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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

September 2010

Welcome Back! We hope everyone enjoyed their summer break. Getting back to business - we're starting with some basics about how to go about selecting the right ERP system. Even experienced IT and business professionals make key mistakes in software selection. Read our lead story and maybe you can stay out of trouble!

John Pellegrino, our resident tipster, starts a new series this month with some good advice Stay Out of the "Black Hole" of Implementation.

Don't forget to read Paul Sita's ERP Blog Posts for the Sage Business Management Blog. His topical comments have been getting noticed! http://blog.sageerpsolutions.com/category/sage-erp-solutions/

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

It's not a game. When looking for an ERP system, clients often take the "It's us vs. them" mentality between their organization and the software vendors. If there's any one area where you need a true partner in business, it's between you and your ERP vendor/implementer. Once you make the selection and implementation you will have to live with that vendor for approximately 10-12 years (based on surveys). This is longer than most people live in their house! The way to build a partnership is to start at the beginning - communicating honestly, and ENGAGING with the vendors.

Lay out a process. Let everyone know what your process is for evaluating and selecting software. If you haven't done this before, then the vendors will very likely point out some good steps for you to follow. If you have done this before, there's no better way to stay on track than to communicate the key steps and milestone dates. It really doesn't matter if your process is absolutely the best process (it does matter), but it's critical to have a process. What are the steps, when are you looking to make key decisions? If you can't articulate a schedule, it will be impossible to hold potential business partners accountable to a process.

Come clean! If you have some inherent biases, don't be afraid to come clean with them. If you prefer Microsoft technology and would never consider an Oracle only solution, then say so. If you had a bad experience, or heard about bad experiences from colleagues with regard to a particular ERP soltuion, then you should mention this as well. This supports the first point about how to engage with the vendors - honesty is most certainly the best policy.

Don't waste time. Before you commit to spending a lot of time with a particular solution, ask for a quick web demo. Many ERP providers have on line demos already available on their web sites. Review these yourself to get familiar with their offerings. This way you can be an informed buyer, and avoid spending too much time with solutions that don't really fit your needs, or you can ask more targeted questions. Frequently reviewing these on line demos is a terrific team exercise to help sharpen the focus on your real requirements.

Never lose sight of your requirements. I mean never! If there's one rule you must follow, it's to keep your key requirements front and center at all times. As the selection process drags on, and it freqently does, it is all too easy to be swayed by impressive demos and dazzling tools, and ignore key differences in functionality and business process that are embedded in different ERP systems. Don't forget to look FOR software, not AT software. FOR implies a purpose and an objective.

Help is on the way. Innovative is here to help. We didn''t just write the book on ERP, we live it! Add Innovative to your team and watch your ERP initiative take off! Innovative IT - where we deliver Excellence in ERP.

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

Welcome back from our summer hiatus (where did all that time go?) and welcome back to our monthly newsletter. This month I am starting a series of tips that should be used when working through an implementation and/or a development project. These projects have many phases; design, implementation/development, testing and deployment. Often, they run several months (years?) in calendar time so these tips are especially critical to keeping the project running smoothly and they apply to all phases.

To each his own. This first tip is so important that there are a multitude of “terms” for it. For the meteorological fans it could be called “working in a fog” or for the medieval historian buffs it might be “locking yourself in a dungeon.” But, for a sci-fi aficionado like me it’s “falling into a black hole.” The analogy you use is your choice, after all, to each his own.

To each his own? Not! But, that’s where working on your own ends. For all other work on these projects you need to stay out of the “black hole.” You know, that’s where you talk to the key people in the user community for a short time then work on the project or a phase of the project for months (years?) to hopefully show them a finished product to get their feedback. Simply put, this is a mistake. Working with the key people on a regular basis, showing them iterative results and incorporating their feedback along the way is a much better process. If you don't do this you could fall prey to an astronomical phenomenon -- falling into the “black hole” and never coming out!

All of Nothing at All. And, on a related note, you have to do the iterative process with ALL of the key people. It's too easy to fall into a routine of just communicating with the few people who are "easy" to work with. If you fall into that trap, you will be working in a less efficient place than the "black hole"; you'll be working in the "grey area".

"What you should do with prospective ERP vendors?" (2 words)


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Continued focus on the basics- blocking and tackling. (after all, football season is upon us) - and always more useful tips and techniques for staying sharp - right to your in box. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

ERP Software Selection Basics.

Some common sense points about finding the right ERP system.

Tip of the month.

Project management tip. Stay out of the Black Hole of implementation.

Word scramble.


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