June 1, 2015 from CPA Magazine and written by Michael Burns – “Making a business case for technology investments is challenging – and potentially career limiting. Anything you can learn from our peers’ experience in making these investments can be helpful in crafting a case. That is why we decided to run our own IT satisfaction survey in CPA Magazine. It ran from January to April 2015, and is available by clicking here.0 Comments
News & Views | ERPNews & 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.
2014 from PwC – “…The brave new world of business application software is rapidly transforming how corporate IT departments source and implement all kinds of critical systems. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the realm of ERP systems, the software that runs virtually every large company in the world. CIOs are rethinking their approach to ERP, thanks to modular, cloud-based business applications that offer viable alternatives to the unwieldy, inflexible, and expensive systems that have long dominated the sector…”
180 View – The idea is that you can stitch together best of breed cloud-based/Software as a Service (SaaS) applications with a core ERP system and create what they call “hybrid ERP”. PwC cautions that the “the hype surrounding these new technologies is sky-high.” We believe that technology for integrating different applications has been around for years and has been called different things including web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA). Web services and SOA technologies were hyped as a panacea to integration between applications but gradually the hype subsided and reality set in. Hopefully one day the reality will match the hype.0 Comments
We include small vendors in our system selection projects but only when we believe that they have a good client base, are really good for a specific industry and are using recent technology. A small company can also be a successful company and there are benefits to being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. You will see lots of small/unknown companies on our ERP portal at http://www.180systems.com/portals/erp/.
But what about the concern that a small vendor will be acquired or if the small vendor is facing financial difficulties? Financial problems may be temporary – for example the vendor might have just rewritten their software to support multi-tenant architecture which is a big change supporting cloud computing. As a consequence, development costs may have gone up and their revenues have gone down as they are recognizing revenue over a longer period of time. However even if the small vendor is ripe for acquisition, it would be a big mistake for the acquiring company to abandon the system when there are many happy clients and the system has a strong/current underling technology.1 Comment
Murphy’s Law is alive and well thanks to ERP implementations. The problems that often arise can be avoided and/or the impact reduced by good planning in advance and strong project management. Here are a few ways to fight Murphy:
- Ensure you have the right people (your A team) on the project and enough of their time is allocated to the project. Some key operational team members will need to be backfilled on their day jobs. Talk to people who have gone through an implementation to get a sense of the time needed.
- Ensure the implementation plan proposed by the vendor is adequate. Get each vendor to break out their implementation project into the major tasks and compare them for variances. You may find that one vendor may have low balled one of the tasks such as training.
- During contract negotiations, clearly define the scope and the link the contract to the RFP requirements. Ensure that all requirements are thoroughly discussed and understood.
- If you are taking on the responsibility of creating custom reports, ensure you have someone on the team that has the experience to develop and deliver these reports.
March 27, 2015 from CFO – “Senior finance executives share their advice on selecting and implementing enterprise resource planning systems.”…
180 View – CFO asked the executives a number of questions including about value, total cost of ownership, flexibility, how to evaluate ERP vendors and implementation advice. One piece of advice was “Invest your best people in the process.”0 Comments
2015 from Shea Business Solutions – “…By their nature, ERP projects are large and complex. They never go according to plan. Things always come up, plans always change, people always have different priorities. As much as possible, build this into your plan. Have some contingencies – if you can’t work on some tasks for some reason, have some other tasks that can be substituted. Build some cushion into your project plan. Most importantly, don’t be shocked when things go wrong. Things always go wrong. Take a deep breath, and move forward…”
180 View – We don’t normally include material published by a vendor but as can be seen by the above quote, Shea has provided honest and useful advice in the article rather than marketing hype.0 Comments
January 28, 2015 from InformationWeek – “Enterprise resource planning software is the ultimate legacy application. On the downside, ERP has earned a reputation for costly, time-consuming deployments and maintenance, outdated user interfaces, and general inflexibility.…”
180 View – The cloud is supposed to make ERP implementations a lot easier according to pundits and vendors alike. However the cloud is really just a different way of deploying the software and most of the tasks and risks in an implementation don’t vanish into the clouds.3 Comments
January 1, 2015 from CPA Magazine by Michael Burns – “We all hear the bad news when a vendor is sued over a failed implementation. When this happens, we assume there are many other unhappy customers whose experiences do not get broadcast, because most companies would rather not litigate. But are there also many happy customers? And what makes a happy customer? We have a created an online survey to determine just how successful — or unsuccessful — technology investments turn out to be…”
180 View – The survey which can be found by clicking here is for ERP, CRM and BI. Questions will include which industry, company size, system, type of system, costs of system (by license, implementation, hosting fees, maintenance and support, and internal costs), satisfaction with implementation, satisfaction with benefits and lessons learned. The goal is to determine the satisfaction of these investments and to see whether there is a correlation to industry, company size, the system or type of system. Stay tuned.0 Comments
November 10. 2014 from LinkedIn – “…Why is it that so many ERP implementations go so wrong? In my current role I meet regularly with ERP survivors and casualties. My best but unscientific estimate is that 90-95% of them have horror stories to share…”
180 View – There is a big difference between a horror story and bumps in the road. We would agree that there always bumps in the road. What you need is someone on your team that knows how to adapt or a coach to get you through it – someone like Pat Wade from 180 Systems who has managed ERP implementations for over 20 years. Pat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (416) 560-0591.0 Comments
December 16, 2014 from IndustryWeek – “I sometimes find it difficult to describe what I do to friends and acquaintances who have careers outside of manufacturing and rarely give much thought to how things actually get made. To the uninitiated, if I were to say “I help manufacturers to implement continuous improvement (CI) models” or “I support companies in their production system journey,” I might as well be speaking a foreign language because, while these statements resonate with those of us who live and breathe CI every day, they don’t mean much to the rest of the world…”
180 View – We start all our projects with a kick-off meeting and there are other similarities to the NFL analogy. The article discusses the importance of “What does the business require of this operation to be successful” which we call the Critical Success Factors. We use it to identify functional requirements that will enable attainment of CSFs and also to identify the important metrics or KPIs. The article also discusses comparing metrics to the perfect or ideal standard. This is what we call the goal KPI and how we recommend determining whether a particular investment was worthwhile.0 Comments