Integrated ERP Guide: Expert answers to your most frequently asked questions


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For the first time in this interactive eBook, we've collected your most pressing questions on ERP and provide you answers straight from the experts. Areas covered include:
- How to prepare the groundwork for ERP
- How to implement ERP
- What to consider when growing globally
- How to address change management and communications during the implementation process

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Integrated ERP Guide: Expert answers to your most frequently asked questions

  1. 1. Integrated ERP Guide:Expert answers to your most frequently asked questionsIn collaboration with Tribridge and Aberdeen Group
  2. 2. 2One: Prepping for ERP EnhancementIntroductionTwo: ERP ImplementationFour: Change Management& CommunicationsThree: Growth & Global ConsiderationsNext StepsI1243N
  3. 3. 34I 1 2 3 NAs companies grow, they get weighed down bya lot of information siloed in individual systems– finance, accounting, manufacturing, sales andservice, and customer relationship management(CRM) among them. Getting these data sets talkingwith one another effectively is key to operating withthe speed, efficiency and individual responsivenessthat customers demand in today’s 24/7, always-oneconomy.Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have beendeveloped to accomplish precisely this: to automate,manage and integrate the flow of information frommultiple business functions – both internal andexternal information such as customer and marketingdata – in real time.Many companies are realizing that flexible ERPsolutions enable them, for example, to align theirdata on purchase orders, inventory receipts andcosts. They can track orders from acceptance tofulfillment and revenue from invoice through receiptof payment. And all of this provides valuable insightsto assist sales forecasting and inventory optimization.IntroductionBut how can you achieve the benefits of ERP if you are a small tomidsize business (SMB) lacking the capital – human andfinancial – of a larger company?To find out, we spoke to three industry experts on ERP transformation in SMBs.Nick Castellina is a Research Analyst in Aberdeen Group’s Enterprise Applicationspractice, who focuses on cloud-based, software-as-a-service models for ERP and ERPimplementation in SMBs.Luis Gallardo is an Associate Partner for IBM Global Services in the midmarket groupof Global Business Services, with over 14 years of experience consulting in a breadth ofindustries from consumer products to life sciences.Kathy Killingsworth has more than 25 years of consulting and private industryexperience, and oversees the strategic direction of Tribridge’s national MicrosoftDynamics AX practice, which includes on-premise, hosted and cloud-based financial andERP solutions.We asked them the questions that midsize businesses most frequently ask about ERP. This guidesummarizes their advice to us.
  4. 4. 44I 1 2 3 NQ.What business problems are youable to solve with an integratedERP solution?Nick Castellina: The major benefits of enterpriseresource planning are its ability to enablestandardization, visibility, and collaboration. Ithelps to standardize best practices and introduceformalized methodologies across the organization.Luis Gallardo: It improves the integration ofoperations with administrative functions and,depending upon the needs of the organization, canbe used to enhance operational visibility, financialcontrol, or integration of the supply chain.Nick Castellina: ERP means real-time visibilityto decision makers, so they can better plan andexecute business strategy. And it helps to connectemployees across the organization, no matterwhere they are, in order to improve collaboration.For example, manufacturing operations tocustomer service and delivery.One: Prepping for ERP EnhancementERP helps to standardizebest practices and introduceformalized methodologies acrossthe organizationIt can enhance operationalvisibility, financial control, orintegration of the supply chain.
  5. 5. 54I 1 2 3 NQ.How do you know if you need anERP upgrade?Kathy Killingsworth: These issues can beregarded as symptoms of more fundamentalproblems in IT.• Are you having problems getting access toinformation about your business?• Is it taking too long to close your books at theend of the month?• Are your customers finding it hard to getinformation about their orders?• Do you have inventory management issues?• Does accounting take too long to do basicprocesses?• Do you have outdated processes –manual data aggregation or paper-baseddocumentation?Additional questions you should be asking andanswering are:• Are your IT resources too time consuming orcostly?• Do you have disparate, stand-alone softwaresystems?• Do you have a number of different softwareapplications for different purposes?• Is your company’s growth complicated orhindered by software integration issues?If your organization is facing challenges in anyof these areas, it might benefit from a targetedenhancement to your current ERP implementation.?
  6. 6. 64I 1 2 3 NQ.What specific business problemsare you are able to solve with anintegrated ERP solution?Luis Gallardo: This is a company-by-company andeven a business-unit-by-business-unit question. Itreally depends on the company’s circumstances:where the most pain can be alleviated or themost business benefit can be attained. It couldbe a question of enhancing business visibility, byimproving the integration of operations with theadministrative functions; or it could be a matterof achieving operational efficiency and financialcontrol or integrating of the supply chain. The keyis determining your needs before you implementthe ERP solution, and knowing your objectives andgoals going into it.
  7. 7. 74I 1 2 3 NQ.So,what questions should webe asking ourselves as we beginthinking about upgrading our ERPcapabilities?Nick Castellina: You should start by lookinginternally.Kathy Killingsworth: Come up with an internalset of questions, based upon what makes youunique and innovative as a company.Luis Gallardo: Focus on your culture, what isimportant to you in terms of value, current painsand needs. This will provide core values andneeds based set of questions.Kathy Killingsworth: Next, put your core valuesto one side and objectively evaluate how theweaknesses in your company’s culture mightimpact this ERP project. First and foremost,is your company flexible enough to allow thechange required to accommodate a new way ofdoing things? Are your stakeholders preparedto reengineer their processes to obtain betterresults?• Who are the key decision makers in yourcompany who need to “buy into” a newsystem in order to make it successful? Despitewhat they say, people are not always open tonew ways of doing business and managingchange.• What is the message that will resonate withinternal concerns to help gain support for anew system?• Are people afraid of losing their jobs?• Do you have a project manager who hasenough experience within your company tomanage this project for you?• Should you hire someone to act as yourproject manager for this critical initiative?By asking these questions first, you’ll be stress-testing your company’s culture for its ability toadapt to technological changes.Luis Gallardo: Next, you can move to the tacticalaspects of ERP: finance, scope of the project andproject management.Nick Castellina: And you will need to answer anew set of questions, such as:• What can you afford?• What can you support?• Which processes are absolutely necessary forsupport?• Who will be using the solution?• Are there any technologies that need to beintegrated?• Is there agreement on the requirements andbudget necessary to implement the solutionsuccessfully?Oftentimes, successful organizations employ athird party to help with this process. They can helpdevise a list of essential criteria.TIP!Strong project management correlates very strongly with a successful ERPimplementation. An ERP implementation should be viewed not just as an ITsolution, but also as a business solution that will transform your organization,helping it to become more effective and efficient.To read more,please visit and download the complete eBook.Download the ERP eBook