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6 Tips on How to Choose and Implement an ERP System

Kem Butler
Product Strategy Director

By:

Lyle
Ekdahl, Senior Vice President General Manager, Oracle’s JD Edwards

Cliff Godwin, Senior Vice President,
Applications Development, Oracle

The chief
purpose of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is to integrate all
departments and functions, such as accounting and finance, human resources,
sales management, supply chain management, customer relationship management,
and more, into a single computer system that can serve all of the different
departments’ needs.

Although choosing
and implementing an ERP system is crucial to many different types of
businesses, this task can be challenging. Many businesses struggle with
concerns about management, cost, and ROI. According to a survey by
Panorama
Consulting Solutions
,
the average ERP project in 2013 cost $2.8 million and lasted 16 months, with 54
percent of projects exceeding budget.

Here are six
tips for choosing and implementing an ERP system to help ensure you are on time
and on budget:

Thoroughly
evaluate the ERP system and the vendor’s technology pace

You should
seek the closest fit to your business requirements. Look beyond commodity
processes at deep industry capability. Explore how aggressively the vendor is
incorporating the latest technologies (mobile, big data, IoT, etc.) that create
potential for a competitive business advantage for your organization.

Use sound
business reasoning when choosing deployment options

Decide on
your mix of on-premise, hosted, or various cloud options based on current
skills, infrastructure, culture, and business appetite for investment in your
organization. Some combination of these deployment options may be necessary.
Your needs will change in the future so consider the flexibility of the solution
and keep options open.

Evaluate
the user community and how its members want to work with the ERP system

Delivering a
simplified user interface is no longer just a nice-to-have, but has become a must-have.
“Consumerization of IT” means that your users’ expectations are aligned with the
modern user experience paradigm. Today’s users and incoming millennials expect
easy-to-use, highly functional technologies that are optimized for any device.

Study the
vendor’s integration approach

Most
customers need multiple applications for their business, but the successful
integration of all these applications can be a major pain point for CIOs.
Modern integration technologies (SOA, ESB, REST, etc.) are critical for
achieving both low cost and flexible interoperability. Understanding how your
ERP solution inherently integrates with a diverse set of products helps with
current infrastructure needs and provides insight into the vendor‘s plans for
addressing application directions. Evaluate any complementary solutions the ERP
vendor offers, as these solutions could play a role in how suitable the
vendor’s ERP package is for your business.

Find the
right implementation team and tools

Look for a
partner with relevant, recent experience for your specific ERP package,
products, and version. Consider industry, region and company size experience of
the proposed team members. Always check references for specific individuals and
especially leaders. Evaluate and leverage all applicable tools the vendor and
partner provide to ensure on-time, on-budget and business-fit implementations. And
don’t forget tools and process for upgrades in the future. 

Take
responsibility, own your system, and crowd-source knowledge

Regardless of
the software distribution method, ERP is a valuable asset. After implementation,
be prepared to take the keys! Knowledge transfer is critical to successfully
driving best practices and daily operations. Outsourcing all knowledge of
system technology and business capability can create vulnerability. Finally, never
underestimate the value of networking. Attend user group meetings that can help
you discover unknown product capabilities and receive feedback on ideas and
plans from those experienced in ERP. Networking provides leverage when working
with your vendor on a future road map. 

Oracle
offers the broadest and deepest range of ERP solutions, addressing all key
business functions, including human resources, manufacturing, financial
management, business intelligence, and supply chain management-all backed with
Oracle's industry-leading technology. To learn more about our latest ERP
offerings, visit:
http://bit.ly/1rFz1JQ

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