Alexis's Ark

ERP Demystified

By Alexis Leon, Tata McGraw-Hill, 2000.

To survive, thrive and beat the competition in today’s brutally competitive world one has to manage the future. Managing the future means managing the information. Today, the difference between market leaders and followers, successful companies and sick industries, profitable organizations and losers, is the way in which the companies make use of information—information generated by the company (the internal information) and the information about the business environment. All companies generate huge amounts of data—financial data, details of the customers, purchase details, employee data, and so on. Similarly the company management should make conscious efforts to keep themselves aware of what is happening in the market place, what and how the competitors are doing, what are the consumer and market trends and so on. Only an organization that makes the best possible use of this information can succeed. But the problem is that in this age of information explosion to collect, collate, summarize and refine the huge amounts of data is a daunting task. People alone cannot do the job. In order to manage the information, in order to deliver high quality information to the decision makers at the right time, in order to automate the process of data collection, collation and refinement, organizations must make Information Technology an ally and should harness its full potential and use it in the best way possible.

Almost all organizations are turning to some sort of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package as a solution to their information management problems. ERP packages if chosen correctly, implemented judiciously and used efficiently will raise the productivity and profits of companies dramatically. But many a company fails in this because of wrong product, incompetent and haphazard implementation and inefficient or ineffective usage. The most crucial factor that decides the success of an ERP implementation is how the employees use the system. Even the best ERP system can fail if the employees are not interested in using it or using it wrongly or inefficiently. To get total and complete employee support and participation the organization must make it a point to educate the employees about the potential benefits and give them the necessary training.

This book is about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)—its evolution, implementation, and advantages. The book is divided into five sections — Introduction, Implementation, Business Modules, ERP Market and Present and Future of ERP. The first section gives an introduction to ERP, what is it, what are the benefits and what are the related technologies. Section two deals with the ERP implementation issues. It starts right from the beginning—selection of the ERP package for the company—and discusses all issue that will crop up before, during and after the implementation. Some of the topics that are discussed are package selection, implementation lifecycle, implementation methodologies, implementation costs, implementation team, role of vendors and consultants, contracts with vendors and consultants and so on. Section three deals with the major modules in an ERP package and how each module functions. The fourth section is about the ERP market place and the major players in the ERP marketplace. Section five deals with the technological advancements that will change the nature of today’s ERP packages. This section also covers the future trends in ERP market.

The appendices include ERP resources on the Internet, ERP—A manufacturing perspective, ERP FAQs, ERP glossary and ERP case studies (success stories). The book also has an appendix—Careers in ERP. This appendix gives the guidelines on how to make a switch from other areas to the ERP profession and how to make that transition successful and as risk free as possible.

The book is mainly for managers and executives who are entrusted with the job of implementing an ERP system in their organization. The book contains all they need, package selection, costing, implementation methodologies, team organization, training, dealing with vendors and consultants, post implementation strategies and so on. The book is not specific to any package. The book will come in handy for anybody who wants to know about ERP, what is its future, how a company can benefit from ERP and for those people who want to make a career switch to ERP segment. This book assumes nothing; all concepts are developed from grounds up and integrated in such a manner that will provide the necessary logical flow for the reader.