification process for software vendors and developers; develop an implementation quality plan.
Fully assess abilities of the project team to understand and address enterprise system requirements. These include two broad issues: Software issues: knowledge of typical software pricing formats to assist in negotiations. Ability to assess fit and specific product capabilities; data architecture analysis for construction of executive reports; ability to assess long-term maintenance requirements and ongoing cost; high level understanding of software and technology capabilities; Hardware/network issues: broad knowledge of currently available technologies; bottleneck analysis and resolution; sound data storage strategies and practices; how to specify and regulate data flow; speed requirements for throughput and transaction processing.
High level understanding of specialized needs for software functionality in various business types including: aerospace, automotive; batch processing and continuous flow; printing; mass manufacturing (appliance) etc. Knowledge of interaction between business process and software architecture: data entry hierarchies; data scrubbing and realignment; module deployment sequencing; functionality specifications as they relate to business process etc. Understanding of deployment management: developing and evaluating software training plans; developing and managing complex timelines.
Your business model is unique in its own ways; keep in mind that most off the shelf products are designed for a constant set of processes and procedures, which of course can be customized to your business requirements. Make a decision right when you begin planning to get an ERP solution whether a customized off-the-shelf product or a fully customized ERP solution will be good for your business.
Once you have you basics clear go ahead and start your designing, developing and implementing an ERP solutions process. All these factors contribute equally to the success of your ERP project. Ignoring even one of these might lead to a total collapse of the project and might even cost you millions of dollars you invested in your ERP project. On the contrary, adhering to these factors can convert your millions of dollars investment into a much profitable and satisfying endeavor.
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