Monday, October 29, 2012

Business Value

It really does not matter the industry, business leaders should be asking themselves how they can maximize the investment their organization spends on technology to support their efforts.  This focus is more important than the technology itself.  What business process are we trying to improve with automation?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are typically at the forefront here and are also the point of failure for most organizations.   Reason being falls to many details, but at a high level it is easier to address a challenge by adding on to an existing solution or addressing it outside of and separately from an integrated solution. 


ERP works, because it incorporates all business functions. 

There are ERP solutions for most business industries today.  When I describe the focus to those not involved in technology, I say think about “boxes on shelves”.  Even the most lay person can visualize this environment.  It is in this type of environment where there is the greatest potential for a Return on Investment (ROI) from your investment.

ERP handles the food industry with its batch and lot control and FDA food tracking.  The Pharma industry also benefits from automation in inventory processing.  Retail industries are concerned with inventory turns and customer service (something all industries should focus on first).  Analytic or Business Intelligence applications help with the analysis of product movement and forecasting.  Salesforce and Contact Relationship Management (CRM) integration tightly integrates both internal and external sales processing.  Suggested purchase orders help to drive down inventory levels and at the same time maximize buying incentives.  E-commerce and EDI functions help integrate the supply chain to end customer support.

The more the organization adopts and embraces the changes ERP solutions offer, the quicker the return.  The problem for most organizations is the reluctance to tear their guts out and rightly so, and to instead try to fix a systematic problem with a band aid.  Ask yourself do you need a band aid or surgery? 

Everyone understands budget and the fact the economy is not full of investment monies.  That is why the first step is to undertake a thorough analysis of your business process.   Start with a technology audit.  What do you have, where is it, how are your people utilizing it and what are they doing outside of technology.  In particular what manual processing are they doing?  Where is there a paper log jam?  Are your people asking (or using without asking) mobile technologies? 

What information do your people need, where are they located, what devices are they using, and who are they?  These four aspects define your anywhere, anytime technology.

Next step after a technology review is to analyze the business processes your organization employs.  Are there areas where you can drive efficiency with technology solutions?  Can you integrate more of your enterprise?  What are the business goals that your departments are trying to achieve?

When the aforementioned analysis have been run through you will be ready to select and implement solutions that will drive operational efficiencies.  Sometimes this comes from more fully utilizing what you already have, sometimes it incorporates adding new modules or upgrading your existing system.  Sometimes the answer is to replace what you have.  It is not that what you are using is bad, it is just not giving you a competitive edge.  It may cost you more to keep using what you have than to bite the bullet and make the changes necessary to move your business forward.  It is not an easy decision to do major surgery, but it is better to do it when you are strong than to wait until there are no resources left.

In order to survive your businesses is going to increasingly rely upon technology solutions.  Now is the time to contact Dolvin Consulting, one of many trusted advisors to help you navigate the constant flux in technology.  ERP solutions today are more necessary than ever in order to deliver more value to the business.  ERP offers more significant opportunities to meet today’s challenges in real ways that increase operational efficiencies which make the business more agile, responsive and competitive.


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