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Best Practice Strategies

THinK Best Practice Strategies

Why ‘State-of-the-Art’ Business Best Practice Systems?

Integrated software systems have been around for decades, usually of the modular variety. Companies have installed combinations of desired modules and interfaced them to legacy systems, writing add-ons, or customising the software to fit specific company needs. Since this time, systems have been viewed as a series of interrelated modules, much in the same way as businesses have become increasingly compartmentalised.

 

Most of these systems were thought of as integrated because each of the business functions were included and updates between modules were affected.  In fact, most applications were only interfaced to whatever legacy systems were retained and to each other. The difference between integrated systems and interfaced systems is basically that with interfacing, data is necessarily duplicated between systems. As such, real time updating is not always available and data sources can become confused. With so many integrated systems around, databases and communications proves to be the challenge, while in tandem, PC-based subsystems were and still are being used to patch problems left by incomplete functionality of systems. This effectively results in more duplication and new systems producing mountains of information with spreadsheets and database systems. The results are too often that information is limited to the departments who generate it. Management information, used for decision-making, is culled from a variety of sources, such as mainframe and PC-based, and then re-manipulated. This results in a “management information system” based upon anecdotal business data.

 

The emergence of client-server technology has now accelerated the stampede towards greater data and “information islands”, with a serious consequence; users can not only run “company” systems but continue to run ‘complimentary’ systems and share data and programs with other complimentary systems. With these enormous amounts of information and data being expressed in new ways, companies have become overwhelmed with data based points of view. However, a key factor in all-of-this, is the neglect and ultimately the need to maintain data integrity. Additionally, the fact that data flow has not necessarily lead to information flow. Remember data becomes information when it enlightens or instigates action.

 

Only recently has the true concept and understanding of workflow begun to truly emerge as the focal point of new systems supports. Workflow allows for a smooth business path that incorporates, both, information and action, a way of working that cuts to the profitable chase. 

 

Are You Ready for ERP &/or SAP?

 

There has been much written about ERP and especially SAP, with some positive and a lot of negative issues being raised. However, cutting through the smoke of the hearsay and opinions in search of what is true and untrue is one of the critical issues that companies face in trying to ensure a successful implementation. No matter what companies look for or endeavour to achieve through the implementation of an ERP system, especially SAP, one thing is certain and that is a lot of pain goes into implementing these systems. But it is also recognised that a company can LEAP into the future if the implementation is wisely rendered.

The following table gives an understanding to implementing an ERP system such as SAP R/3 over a classical software implementation, such as legacy systems and to some degree, SAP R/2:

Classical Software Projects

  • Cater to individual divisions or departments

  • Address incremental evolution

  • Software development is the primary activity (IS dominated)

  • Project method is step x step & linear

  • IS & Users negotiate design.

 

SAP S/4 Hana Projects

  • Address company as a whole

  • Force radical evolution

  • Business re-engineering and Change Management are the primary activities (business dominated)

  • Project method is iterative & interactive

  • Users define usage.