3 items tagged "ERP"

  • Combining digital transformation with the right ERP project

    Combining digital transformation with the right ERP project

    I’ve been an independent ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) consultant for over 25 years now and I would like to think that I have always had the best of intentions for my clients. In our industry it is hard to believe that the failure of so many organisations (and their consulting partners) to reach that ideal state of a complex digital transformation. Granted these initiatives are always peppered with landmines and risks, yet few seem to know how to navigate them very well, if at all. That is despite decades of history and lessons-learned exercises to draw from.

    'It’s not Rocket Science'

    To be truthful the answers aren’t really that complicated, and they certainly aren’t rocket science. There are distinct things that make certain projects succeed and fail, below is a brief summary of things to think about.

    Key stages of ERP software and digital transformation

    There are four distinct stages to an ERP software project or digital transformation. Unfortunately, many don’t achieve the aims or goals of the first two:

    1. Building a business case
    2. Project inception
    3. Completing the implementation
    4. Digital transformation is completed

    Digital transformation and ERP software initiatives

    Those that complete a full digital transformation leveraged the benefits of that successful implementation and transformation. They have figured out how to launch their initiatives to greater heights and success.

    Here are the key criteria needed to reach a successful delivery:

    Fast-track software evaluation and selection

    An effective digital strategy and ERP software selection process can be an effective way to gain alignment and chart a clear path forward, but it’s also easy to get lost in analysis paralysis. The most effective organisations don’t get bogged down in a cumbersome evaluation and selection process or hire inexperienced consultants with little hands-on implementation experience to guide them. Instead, they used experienced and unbiased resources to arrive at the best effective quickly so they can invest more time and money in implementation.

    Focus on organisational change management

    Most people understand Organisational Change Management (OCM) at cursory level, but many have not learned the skills to effectively manage change. The best ERP consultants know that an effective implementation requires detailed change impact, organisational design, stakeholder and executive alignment, a benefits realisation plan, and a host of other organisational change strategies that go well beyond assessments and pretty Powerpoint presentations.

    Investment in business process improvements and design

    It is of critical importance to define a clear and precise future state business processes, potential business process improvements, and leverage best practices from your industry sector. As part of this process design, we should define business processes, change impacts to people, and identify opportunities to implement process changes even before new technology is implemented. An investment in these business process management activities early on will save significant time and money in the long run.

    Planning for benefits realisation optimisation

    If you don’t plan it, measure it, you probably won’t achieve it. Be sure to set clear and precise targets and measures not only for project justification purposes, but more importantly, to help manage business benefits going forward. Additionally, a benefits realisation plan will provide a good mechanism for governance during implementation and delivery.

    Don’t leave your project’s success up to chance. Instead, focus on these and other key business best practices to help you reach successful outcomes, business goals and greater business performance.

    Author: Mike Davis

    Source: SAP


  • Comparing BI to ERP, which analytical tool fits your purpose?

    Comparing BI to ERP, which analytical tool fits your purpose?

    Since its conception in 1997, Business Intelligence (BI) has been compared to a number of analytical tools, from spreadsheets, to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. For some analytical tools, BI wins by a mile – yes we're specifically talking about spreadsheets. For others, there is no clear winner.

    In this blog, we’d like to discuss ERP and the connection with BI  to help you determine what works for your business.

    describe the imageWhat is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

    Every department within an organisation typically has its own computer system, optimised to suit the way that department operates. ERP essentially combines these multiple systems into a single, integrated software program that runs off a single database. Of course, the one integrated software is then divided into software modules that are replicas of their older standalone counterparts.

    Gartner states: “ERP tools share a common process and data model, covering broad and deep operational end-to-end processes such as those found in finance, HR, distribution, manufacturing, service and the supply chain”.

    What are the key differences between BI and ERP?

    Strategic-level vs. operational-level analytics

    BI tools are typically leveraged by analysts for high level discussions which involve strategic decisions. A BI tool accesses all of the data in your data warehouse, both strategic and (financial; revenue, profit and growth), and operational (daily sales performance). BI tools enable you to conduct in-depth analyses to generate comprehensive information that can deliver high-level insights. Essentially, BI is a step towards a companywide view of information.

    ERP, on the other hand, is an operational system chock full of operational and transactional data. It will give you an exact view of your business from an operational perspective, but it is not built to perform trend analyses or give you high-level overviews. It is a tool centred around delivering operational insights.

    OLAP vs. OLTP system

    BI is built as an Online Analytical Processing system (OLAP), to provide robust analytical capabilities, such as high-speed access to reports, dashboard management and the development of balanced scorecards. BI also comes with advanced analytical features that allow you to view data from different sources on one page, and in the format or perspective you need.

    ERP, on the other hand, is an Online Transaction Processing system (OLTP), used to record transactions as and when they take place. The data architecture of ERP software is designed to provide high-speed transaction recording, while keeping data space utilization at a minimum.

