News & Views

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. In some cases, our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to a source article, a quote from the article and our comments. In other cases, we have provided a blog without a hyperlink for original content by 180 Systems. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.



April 2008 from the Supply Chain Management Review – “…Another important reality is that benchmarking brings a necessary level of objectivity to performance evaluation. The subjective notion that “We think we’re pretty good” isn’t really good enough. That was the trap we fell into at Compaq when it came to order cycle time until the benchmarking told us otherwise. The reality is that self-opinion doesn’t truly matter to customers, who are comparing you against other suppliers…

The biggest hurdle to benchmarking is coming up with standard ways to compare one company’s operations with another’s in order to make “like-for-like” comparisons…”

180 View – Although the article is old, we only just became aware of it. It is an extension of our theme of benchmarking for this month. The article makes a distinction between qualitative and quantitative benchmarking. In qualitative benchmarking, managers compare their techniques to those of similar organizations. They then analyze the differences, looking for opportunities to improve certain processes. Quantitative benchmarking refers to comparing internal key performance indicators (KPIs) to those of similar organizations. The goal is to identify any performance differences and note which processes need to be improved and by how much.


ERP gone bad: Lessons from real-world failures


November 16, 2010 from InfoWorld – “ERP projects are among the most critical efforts IT ever undertakes, as they touch almost every part of essential business operations and are complex technically. Not surprisingly, some fail — spectacularly. Although ERP has been an enterprise focus for a decade, many companies are still embarking on such efforts, and even more are dealing with ERP redos because of mergers and business changes. Here’s what you can learn from the failures of others and put to use on your own ERP projects…”

180 View – The article does not deliver on its title. There are often many reasons for failures as the article says with the following – “John F. Kennedy once said, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan.” In the world of ERP projects, the reverse is almost always true: Failure has a thousand causes.” The article is too brief to get into the details and the details are unlikely to be ever revealed.

My view is that it’s not the technology that is the root cause. If I had to boil it down, I would say that it’s the incompetence of the internal team and/or the vendor. The internal team may be hard working and intelligent, but are sometimes way out of their league – they have never done this before and don’t know what they don’t know.

Some vendors think they can apply so called best practice to every situation even when they don’t know enough about the client. This strategy can blow up when best practice does not apply. Other vendors choose short term gains when closing a deal without adequate knowledge of requirements. They then need to scramble to satisfy the client but the costs escalate and projects are delayed. It gets even worse when customizations are required that inevitably break other parts of the system.


The egg trick


We don’t recommend doing this at home or work.