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Why regularly review your ERP Application?

(AIS) Advisory Is Solutions Inc.

Your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system must be reviewed regularly so that your system and business processes are operating efficiently and at Peak Performance. Why? Because system applications must respond to the continuous demands of your business and the better your applications are operating the more efficient your staff will be. System performance can also be attributed to data integrity and attaining real time information so that all levels of management can make timely and the best decisions for their organization.

Continuous review and maintenance is vital just like maintaining your car. If you want your car to run efficiently you must maintain it so it increases the life of the asset and most of all it operates at the highest performance. No one wants to be stranded with a broken vehicle on a highway much like not being able to access business information within your ERP when you need to.  

As a business owner, I require the facts so I can manage my business operation. Lack of facts almost always insights danger about your company’s performance and how you need to react to any going concerns.

When performing an ERP review one must consider at least 4 Business Areas to deliver organizational performance:

There are many sub-components to consider within each Business Area when reviewing your ERP / IT System as shown below:  

The following 3-Step process should be evoked to help you with your ERP review and respond to business challenges:

Typical conclusion from the 3-step evaluation process: If organizations are not getting the highest Strategic, Operational, Financial, and Technology value from their existing ERP then one will typically get a higher benefit from system replacement but at a higher cost as depicted in the grid below. The higher cost from ERP replacement is also higher in year 1 but the benefits will continue to rise with costs reducing in future years.

Benefit vs Cost

Conclusions: Organizations should always perform internal reviews of their current ERP application. Through proper system maintenance in collaboration with your internal team and ERP vendor your organization should realize the maximum throughput from your ERP, leveling up your system efficiencies and being ready for any business challenges that come your way.

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Why hire an Independent ERP Consultant?

Hire an expert

When you get sick you see a doctor, when you need legal advice you see a lawyer, and when you are looking for the best ERP Solution for your company you hire an Independent ERP Consultant.

These days everyone has become more self-reliant with the use of Google or other internet browsers and we feel empowered to get whatever information we want from diets to self help to answers about ERP Software. With information so easily accessible and at our finger tips why not right?! The only catch is knowing exactly what questions to ask so you can make decisions about how best to proceed. I’ve found that simple questions can easily be answered from your web browser but the more intricate the questions the harder it is to find the answers. If you want to save time, money, and select the best ERP solution for your company then an Independent ERP Consultant is the best way to go unless you’ve done this many times before.

Like any other professional, an Independent ERP Consultant is very skilled at what they do. They know the ERP industry, the solutions that are available, vendors that implement them, and the best system to select given your needs, industry, size, complexity, budget and timelines. More importantly, once the ERP solution has been selected, they are able to advise on the best ERP implementation strategy to deploy based on a number of factors including the ERP Vendor Methodology and Approach that will be used.

ERP project success is dependent on knowledge and experience. The more ERP system selection and implementations you’ve done the higher your success rate. Like the old adage “the more you do the better you get”.

Hire an expert

No matter how seasoned you are in the ERP world, you will never be able to 100% eliminate risks from project failures but you can reduce it dramatically. So if you are unfamiliar with the various stages of the ERP Life Cycle: Requirements Gathering, System Selection, and Implementation phases of a project then it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Here are six reasons how an Independent ERP Consultant can help your organization:

  • Understands your requirements and establishes your ERP Strategy – Identifies your current and future state business requirements, areas for process improvements, functional needs, and your business constraints.
  • System Selection – Identifies the vendors to solicit and submit a Request for Proposal or Request for Information for vendor responses, grading, short-listing for vendor demonstrations, more grading, vendor recommendations & contract negotiations.
  • Technology Assessment – Identifies the best software alternatives based on various factors such as needs, costs, complexity, and scale (to name a few) for vendor solicitation.
  • System Implementation – Manages all facets of the system implementation from managing your Project Team, the Vendor, project timelines, budget, and scope.
  • Continuous Improvement – Monitors application performance (post live) so that the application is operating at its optimal level and recommending improvements during the process to maintain the ideal ERP conditions.
  • Cost / Benefit – If you hire the right ERP Consultant you will recoup their services fees through process improvements, contractual agreement negotiation, managing all facets of your project implementation so the selected ERP will be implemented correctly the first time!

About the author: Al Esmail, PMP, CPA, CGA has held Senior Management positions with ERP vendors like SAP, Microsoft, Infor, and Sage. He currently leads an ERP I.T. company helping customers with all facets of their ERP life cycle. Al has over 20 years’ of ERP experience and has managed over 200 ERP project implementations locally and internationally.

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ERP System Selection and Implementation

(AIS) Advisory Is Solutions Inc.
With the right process decisions become easier!

Companies that are growing, needing to streamline their business processes, and wanting to harness the best technology to stay competitive should review their ERP Strategy . Change is difficult for any organization but if it allows them to be stronger then they should consider either upgrading or replacing their old Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for a new one to stay in the game.

For many companies going through a formal Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) review is complicated, long and drawn out, and a daunting experience; from soliciting their users about what they need, to determining the best ERP solution for their organization after talking to many ERP vendors.

Either way, one would naturally think that whatever the final decision, the ERP system should work for them because it works for other companies with similar processes and the product demonstration looked good. If that is the case all ERP implementations should be successful right?! In some cases the outcomes were successful and in others fraught with cost overruns and Go Live delays.  Companies make a huge financial investment when changing their ERP application and everyone wants a successful project outcome. So how can that be achieved?

Here are 5 simple steps to remember if you are embarking on the journey of Software Selection and Implementation and you want to increase your chances for a successful outcome:  

Step 1: Understand your companies’ goals, objectives, and business requirements, and figure out where you are today and where you need to be in the future.

Step 2: Understand the complexity of your business and how change is evoked within your organization and how sophisticated your users are to embrace the change that is in front of them.

Step 3: Based on the above two steps, determine the best ERP solution for your organization. Something that is tried and tested and made for your industry and size and is aligned to your ERP Roadmap.

Step 4: Go through the process of comparing the top ERP vendors and select the best one. Be sure to review the Software, Services, and Annual Maintenance contracts so you know what’s in scope and the costs to deliver the full solution, including support costs post Go Live.

Step 5: Hire a Project Manager to manage your team and the ERP vendor so the project is implemented correctly, is on time, on budget, and the vendor delivers on their commitments. The Project Manager should also be able to coordinate the activities to make sure your I.T. environment is ready for the ERP implementation.

The above steps are the foundation for a successful outcome if you spend the requisite amount of time at every step. The one size fits all does not apply with ERPs. Your industry, your size, your complexity, your people, your budget, and your timelines are just some of the factors to consider when choosing the best ERP solution for your organization let alone the future scale so you don’t outgrow what you have purchased.

Whether you do this on your own or you hire an Independent ERP Consultant, you should follow a process and make sure your Project Team is included at every step of the project from requirements review, to system selection, to the system implementation.

About the author: Al Esmail, PMP, CPA, CGA has held Senior Management positions with ERP vendors like SAP, Microsoft, Infor, and Sage. He currently leads an ERP I.T. company helping customers with all facets of their ERP life cycle from identifying your business requirements, helping you select the best system for your industry, Project Managing the implementation, and providing post live support for your ERP solution.