    Agility vs. efficiency

    Over the past years, there has been a shift of focus in BI - organizations are moving from historical reporting to forecasting and forward planning. Through these future-centric capabilities, BI can make organizations become more agile, allowing them to make strategic-level decisions that take advantage of future conditions.

    ERP software, on the other hand, is built to deliver efficiencies to an organization. These efficiencies come in many forms: better interdepartmental communication, IT cost savings and business process efficiencies. Both Gartner and CIO.com believe that proper ERP implementation can improve an organisation’s overall performance.

    What does this mean for you?

    Before you begin choosing tools, first determine your organisation’s objectives. Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you can identify the right approach to help you achieve it.

    If you have an in-depth understanding of your operational performance, then look at BI to obtain strategic level insights into your performance. While if you need a better understanding of your operational performance and need to make operational improvements, ERP is the tool you need.

    Ultimately, both tools are geared towards business improvement and can deliver significant results.

    Source: Phocas Software

  • Information Is Now The Core Of Your Business

    DataData is at the very core of the business models of the future – and this means wrenching change for some organizations.

    We tend to think of our information systems as a foundation layer that support the “real” business of the organization – for example, by providing the information executives need to steer the business and make the right decisions.

    But information is rapidly becoming much more than that: it’s turning into an essential component of the products and services we sell.

    Information-augmented products

    In an age of social media transparency, products “speak for themselves”– if you have a great product, your customers will tell their friends. If you have a terrible product, they’ll tell the world. Your marketing and sales teams have less room for maneuver, because prospects can easily ask existing customers if your product lives up to the promises.

    And customer expectations have risen. We all now expect to be treated as VIPs, with a “luxury” experience. When we make a purchase, we expect to be recognized. We expect our suppliers to know what we’ve bought in the past. And we expect personalized product recommendations, based on our profile, the purchases of other people like us, and the overall context of what’s happening right now.

    This type of customer experience doesn’t just require information systems; the information is an element of the experience itself, part of what we’re purchasing, and what differentiates products and services in the market.

    New ways of selling

    New technologies like 3D printing and the internet of things are allowing companies to rethink existing products.

    Products can be more easily customized and personalized for every customer. Pricing can be more variable to address new customer niches. And products can be turned into services, with customers paying on a per-usage basis.

    Again, information isn’t just supporting the manufacturing and sale of the product – it’s part of what makes it a “product” in the first place.

    Information as a product

    In many industries, the information collected by business is now more valuable than the products being sold – indeed, it’s the foundation for most of the free consumer internet. Traditional industries are now realizing that the data stored in their systems, once suitably augmented or anonymized, can be sold directly. See this article on the Digitalist magazine, The Hidden Treasure Inside Your Business, for more information about the four main information business models.

    A culture change for “traditional IT”

    Traditional IT systems were about efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity. These new context-based experiences and more sophisticated products use information to generate growth, innovation, and market differentiation. But these changes lead to a difficult cultural challenge inside the organization.

    Today’s customer-facing business and product teams don’t just need reliable information infrastructures. They need to be able to experiment, using information to test new product options and ways of selling. This requires not only much more flexibility and agility than in the past, but also new ways of working, new forms of IT organization, and new sharing of responsibilities.

    The majority of today’s CIOs grew up in an era of “IT industrialization,” with the implementation of company-wide ERP systems. But what made them successful in the past won’t necessarily help them win in the new digital era.

    Gartner believes that the role of the “CIO” has already split into two distinct functions: Chief Infrastructure Officers whose job is to “keep the lights on”; and Chief Innovation Offers, who collaborate closely with the business to build the business models of the future.

    IT has to help lead

    Today’s business leaders know that digital is the future, but typically only have a hazy idea of the possibilities. They know technology is important, but often don’t have a concrete plan for moving forward: 90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will have a major impact on their industry. But only 25% have a plan in place, and less than 15% are funding and executing a digital transformation plan.

    Business people want help from IT to explain what’s possible. Today, only 7% of executives say that IT leads their organization’s attempts to identify opportunities to innovate, 35% believe that it should. After decades of complaints from CIOs that businesses aren’t being strategic enough about technology, this is a fantastic new opportunity.

    Design Thinking and prototyping

    Today’s CIOs have to step up to digital innovation. The problem is that it can be very hard to understand — history is packed with examples of business leaders that just didn’t “get” the new big thing.  Instead of vague notions of “disruption,” IT can help by explaining to business people how to add information into a company’s future product experiences.

    The best way to do this is through methodologies such as Design Thinking, and agile prototyping using technologies should as Build.me, a cloud platform that allows pioneers to create and test the viability of new applications with staff and customers long before any actual coding.


    The bottom line is that digital innovation is less about the technology, and more about the transformation — but IT has an essential role to play in demonstrating what’s possible, and needs to step up to new leadership roles.


    Source: timoelliot.com, November 14, 2016

EasyTagCloud v2.8