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Sandeep Walia, HITACHI Asia Pacific

Evaluating Your ERP System; 5 ERP New Year’s Resolutions.

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At the beginning of a new year resolutions are the hot topic. Most of these are of a personal nature, but how about some resolutions for your business - starting with your current ERP system.  Even if it seems that every person in the company, from management to the end user, is thrilled with the business system(s) being used, there is always room for improvement.

With that in mind – here are 5 ERP New Year’s Resolutions to begin working on now:

1. Evaluate the fit of your current system to the business. Business operations change, management changes, processes change, etc. The ERP system implemented years ago may not be meeting the business requirements anymore.  Create an RFP and apply it to your current system just as you would if you were evaluating a whole new system.  If you don’t have in-house expertise to put together a proper RFP which fully addresses the business requirements, there are software programs and consultants that can assist in this exercise for a reasonable cost.

2. Conduct a full audit of business processes and system applications.  Apply your RFP to the ERP system and truthfully evaluate the capabilities of your system against the business requirements.  Does it have what it takes to address those requirements and is it scalable enough to fulfill the projected requirements in the coming years.

3. Conduct user training. This is an often overlooked factor in successful implementation/use of any computer software.  And even if training was fully addressed in the initial implementation, again, business processes change, new employees are hired or users move to new positions, upgrades to the software offer new features, etc. User training should be an ongoing, never ending practice in order to maintain optimum system application, and reduce help desk inquiries.

4. Upgrade to the newest version. If your RFP and full system evaluation reveal that the current system is still the right one for your business then the focus should be on making sure you are using the most recent version available from the software provider.   In some cases this can be painful (customizations must be ported, testing must be done, etc.) but the payoff is worth it.  Upgrades typically include new/improved features that will benefit the business, not to mention the increased support that is available from your software vendor.

5. Implement a new system. Sometimes your evaluation will indicate that your current system is no longer meeting the needs of the business and then it is time to move on.  The RFP created in step 1 will simplify the search for a new system. Be sure that you include in this search evaluation/selection of a full service consulting organization to manage your implementation project and provide expert resources that will assist in the installation, training and customizations.

Taking a long hard look at the ERP system being used in your organization is worth the effort and should be done regularly. Once the facts of need and fit have been gathered, generating an ROI for approval of training, and/or upgrades, and/or a new system will be easy and management approval a sure thing. Happy New Year.

by Ignify, A Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner in Northern California

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