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.

System selection, done right — Part 2

ERP, Software Selection

March 2012 from CAmagazine and written by Michael Burns – “…The whole selection process will take a minimum of three to four months, with most of the time allocated to waiting for the vendors to respond to the RFP and preparing for the demonstrations. We are very sympathetic to vendors that go through this rigorous selection process. They can spend a lot of time only to find out they were unsuccessful. The least we can do is give them time to respond to all our requests and to be honest in our evaluation of their system…”

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Accelerate IT Delivery, Or Die

ERP

February 17, 2012 – “It is amazing how quickly technology moves. Today, cloud computing and mobile technology are changing the way enterprises and consumers live, work and play.  But even with advances made each day, enterprise-level IT continues to move at the same old plodding pace. No doubt, the speed of technology innovation makes it difficult for CIOs to make long-term IT plans. And to be fair, how can a Wall Street IT organization even envision what it will be running 24 months from now?…”

180 View –The author discusses an Oracle implementation for a large insurance client that will evolve over 18 months. And claims “Long deployments are counterproductive, as customers and employees (not to mention boards) now measure enterprise IT with the same yard stick they use when buying a new Smartphone.” There is a fundamental misunderstanding by anyone that thinks an ERP system is somehow comparable to a Smartphone. An ERP system is not something that you simply turn on and it all works. It takes time and rushing it can be a huge problem especially for small and mid-sized companies that don’t have resources that can be dedicated to the implementation.

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ERP Projects: Do You Have Many Needs or Just Too Many Consultants?

ERP, Software Selection

February 21, 2012 from BlogNotions – “…It is no secret most software-consulting firms will attempt to pile as many of their consultants on your project as humanly possible. At the same time, the situation I find most unnecessary is when firms convince their clients more experts are required to do the work their existing consultants should be able to do…”

180 View – It is hard to understand how any company would overstaff a project unless they have no concern for their budget. Nevertheless consulting firms do specialize and it may be necessary to have more than one firm involved. The trick is to make sure that there is no overlap. For example, we sometimes get involved in ERP implementations from a high level project management perspective but never involved in the day-to-day implementation. Our role is to provide guidance to the internal project manager and to review documents prepared by the vendor for completeness and reasonability. A good project manager will develop a clear definition of roles and responsibilities to minimize the risk of any overlap.

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Lessons Learned: ERP Failure

ERP, Project Management

November 2011 from ACA Group and written by Lisa Anderson – “…One of the largest and most commonly repeated mistakes is to forget about the culture.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve purchased the latest, best, world-class system; if you haven’t considered your culture in your selection and implementation plans, you can count on failure…”

180 View – I have a lot of respect for the author, Lisa Anderson. However I disagree that “It’s all about culture change”. We believe that most employees will welcome the change as they learn new skills and become more marketable and help make the company for which they work more profitable. Resistance is possible but it’s when employees think they are going to lose their job or their life is going to be hell for months because they must do their day jobs but also work on the ERP implementation at the same time.

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The ERP Selection Process

ERP, Software Selection

November 17, 2012 from CFO – “The selection and implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is probably the most critical IT decision you and your organization will ever make and it’s not an easy task identifying which of the available solutions will meet your organization’s evolving requirements. An ERP system will have a huge impact on the success and growth of your organization, so it is important to follow a selection process when choosing your system…

Nowadays, a core ERP system from an established vendor can be assumed to provide the basic functionality. This means that a shortened Request for Information (RFI) approach can be adopted. With this approach, the buyer first does some basic research to understand what is available on the market using an RFI, reviews requirements in light of what is possible, short lists two to three vendors and then focuses purely on the areas that are critical to the business and likely to be a challenge to a supplier – for example, complex multi-currency requirements, multi-company requirements, or complex non standard reporting. Get to know the vendors and understand their offering in detail.”

180 View – Although the white paper was sponsored by Unit4 Business Software, it was written without bias and is a good source of advice for an organization about to embark on an ERP selection process. We especially like the point about focusing on the critical requirements. We think some consultants get paid by the number of requirements in an RFP or use tools that contain every requirement known to man and the poor vendor must respond to all of them and the selection team needs to analyze all the data.

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The Power of Introverts: A Manifesto for Quiet Brilliance

Personal

January 24, 2012 from Scientific American – “Do you enjoy having time to yourself, but always feel a little guilty about it? Then Susan Cain’s “Quiet : The Power of Introverts” is for you. It’s part book, part manifesto. We live in a nation that values its extroverts – the outgoing, the lovers of crowds – but not the quiet types who change the world…”

180 View – All you introverts out there will love this article.

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Swimming with Sharks

Personal

180 View – Gives a new perspective on swimming with sharks.

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