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.

What does an ERP system cost?

ERP, Software Selection

August 2011 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “Buying an ERP system is a lot like buying a house. The process brings all kinds of unexpected costs. When I moved into my first home, we couldn’t get the bed up the stairs, so we had to remove part of the ceiling, which ruined the fresh paint. Then the plumbing failed and most of the pipes had to be replaced. If only we had known…”

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Cloud-Based ERP May Be Approaching the Tipping Point

Cloud Computing, ERP

May 17, 2012 from SupplyChainBrain – “I spent some time last week at NetSuite’s first user conference in San Francisco. I’ve known NetSuite for much of its history, but I wanted the opportunity to mingle with hundreds of companies that have adopted ERP in the cloud. My immediate impression was that the enthusiasm level among customers and prospects was uncharacteristic of the rather staid enterprise application world. It isn’t easy to find people who are excited about their ERP systems, but this group certainly was…”

180 View – The article is partly based on a NetSuite user conference and discussion with attendees who will naturally be somewhat biased in their opinion of cloud computing and NetSuite. We would go further than cloud-based ERP is at a tipping point. It is now prime time technology and all the major vendors are scrambling to get on the bandwagon.

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2011 benchmark study: The secret recipe for ERP success

ERP, Software Selection

June 28, 2011 from Manufacturing AUTOMATION – “Canadian manufacturers and distributors are increasingly turning to ERP to help them improve their fortunes, especially in the face of low-cost foreign competition and the high Canadian dollar. Many hope that ERP – or enterprise resource planning – software will help them become more efficient, productive and profitable. Unfortunately, too many companies learn that the path to ERP-driven value is more like a labyrinth.

Together with Manufacturing AUTOMATION, we surveyed 74 Canadian manufacturers and distributors with the goal of uncovering common, key drivers of ERP success. We defined ERP success relative to implementation, because a solid implementation is the launching point of ERP-driven value. To meet our definition of success, an ERP implementation must have been delivered on time, within five percent of budget, and to a level satisfactory to all stakeholders.

Surprisingly, only 18 percent of the respondents’ implementation projects qualified as successful…”

180 View – This is not good news. However it’s not surprising that ERP systems are not on time or on budget. Most organizations that have selected an ERP system have engaged a vendor to implement the new system based on poorly defined scope/requirements and a time and materials contract. Another big problem is that most organizations have not defined measurements of success before starting an ERP implementation making it almost impossible to achieve a “level satisfactory to all stakeholders”.

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Project Management Priorities

Project Management

June 2011 from Project Times – “In my 20 years of experience both as a former VP of Operations and a business consultant and entrepreneur, I’ve run across many different companies in different industries with different people, different processes and different systems, and yet they all typically have the same challenge – successful project management. There are too many priorities yet too little time!…”

180 View – Even if this article was not written by our associate Lisa Anderson, we would have still commented that she has written a useful article that is quick and easy to read.

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Don’t Bother Building Consensus

Project Management

June  2011 from Project Times – “There is a problem with building consensus.  First of which is it may never happen.  I often hear people referring to consensus as trying to get everyone to agree on a decision.  A common definition of consensus is “An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole”. Here are negative scenarios that can result with consensus building as defined:

  1. A decision never gets made or is delayed – By trying to get everyone to agree, stubbornness can kick in and individuals can stall or stop decisions from being made.
  2. A weaker solution can be determined – By trying to include something for everyone the best solution can be watered down.

180 View – We agree and would add another reason. Not all stakeholders are qualified to make a decision. They may not see the forest for the trees – in other words they are focused mostly on their own departments rather than the business as whole. They may also not have the intelligence or the experience to make the best decision. But you should seek input from stakeholders as they often have insights that are not known. As well, it leads to buy in as they have been able to influence the decision and their opinion is respected.

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Business intelligence goes small: It’s not just for the biggest shops anymore

Business Intelligence

July 6, 2011 from Computerworld – “For years, business intelligence and analytics tools seemed out of the reach of midmarket users. Complex and costly systems that required hardware, software, licensing and special skills were beyond the budgets and in-house IT talent pools of most midsize companies. But nowadays, with vendors offering lighter versions of their products and the rise of software as a service (SaaS), BI has become accessible to companies that previously might not have been able to afford it…”

180 View – Business Intelligence (BI) is another technology term that is confusing and has multiple meanings. We define it as turning data into information that is useful in making decisions. Our perspective is that BI can be accomplished with a spectrum of technologies including traditional reports. However today, BI usually refers to Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), Dashboards and Ad-Hoc Reporting. In our ERP selection projects, BI is always a significant component and all the vendors include BI in one form or another.

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