Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lessons Learned v3.0 by Tolga YILDIRIM

Organizations that are in search of effectively managing their information in order to have better decision-making capabilities have several options for an enterprise wide information system. The first option, obviously, is implementing an ERP solution to solve the information needs. An ERP solution should be considered as a digital nervous system that enables the organization to act as effectively and efficiently as if it were a single body. Information needs, business processes should be analyzed by a core team in the organization to implement an ERP solution which will enhance the capabilities of the organization.

However, implementing an ERP system is not the only option. The second option is the ‘best-of-breed’ solution. For example, an organization may choose to implement the best SCM (Supply Chain Management) from one solution provider, the best HR application from another solution provider and a CRM from another one. Then, the organization tries to tie these different applications so that information integrity is maintained. This approach incurs several concerns, beside advantages. By installing the best applications for different functions, an organization gets the best possible individual solutions and capabilities. However, the amount of time and effort, in addition to cost, needed to ensure the integrity of information is tremendous. The organization has to deal with the complex tasks of handling upgrades and monitoring any integrity problems, thereby employing increased number of technical staff.

Another option available is in-house development. Depending on the complexity of business processes and information needs of an organization, the success rate of in-house development approach diminishes. ERP solution providers, or solution providers in general, have the expertise and know-how in solving information needs successfully. Implementing an ERP system is a serious job, and requires professionalism, expertise and know-how. In addition, the organization needs to employ a huge number of technical staff.

Organizational Change Management is the most important aspect of an ERP implementation. The organization may implement the most appropriate ERP solution, yet information needs may not be met. An ERP system changes the way people do their jobs. Therefore, the human factor comes into play significantly. Resistance to change occurs if the organization does not manage the change process. The soft stuff in fact, is really the hard stuff. Organizational Change Management can be summarized as a series of initiatives to prepare the organization and the individuals. Five steps can be categorized as training, security/role development, super user development, communications, and business process procedures.

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