Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 3 Articles by Tolga YILDIRIM

A Framework for Evaluating ERP Implementation Choices & Configuring an ERP System: Introduction Best Practices or Hampering Flexibility?

An important argument topic regarding ERP systems is the issue of the alignment between an organization’s business processes and the ERP system. The ERP solutions, in general, come with ‘best practices’ and many times, an organization simply adapts its processes to the ERP system. Sometimes, however, some portions of the ERP system are customized to use the unique business processes of the organization. The question, then, is how to find an appropriate match between customizing the ERP system and changing the business processes in the organization. The fit between business processes and ERP systems and among business processes is believed to be critical to the success of ERP implementation.

In order to ensure the fit between business processes and the ERP system, an organization can either play with its processes, or with the system, or with both. We can call customization on the ERP system as technical customization, where we call customization of business processes as process customization.

There are three possible technical customization options, which are module customization, table customization and code customization. Code customization is the most technical and detailed customization among them. Similarly, there are three possible process customization options, which are no change, incremental change and radical change. An organization should first analyze its technical change and process change capabilities in order to choose an appropriate combination of customization options. An organization with high technical capabilities can go for even code customization, where one with low technical capabilities should definitely not.

It is highly difficult to implement in environments where there is resistance to change. It takes a lot of effort to establish a fit between business processes and the ERP system, if the business processes are unique, as in Photographic Supplies Distribution Company. Different parties’ differing and conflicting interests and awareness levels on specific problems incur problems that are hard to be addressed.

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