Tuesday, April 08, 2008

ERP...see what SAP is!

Today, the class was mainly focused on one famous ERP system: SAP and its implementation in an organisation.
I understood that the industry of ERP was composed of three different groups. Let's have a look on those three:
First, there are major players. Big companies are likely to use this kind of software, SAP is one of those. They usually use SAP, Oracle PeopleSoft because it is safer for them, it provides security for information transmitted from all the department of the company. Those softwares are known and accepted by expert. They have a good reputation. Using this SAP can increase the efficiency of the organisation thanks to an after-sale service. Most of companies using this kind of softwares have a financial support and are multinational.

Second, an organisation can decide by implementing a smaller ERP system for different reasons: because the corporation is smaller, because it will be cheaper, because it will be more adapted to specific needs of the company (better customization). Small company can choose this kind of software because there will be a better communication between the IT and the consulting firm and the company (exchange of needs).

Third, an organisation can decide to implement an Open Sources is a free software which everyone can use and provide advices to everyone (like firefox). The advantages of using an open sources is that it is free to start (but the implementation still has a cost....high cost! time, optional services). The organisation receives the community support which can prevent them using a consulting firm. The company will have its in house people who will develop the ERP system. This system is quicker to implement.

There many possibilities when an organisation wants to implement an ERP system, it can combine both system (a major player and an open sources one) but costs will be higher. Managers won't understand why using two different models.
However, ERP doesn't provide competitive advantage because it has to fit the organisation and can be adapted to one but not to the other.

The ERP system is customized according to the needs of the company, this is called BEST of BREED: a mix of best modules in the same ERP. One advantage of SAP is that it is a software that global companies can use because it supports different currencies and languages.

To implement an ERP there are three point to take into account: first is the human ressources one, who will implement the system? Will it be a consulting firm or directly the employees? Is it better to outsource and have an external and objective view? or if employees are in-house they might know exactly their needs. Then, it is important to define a time schedule for the implementation, will the implementation be a radical one or an incremental one? This depends on the strategy of the company, but a Big Bang is often difficult.
The third level concerns the degree of customization of the system, if it fits the needs of the company or sees what parameters should be changed to improve benefits.

The implementation of an ERP really depends on the motivation of employees to get involved in changes.

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