The main facts, purposes, benefits and things to know about ERPs (2)
It is never too soon or too late to understand the basics and the reasons that generated the ERP phenomenon, especially that this type of business software kept pace with trends and times and we are now looking at them being the only viable option for business operations at the threshold of what may be a fully automated age.
With this in view, we selected a few key facts and data from a comprehensive CIO article about ERPs. This week, take a look at the benefits of ERPs, at their suitability and at the way an implementation should look like.
How do ERPS improve performance for businesses?
Having a quality ERP empowers businesses in ways that are hardly attainable with traditional enterprise resources. When such a software is deployed and fully functional, businesses most often report the following:
– Reduced time and increased efficiency for internal business processes;
– Better decisions, once based on shared data and common business processes;
– More agile, quickly adaptable internal structures;
– Better security, due to the centralized data base that is easier to secure.
How suitable is an ERP for your business?
Since ERPs have been around for a while and the brands have had enough time to gain a vast experience, as well as to adapt, currently there are various types of ERPs suited to cover different needs, derived from the type of industry, size, and complexity of the businesses – or even custom-tailored to particular needs, by employing add-ons and personalization methods.
There is virtually no business for which the quality ERP system of choice would be unprepared or unfit. True, ERP vendors advice that companies would choose implementation partners that are familiarized with their industry, since the specific nuances are not impossible to handle for the first time, but the process may be time consuming, while an experienced partner knows exactly what are the needed steps.
The ERP implementation essentials
An ERP implementation presumes an implementation team, a suite of steps and a certain expected duration.
The ERP implementation team is coordinated by an “executive sponsor”, which “gets approval to proceed, monitor progress, chair the steering committee, remove road blocks, and capture the benefits”. This person is different from the company’s CIO, but work closely with the latter, who in fact is the one that advises the executive sponsor in relation with the partner of choice designated to implement the ERP. Other management members may as well get involved in the process – therefore there will be an executive team for the ERP adoption project.
Reporting to this team there should be a business manager and an IT project manager, working together with the external specialists. Most of the times, the adopting company hires an implementation partner – the project manager from this partner company should be included in the implementation management team, as well as any other external specialist at a similar level the company might have hired to help with the entire process.
Curtsy to the source article, here is an image of the implementation team structure, to help with its visualization:
The main ERP implementation steps
The process begins with the stage of gaining formal approval, typically entitled the business case. A general time line for the project belongs to this part.
Following the first step, refining the elements of the business case (including the time line) constitutes the planning stage.
Configuring the software is the 3rd stage mentioned in the CIO source article.
What follows is the ERP system deployment, then the system stabilization.
As for the duration of the ERP implementation, there is no set period, since it is essentially different for each type of company, industry, and specific ERP. The article provides two examples, which you may see for yourself by accessing it here.