Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Choosing the Right ERP: 15 Points To Select And Implement ERP Successfully

Decide on the product on the basis of following points to make this operation successful: 

1. Entry at point of origin – data entry should be at the point of its origin. Otherwise it becomes an off-line non real-time entry. 

2. Online, real time processing – Let the data go as it happens in real-time so that everything gets updated and updates all the outputs. If material has entered from the in-gate and all documents are punched in the evening, actual inventory and inventory shown by computer will not match. 

3. Free Flow – Data should flow instantly as it is entered without any manual processing. All activities that can be done in computer should not rely on manual interventions. Imagine railway ticket booking – and data getting updated through a process every one hour or so, this way it will never show the real picture of balance seats for booking. 

4. Backward-forward linkage – There should be proper linkages to update data instantly. A payment of cash should reduce the balance in cash book, as well should update employee’s ledger. 

5. Top Down or Bottoms Up approach – This is the crux of success of the product. Whether end user defines the product or the top management decides about the system functional architecture. Management can understand and foresee business and business needs better than the end users. 

6. Documentation – Never compromise with this issue at any cost. All functional / Technical documents should be ready at appropriate time. Don’t let the system be designed or implemented without this. And don’t forget to get these docs updates as and when any changes happen. Keep revision numbers intact. 

7. Product ready to launch – You promise the crying baby that milk is ready and keep a empty glass in front of him along with milk powder box, sugar box and boiled water separately. Once you declare it to be ready, it should be launchable at any place by taking only the minimum stipulated time to launch. Then no coding further. 

8. Centralized control of servers- If you are launching this product at multiple locations, then keep centralized servers to avoid deputation of skilled manpower at all locations, unnecessary hardware expenses also getting manifold. 

9. Regular upgradations (OS / RDBMS / Front-end) – Take care that the new patches/releases/updates/upgrades get installed in no time as they are launched. To avoid risk you can have an offline test server to test it first. 

10. Core team identification (functional / technical)- Identify and declare functional and technical team who owns the responsibility of the success of implementation. Never forget to boost/motivate and backup. But do it maturely – no spoon feeding. 

11. Trainings / practice on offline server – Have a replica of live server as an offline server where you can conduct trainings and practice for new users. 

12. Redundancy of servers / bandwidth – Ensure that all the locations connected have appropriate bandwidth to hook on to the centralized servers. Don’t forget to have the backup of bandwidth / servers as there should be no downtime in real-time processing. 

13. Connectivity of all locations – Choose the right partner to give you a global solution rather than picking localized partners for a common, big issue. 

14. Identification of global partners for centralized activities and local partners for local activities – Understand the difference between global and local activities and choose the partners appropriately. A global partner for a local issue will not be a wise decision. 

15. Time-frame (not in years) – Don’t permit years to get it implemented. It should be rapid fire implementation where people and product should get recognized in limited time, else everybody will loose interest in its completion. It should be self-driven, full of motivation, with involvement of top management as it should be a corporate mission rather than IT mission and the ownership should be of all the persons involved.

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