Monday, March 4, 2013

Is Reliability Important?

When you hear the term reliability you think of many things.  Is showing up one-time on time a sign of reliability?  How about every day of the year?  What about the equipment that your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution runs on?  Whether it runs in the cloud or on premise, does it matter?  Should it matter?


What does 99.999% reliability mean?  How does that translate to actual uptime?  What about 99%?  How much down time can your organization afford?  What about the company that actually supports the equipment?  Do they need a good reputation and commitment to help their customers?

Would you (your organization, company, etc) be more productive if you were able to concentrate on running your business instead of running your equipment? 
Uptime and availability is not the same thing.  A system could be up, but not available.


What makes a lot more sense is to think of reliability as the key to longevity.  How will you serve your customers if your systems are down?  What will your employees do while the system is down?  How will your Salesforce function without the information they need, when they need it?  Will your customers go shop someplace else?  Will they come back? 


For the most part you want to select your ERP solution based on the solution.  Does the solution solve your challenges, align with your culture and fit your budget?  It is also important that the solution be up and running, so equal amount of attention should be given to the system it runs on.  Solution first, hardware second.  If either is not a good match, it is time to move on and keep looking.    Both software and hardware make the solution.  It has nothing to do with the cloud.


Software itself has to be reliable.  It needs to collect information, process it and product results consistently.  It does this running on hardware equipment.


Your systems need to be up and running, run reliably, and serve your users, customers, and suppliers.  If you had two relatively equal systems that ran on two different platforms and one had approximately 13 minutes of unplanned downtime a year and another had over 4 hours, would that make a difference?  After all four hours does not sound too bad, but what happens if that four hours is during your peak busy season or right before a board meeting?  How many servers does your organization need?  Multiply the downtime by the number of servers. 


Many organizations will shy away from a solution if they do not have experience with a particular platform.  New technology may mean new support issues, personnel and concerns.  This is where cloud solutions have a lot of appeal.  Just use the solution and leave the hardware issues to someone else.  Not a bad idea, unless the shift from in-house to external creates more problems than benefits.


Cloud has its challenges too.  Who owns the data, what happens if the hosting company goes out of business or is acquired by another firm?  What happens then?  Who has access?  Are you a regulated company?  How do you get your information back if you change your mind?  Will you be able to create your own reports?  What about data collection?  How reliable is your Internet connection?  Do you need redundant connections?  What if you are located in an area that has no choices?


At this point you may be more confused than when you started reading.  That is why we are here.  At Dolvin Consulting we work with your team to find solutions that fit your company’s culture, needs and budget.  We help manufacturers, distributors and specialty retailers streamline their computer operations with reliable ERP solutions so that they operate more efficiently, reduce costs and increase profits.


If you struggle with warehouse or inventory control issues, are concerned you have too many manual processes, have a fear that the constant flux in technology is leaving you behind, then contact us to see how we can help.  We care.


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