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

May 2011

ERP suffers from a bad reputation. Some of it comes from the simple fact of many failed implementations, and the well worn "horror stories" and lawsuits. But on the other hand. . . . ERP suffers from a bunch of misconceptions that are all around us. This month we take a look at 5 popular ERP misconceptions.

John Pellegrino no stranger to the world of ERP projects, brings his usual (unusual?) point of view to the very important topic of TEAMWORK.

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on ERP - ERP- Get the low down!

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

Does it really matter? I'll admit it. I'm kind of defensive about trying to explain what we do for a living here at Innovative IT. I really don't mind that half the businesspeople I speak with aren't familiar with the term "ERP". It's the OTHER HALF of the people who think they know what ERP systems are all about. Does it matter? Well, I think it does, and not just because it's what our organization is all about. It matters because the promise of ERP is being held back by these misconceptions, and that should matter to companies looking to improve in so many ways.

So, as they say on Dancing with the Stars, in no particular order, here's my top 5 list of ERP misconceptions.

1. ERP is for REALLY BIG companies. There was a time when this was true - maybe 20 years ago. There was also a time when only really big companies had computers at all. Old habits die slowly. The "E" in ERP does stand for Enterprise. But an Enterprise is any organization that chooses to look at itself as an organic whole, and to operate as an organic whole in an effort to improve. There are ERP systems for enterprises of all sizes.

2. ERP is complex. Businesses may be complex. And if they are, then the systems to handle those businesses may inherently have a certain amount of complexity. But today's systems have all sorts of tools designed to help you operate in straightforward, simple ways - such as web based menus, dashboards and visual scheduling, etc.

3. ERP requires an entire IT department, which I don't have and can't afford) Once again, a carry over from many years ago. There are ERP options that require "0" IT support - yes there are many ERP systems that you can access via your web browser and pay for on a subscription basis. This is called the SAAS model (Sofware As A Service). (Not to be confused with the SASSY model - the software that talks back at you!) . Bottom line. There are many choices out there.

4. ERP projects always fail. This one touches my hot button. Big projects in companies frequently fail. And make no mistake, implementing an ERP system is a big project. The problem is that so many companies go into the project unprepared for what really needs to be done, make the decisions to undo some of the band aids of the past, and to really adopt business practices that fit within the ERP system. Unfortunately software VARs are under tremendous pressure to make sales, and there is a lot of incentive to underplay what will be required from the client. That's where consultants like us come in, helping customers plan, prepare and organize for success.

5, SAP, SAP, SAP. Unfortunately the gorilla in the ERP space is SAP, the company known for complexity and a system that can be all things to all people. But a lot of what people know about SAP has changed. And there are a host of smaller, more nimble, yet extremely powerful ERP systems out there that are true enterprise systems, such as one we've done a lot of work with, Sage ERP X3

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

Based on the title of this tip you might think that I am about to outline a cirruiculum for a class on teamwork. However what I am about to discuss is so elementary (my dear Watson!) that it is probably not even in any curriculum on teamwork. This could be why it is so often abused and just as often misused.

Follow the leader. As a team member it is important for you to follow the project leader. This means doing the best you can all the time to meet the objectives, including timelines, of the project. It does not mean sitting idly by when decisions are made and you have information that others don’t which could influence that decision. I have seen people abuse this (always following) by simply waiting until they were told what to do. And, I have seen this unused (never following) by people doing what they think is right even if the decision was to do the opposite.

Lead the followers. As a team member it is important for you to help lead the team to its goal. This means giving a lending hand to other team members when appropriate and taking on leadership roles when there are “sub-projects” or larger tasks to perform. It does not mean usurping the power of the project leadership by telling people what to do. Good leaders influence and encourage people to do what is best for the team and the project. I have known people to abuse this (always leading) by constantly creating factions within the team. And, I have seen this unused (never leading) by people with superior skills who are somewhat annoyed that they are not the project leader.

Lesson 1. If I was to teach Teamwork 101, the first lesson would be that sometimes you have to be a follower and sometimes you have to be a leader, and when to follow and when to lead -that is a whole course.(No time for that now . . .I have a lot of projects to take care of)

"Common but often incorrect assumptions"


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Answer to last month's word scramle.

"What you need to start developing an IT Strategy (2 words)" (GUIDING PRINCIPLES)

Look for more timely and relevant content on real world ERP and Enterprise software issues including cost of ownership, change management, Business Intelligence and more . . . delivered 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 Misconceptions are all around us.

Teamwork 101.

Word scramble.


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