Specialists in IT Strategy and ERP.

January, 2009

This month's features.

Mid Market ERP Success Strategies. The difficult economic climate is making every company look for ways to wring additional benefits out of their resources. The good news is that if you have already implemented an ERP system, now is the time to go after those benefits. And if you haven't made the plunge yet, statistics indicate that adopting ERP is part of a transformational process that distinguishes the most successful mid market companies. This is must reading for all of our subscribers. And in our TIPS column, John Pellegrino talks about PLANNING, that nasty diversion that gets in the way of DOING real work!


Mid Market ERP Success Strategies. By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

There really is such a thing as ROI. Many of our articles have dealt with achieving ERP success, organizing project teams – simply “getting through” the difficult process that implementing an ERP system represents for any organization. This is particularly true in the mid market, where companies frequently have grown faster than their infrastructure, their staffing and in many cases their organizational maturity.

How do they do it?

This month we borrow on some research from Aberdeen –which looks at those mid market companies who have been most successful at achieving benefits from ERP – tangible, measurable business benefits – and the practices and actions that correlate with that success.

What is success? Success in companies adopting ERP can be measured in a few key areas:

    1) Reduction in operational costs.

    2) Reduction in inventory. In real estate it’s location, location, location – in ERP it’s inventory reduction, inventory reduction, inventory reduction.

    3) Service level attainment – complete deliveries meeting the customer’s specified delivery date.

Are these the things your organization is after? ERP is essential. But let’s not forget that ERP is a tool, and as with any tool – it’s what you do with it that matters. And among companies who report getting the maximum benefits as defined above the difference is HOW they are using it, and what they focus on. But how do they do it?

The strategies for maximizing ERP success.

It's as simple as 1,2,3! (Well not exactly)

1) Use More. The most successful companies use more of their ERP system – more modules, more functionality, fewer standalone and silo’ed systems. The more that you depend on the ERP system, the more likely you are to derive value on it, and move closer to a “single version of the truth” and the kind of decision making transparency that supports an agile enterprise.

2) Stay current. The latest release, or at most one back. Why is this important? It goes hand in hand with a progressive approach, and it shows a focus on staying in touch with the ERP vendors market and plans, most of which are frequently driven by what customers want and need. If you’re investing regularly in staying current, chances are that you’re combining this with adopting new functionality. See our series of TIPS on Upgrades by CLICKING HERE

3) Management is involved. In the most successful ERP adopters, management, usually represented by an executive sponsor of the ERP project, typically stays interested and involved in ongoing suggestions, ideas and issues. Here again, this creates a focus on making sure that the system is adapting and staying relevant to the needs of the business.

Lessons to be learned.

It’s pretty clear. ERP is critical. Adoption is hard. The benefits are there if you maintain the focus and continue the effort. Need help. Call Innovative, the ERP experts.


Tip of the Month

Planning is Real Hard Work!
By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

Over the years I have seen many projects fail because there was no plan of action to accomplish the objectives and goals. Failing could mean taking longer or costing more or not getting completed at all. Although there are a few exceptions, I believe that most people would agree that a solid plan is a good thing to have. The reason some projects don’t have a plan is that it takes time, effort and discipline to create one. In other words it is real and hard work, as a matter of fact it is real hard work. Here are a few tips to make the work a little easier.

• Allow some time at the start of every project for creating a plan. The time spent should be appropriate based on the relative size of the project. If a project is estimated to take 2 weeks you don’t need to spend several days planning it.

• Utilize the correct tool based on the size and scope of the project to document the plan. You don’t need to use Microsoft Project (or equivalent) for a small project, but you do need to document its plan.

• Plan at an appropriate level of detail based on the project and the team working on the project. There is no need to plan activities that will take hours in a project that will take months.

• For larger projects, break the plan into phases. Many IT projects have design, build, testing and implementation phases. Plan the initial phase in more detail than the other phases and remember to allow some time for more detailed planning for the next phase towards the end of each phase.

• Realize that no plan goes exactly as initially laid out, so you need to continually review and modify the plan. Again, allot an appropriate amount of time and determine the appropriate frequency for this review based on the relative size of the project. Plan the work and work the plan.

What's new?

The Question of the month!! Every month we field a question from one of our fearless readers! Don't be shy. Submit your hardest question and see how we do.

Word Scramble time.
The process of dramatically improving the way an organization works.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Answer to last month's word scramble.

“ Information used strategically for improved business performance." (INSIGHT)

Question of the month. This month's question comes from Lucy in Pasaic, NJ.

Our ERP team mostly sits behind closed doors. Our users are very nervous that the implementation may not reflect the real needs of the business. What should we do?

Lucy, it sounds like your company is making one of the most common mistakes, namely treating the ERP project as an IT project, not a company wide business project. Try to play up the benefits of a good ERP implementation and speak to some managers to see if they share any of your concerns. Communications is a key aspect of every ERP project. The project charter, objectives and the time line should be shared with the entire organization. If this isn't being done, try to see if the project team is receptive to this. If it's too top heavy in terms of IT people driving the project, they may not be comfortable with this kind of communications. Let them know that improved communications will improve their chances of success and adoption of the ERP system.  

A Look Ahead To Next Month

We continue our look at ERP benefits and values. Stay tuned!!  

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Innovative IT Consulting, LLC
(631) 549-1685