Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lessons Day2

Hi all!

After recapitulating yesterday's introduction about ERP Systems the focus today was going deeper into the question wheather or not a company should introduce such a software. Even if the descision was in favour of a ERP-system: How should a holding company act, how a company that is in different markets or has at least plans tHi ao diversify?

The methods we applied were well-known, general strategic descision making tools, like the SWOT-Analysis and the GAP-Analysis.

The SWOT Analysis consists of finding out where the concerned company actually is (finding out Strength and Weaknesses) and in which way external factors can influence this situation (Opportunities and Threats).

Following to that analysis the mid- to longterm goals for the company were to be defined. Some approaches argue, that this definition has to be made beforegoing over to the SWAT analysis, nevertheless, I think both ways are appropriate, even though they might have different outcomes. Defining goals before performing SWAT analysis provides maybe a better point of view on opportunities and threats, because the mental focus is on the targets to be achieved. The focus on mid- and longterm goals is especially important because the implementation of ERP may not help contemporary operative problems, because the selection and implementation of the new system may take at least six month but also up to two years [Shakir, 2000].

Once SWOTs and Goals are defined, it is possible to determine the difference between both, also called "gap" in the managerial terms. This point is where the choise of the ERP systems comes in: it should contribute closing those gaps. Out of the broad landscape of different systems (and for each systems the landscape of modules or coustumization options), the descision makers have to find out, which one fits best for the company's mid- and long-term needs.

The second part of the lesson was applying this theoretical knowledge on a firm, which is a group assignment that is still in progress... so I can tell more about that later.

In the third and final part one of my expectations came true: We were granted access to an actual SAP system and learned how to use the navigation via menu or command-line-similar codes. I consider this a very important experience and opted for a second computer lab session. I know for sure that I will have to deal with SAP (or a competitors product) in the future, so that already have - if even rudimentary - experience is a really worthful asset. It enables me not to have a scary look in my face if I am asked one day if I already have dealt with an ERP system and will definitely speed up the period of vocational adjustment at the point in time I will have to use such a system.

I become more and more interested in that field. Doing some surfing on the web I found that Microsoft recently tries to enter this market. It's Dynamics series, it integrated four product from companys it all aquiered subsequently to provide competitve ERP systems. Whereas MS is definetly one of the most dominant software providers in the world, we didn't even mention their products in the "smaller players".

So, now there are still some texts to read! See you tomorrow!

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