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

June 2011

In ERP as in many areas of technology, the number of choices is growing. A common mistake is letting the number of choices get in the way of making a sound business decision. Don't let this happen to you!

John Pellegrino offers some great insight on embracing change and hints at changes to come at Innovative.

Guest columnist Mark Edwards continues to offer timely advice on data and reporting in a continuation of a theme started earlier this year - "Your data is only as good as your reporting".

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on ERP - Visual Processes in ERP and how this can improve your ERP success!

Summer Break Time.This is our last issue as we take a much needed and earned (our opinion!) summer break. Look for more great ERP content and exciting announcements from Innovative in the fall!

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

I thought we were consolidating? It is true that we have been seeing consolidation in the ERP space for a few years now. Some think we'll end up with only 2 or 3 suppliers of ERP systems. However, dive under the covers and what you'll find is that while the number of COMPANIES offering ERP systems is consolidating, the number of solutions, the variations on the solutions (industry specific vs. generic, full code vs. limited code) and the choices for licensing and deploying those solutions (traditional on premise, hosted, software as a service - SAAS) are multiplying.

Don't fall into the trap. Many executives use the sheer number of choices as an excuse for putting off a needed ERP upgrade or replacement. "There's too much uncertainty in the market." or "We need to wait until things settle down." Don't fall into this trap. The truth is that all areas of technology are changing rapidly (see John's tip of the month below) and this is not going to "settle down" any time soon. The pace of change and the cycles for replacement in all areas of our lives are much quicker than they used to be. We need to accept that fact.

Start with the big picture. So if you have a need for ERP - whether it is upgrade, replacement or first implementation - start with the big picture. Focus on your requirements, prioritize your short and long term needs - then look at the solutions, and pick a great partner. Work through the deplioyment issues with your selected partner.

Do something as opposed to nothing. The biggest ERP failures are those that never get started. The range of choices and your inability to explore every single one should not deter you from addressing critical business needs. Make plans, not excuses!!

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

Change is the name of the game.Over the years I have used the expression, “the only constant in business today is that things will change”, thousands of times. I know it sounds like a “Yogi-ism”, but like many of his expressions you see the truth and value in it when you take time to really understand it. As a member of the IT industry for many, many years (going back to when it was called MIS) I have seen a gazillion changes. As a matter of fact, this industry is really about change and acting as agents of change. But, human nature does not accept change naturally.

Change is good. Say it. Believe it. This is the crux of handling change, especially change that you did not initiate or anticipate. Handling change is about your attitude, embracing it and finding your niche in the new, changed world. When you start with the right frame of mind you can clearly plot out your personal changes that will be necessary to continue to be productive. Sometimes these are subtle, easy to accomplish changes. Often, they are pervasive and it takes a lot of hard work to accomplish the changes.

Change is coming. Another attitude adjustment is to realize that the change is coming whether you like it or not. You can spend your time complaining about it, which is destructive to you and others. Or you can spend your time helping implement the changes, which is an excellent accomplishment to add to your skills.

I write about this topic because change is coming to Innovative IT Consulting, too. We will be announcing these changes after our summer hiatus from writing newsletters. Rest assured that we are working hard to change ourselves personally and professionally for the better. But, who’s complaining? After all, change is good.

By Mark Edwards, Datareport Consulting, strategic partner of Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Mark can be reached at 347-732-9116 or markhedwards@aol.com.

In the February issue, Mark Edwards addressed utilizing reports to maximize the value of data stored in your ERP system. This can be taken one step further by tying ERP data together with other databases like Document Management or Contact Management systems. Here’s a great example of some forward thinking we utilized to address a client need.

To protect the innocent we’ll use Bill Smith, the North East regional salesperson for National Widgets, Inc. (NWI). Bill had an expanding territory and could only visit each account a few times a year, so he needed to make the most of each call. Here’s how we solved that problem.

We suggested and designed a CUSTOMER PRE-SALES VISIT REPORT to maximize the impact of sales visits.

Page One of this report is for Bill’s eyes only. This sheet helps Bill prepare for, and conduct, his sales visit with a Purchasing Agent for his client ABC Manufacturing. It contains information from the CRM system about ABC MANUFACTURING, as well as information related to John Doe, the Purchasing Manager. Perhaps John Doe has a favorite sports team or favorite place for lunch. Notes from prior contacts, as well as calendar task entries, were included.

By linking to the ERP system another section on page one provides a summary of ABC’s sales activity over the past 4 quarters, including sales trends, products purchased, profit margins, etc. Again, this section is for internal use only by Bill Smith.

Page two is based on the same information but is designed to be presented and left with the customers. It includes transactional data and trends, which are the basis for the key recommendations and messages delivered by Bill, such as . . .

“If we look at the historical analysis, we see that for the past three years your purchases from us have tended to rise sharply in June. Do you expect this to continue for the current year, and if so, is there anything we need to take into consideration this year?” OR “If we consolidated some of your orders with staged delivery dates, we could provide you with a higher discount which would save you $xx this year.

The benefits of this report are many – not only does it provide a quick, concise and standardized pre-sales visit package for the salesforce but it is also a useful tool between the salesperson and his or her manager. So as you see, the power of reporting is immense. All it takes is a little INNOVATIVE THINKING to unleash the treasure that lies within your data!

"A hiatus during July and August, sometime well earned. (2 words)"

R E M S A E K R B U M

_ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"Common but often incorrect assumptions" (MISCONCEPTIONS)

Innovative may be changing, but ERP is still on our minds. Stay tuned starting in the fall for even more timely and focused content. Keep your comments and suggestions coming in. We love to hear from you ! And enjoy your own well earned summer break. Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. Amaze your friends and colleagues with your expertise!

ERP choices - don't let confusion hold you back!

Change is Constant.

Your Data is only as good as your reporting.

The Customer Pre-Sales Visit Report.

Word scramble.

 

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