By C. Fernando
The decision to take on an enterprise resource planning system is a strategic one in today’s efficiency-driven, information overloaded business world.
Sri Lankan businesses are in a flux of constant transformation due to growth and opportunities that are now global, and an economy that sends a multitude of signals, which are critical to business processes and ultimately ensuring demanding customers are satisfied. Gone are the days where any rate of service will keep your customers as now they have become selective for on-time, on-budget, and quality services.
The truth of the matter is most enterprises do not have the right manpower to dedicate to this extensive and vital selection task. ERPs are not out-of the box solutions no matter how many vendors will promote them that way; the benefits lie in the ability to unlock the power of any solution. The top outcomes of ERP are increased visibility of company data to enable timely decision-making and the distinct ability to not only capture, but also optimize business processes.
How is your firm’s data visibility – Are your processes optimized for performance? Is this met by your existing system?
Although it is common to allocate ERP selection objectives to the IT department or person, this is the first misstep that companies take in their ERP selection process. ERP is a company-wide responsibility and decision that has to be understood and embraced especially by senior management for the benefits to flow through the company from investing in such a system.
There are 2-3 parties to ERP relationships typically the buyer company, the seller/implementer, and the developer of the solution. As systems become larger the separation between the buyer and the developer increases and a large part of the interaction takes place with the seller and implementer.
In Sri Lanka most sellers are the implementers themselves with rare occasions where companies are pure sellers and another firm is contracted for implementation services. The key point for buyers here is that only the buyer, ultimately, is responsible for the company objectives being met by the solution; therefore it is critical to get the requirements right and realistic.
The sales environment of ERP and the project environments of ERP are vastly different with the people assuming these roles markedly varying in personalities and management styles. Where you might have a perfect relationship with your ERP sales rep your team might have a nightmare dealing with their project team. The point here is the full picture is rarely evident in the sales stages of ERPs and to a large extent the project side is an afterthought simplified into a few slides, Gantt charts, and milestones.
There is rarely an occasion where an ERP selection & project manager is available on the buyer company’s team and there is rarely a need to hire for such a person on a permanent basis as the project does have an end point. However, the critical point for company’s considering an ERP solution is the need to have a knowledgeable resource on their team to aid in the selection and project processes. With such support a company’s chances of making the appropriate system selection and finalizing the project improve dramatically. The major benefit of this is saving a lot of company time & possibly millions of Rupees during the lifecycle from ERP selection to delivery of the solution.
Holistic set of services
ERP Services brings a vast body of knowledge in enterprise software sales and project environments to buyers via ‘truth’ oriented workshops designed to inform managers on realities of ERP selection, participation in evaluation committees, and project management services.
This comprehensive and holistic set of services ensures that buyers are not left behind and vendor deliverables are progressed. What is equally important is that, being independent ERP Services is able to deliver clear messages acting as a vital bridge between the buyer and the seller.