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.

How do you know your implementation project is on track?

ERP, Project Management

You may be hearing that all is well from the executive sponsor and project manager but you still have heard enough horror stories to keep you awake at night. We suggest the following approach:

  • Conduct a confidential survey with staff doing the work. You may be surprised what they say.
  • Look under the covers of the project schedule. Find out whether resources are overbooked and their calendar with planned absences are included. Make sure that you get the variance between budget and actual + estimated time to complete which is not calculated but based on the estimates of the resources doing the work.
  • Review the test plan. This is where the rubber hits the road prior to go-live. You will want stats on all the test scenarios – how many completed, passed, failed or postponed. You will also want to make sure that testing includes an end-to-end test that will simulate what the system will do when you go live, and it needs to include everything – reports, integration, and controls for all processes.
  • Contact 180 Systems for an independent assessment.
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What come first – an ERP system (the chicken) or lean management (the egg)?

Business Process Analysis, ERP, Software Selection

Lean management is all about eliminating any waste by identifying each step in a business process and then revising or cutting out non-value added steps. The question is whether this should be done prior to selecting an ERP system. Proponents of doing it first assume that the implementation of an ERP system would be merely improving the automation of the existing process and better to eliminate the waste first. However, this approach (sometimes called repaving the cow paths and extending the chicken and egg analogy) is not best practice. The implementation of an ERP system is the best opportunity to implement lean processes. As well, eliminating waste can often be done efficiently with technology so why design and implement a business process that could potentially be part of an existing ERP system? ERP systems have also evolved and do incorporate lean techniques. But ERP implementers don’t always know enough about Lean to optimize business process. You need to either make sure the implementer can implement Lean methods or find yourself a Lean consultant to help with the implementation. One of our clients recently turned to Focused Improvement Consulting to make sure that lean management is applied to the implementation process.

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2017 ERP Survey

ERP, Software Selection

September 2017 from CPA Magazine – “Welcome once again to our annual vendor survey on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Every year we have a different theme for the article that accompanies our ERP survey results. This year we decided to look at the fine print in ERP contracts and the good, the bad and the ugly about requests for proposals (RFP) used in software selection….”

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What’s happening at 180 Systems?

Personal

Michael Burns was diagnosed with cancer and underwent treatment last year. The good news is that it all worked and Michael is healthy again, so much so that he recently rode a bicycle from Toronto to Niagara Falls in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Lawrence Young, B.Comp.Sc., C.Adm, CMC, I.S.P. joined 180 Systems last year. He brings over 15 years of ERP system selection experience to our team and is based in Montreal.  

Jeff Zygouras, MMPA, CPA, CA recently joined 180 Systems. Jeff was a TA (Teaching Assistance) at UofT for Michael Burns for many years for a graduate course on Management Information Systems. Before joining 180 Systems, Jeff worked in public practice and industry.

3 Comments

Are newsletters a waste of time?

Personal

Many of us get so much email that we don’t have time to read newsletters even from trusted sources. So why write a newsletter if it’s deleted by many if not most readers as soon as it is received? Over the past year, we have opted not to potentially waste our time. But we have now decided to resurrect our newsletter partly because we don’t want you to forget about us but also because it’s good for Search Engine Optimization. Another reason is that the primary writer of our newsletter is healthy again…

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How do you compare a SaaS annual fee to a one-time license fee?

ERP, Software Selection

We have found that on average the one-time (on premise) license fee is 3 times the annual fee based on our experience in evaluating RFP responses from vendors. One might think that the ratio between license and annual fee should be greater but that does not take into account the additional hosted services provided by the SaaS vendors including maintenance fees which are billed annually by on premise vendors at approximately 20% of the license fee. It’s still early days for SaaS and as competition heats up the license ratio:annual fee will increase as SaaS fees are reduced. We recommend that even if the SaaS costs are high that you don’t rule out SaaS vendors just on cost. They are willing to negotiate and there are other factors that should be considered in making a decision.

2 Comments

ERP Customer Survey

ERP

From CPA Magazine and written by Michael Burns – “We have all heard horror stories about failed ERP implementations but we rarely hear about the ones that went well. Does ERP deserve the bad rap it gets?…”

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ERP Survey 2016

ERP

From CPA Magazine and written by Michael Burns – “Welcome to our annual vendor survey on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Our survey now includes 100 systems…”

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CPA Magazine cloud survey results

Cloud Computing

April 1, 2016 from CPA Magazine – “If CPA Magazine’s first-ever cloud survey is any indication, CPAs are generally a cloud-friendly group. About 40% of you are already using the technology and the rest plan to do so within the next year or two…”

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Cloud security: fact or fiction?

Cloud Computing

June 1, 2016 from CPA Magazine – “As our cloud survey article showed, data is moving to the clouds at high speeds across all kinds of organizations. But is the data safer than it was when these organizations kept it locked away on their own premises…”

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