Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 2 Articles

Assessing ERP Software
Generally companies seeks complete integrated ERP packages. This papers has some focus on Supply Chain Management and identifies some key issues such as lack of looking as a whole process to supply chain. another problem is when the sector is specialized some ERP vendors has shortages. That is supply chain contributors has already enterprise IT solutions, and these must be integrated with ERP solutions. The article mentions about SAP NetWeaver solution. In middle market some specialized vendors comes into picture. They have modern software packages that have full extension capabilities running on platforms like Microsoft .NET. The paper ends with explaining some new challanges like returned products or reverse logistic applications that current ERPs are not capable of.

Buyer's Inside ERP software
This article tackles ERP software identification, benefits, drawbacks, vendors, costs and future prospects with the help of an example "The City of WinniPeg".
The main drawbacks it encounter are interesting.
  • Legacy system integration or replace is much much harder than it is supposed to be
  • Duplication of data can not be easily figured out, so, ERP system can also have duplicate data.
  • Information that is available after ERP implementation does nothing todo with ERP system, there is a need for huge managerial effort here.
  • The implementation cost varies according to size of company and number of users, time to implement an ERP system generally takes longer than 2 years.
An interesting solution that article points is to implement ERP package as it comes out of package. That means not to configure it but use generic functionality. This can help to get familiar with software.
The future improvement for this example will be to implement a business intelligence application that will help data mining purposes.

Decision Making in the Evaluation, Selection and Implementation of ERP Systems
The article is about ESI (evaluation, selection, implementation) of ERPs. It mentions how costly (over $100000) time consuming (6 to 24 months) an ERP implementation is. The article gives 6 decision making tools.
  1. The Classical model
  2. The Administrative Model
  3. The Incremental Model
  4. The Adaptive Model
  5. The Irrational model
  6. The Political Model
From these alternative classical model is not applicable, as it requires implementation of all alternatives which is totally not acceptable. The irrational model for my point of view brings unsuccessfull implementation as this process is used when great uncertainity is in place. The political model is somehow familiar for us where political, close relational benefits are preferable to rational choices. among these administrative and incremental models and their composition adaptive model is widely used for evaluating a project. The article examines an example of ERP decision which is from HSP ltd. The main reason was Y2K problem which is totally unrelated for an ERP implementation. A war team is acquired for selection purposes. Article mapped the selection process to mentioned models.

Initiation --> The political model
Requirement Analyses --> The adaptive model
Inviting vendors --> The political model
Vendor shortlisting --> both administrative and political
implementation --> adaptive model
post implemetation--> administrative model.

The ERP Purchase Decision: Influential Business and IT Factors
The article is about decision factors for ERP selection. There are four business factors (data integration, new ways of doing business, global capabilities, flexibility/agility) and four IT factors (IT purchasing, IT cost reduction, IT expertise, IT architecture) are defined.
The article reports the results of the first stage of the study, the identification of ERP package capabilities that influence ERP purchase decisions. There are mainly two categories, Business capabilities of ERP packages, IT capabilities of ERP packages.

The main business capabilities are ability to make faster responses to business change, reduced cycle times, consolidated ordering, improved marketplace agility, and workforce empowerment.

In this category article figures out that the business should be matched to the software rather than vice verse. And for me that is totally an It depends situation, and generally the other way is chosen for many companies. Best practices mentioned to replace current business processes are to general to rely on and totally eliminates company specific processes which are a great competitive advantage for a company.

The main IT capabilities mentioned here are desire to replace mainframes or legacy systems which is understandable. It mentions here current modern approaches of SAP system. The other factor mentioned is time and cost savings due to upgrade process. but that is also an "IT depends" situation. Because upgrade itself need a huge IT and managerial effort.

At the end article defines main categories and selection process, but it fails to give the results which was totally interesting and unexpected for such an article. To read all of the staff without acquring the main honey was a great suprise for me.

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