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Take the time to have a good look at your business

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When implementing an ERP, it is common to get all the operational managers into a meeting and discuss the individual aspects of the business.

A common occurrence during these meetings is questions being raised by the various department heads about what was being done in the business and why – creating a great opportunity to get together to analyse and possibly redesign the way things are done.

Before implementing an ERP, it is important to have an understanding of what you are doing and why. Equally important is knowing what you want to do moving forward, and why. Be careful that you are not simply taking a mess and making it an automated mess.

“Why?” is always an interesting question to ask. Often you will find that a process is in place that is of no real benefit. Perhaps once this process was vital, but time goes on and the world changes, so should the process. I have seen many instances of this, and here are some quick examples:

  • A process to minimise the impact of sales tax, even though tax legislation changed years ago.
  • A long and detailed report for a manager who only needed one figure on the last page.
  • A process to get around a deficiency in the legacy ERP, a deficiency that did not exist in the new ERP.

When reviewing business processes and IT systems, it is worthwhile to keep in mind the five simple principles of the system development lifecycle:

  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Implementation

It is always tempting to jump right into design and construction, but without analysis you may be heading towards a lot of work without the right benefits.

Do you really know your business?

Steven Hafey

Steven Hafey

Steven Hafey is a Technical Business Analyst for ERP vendor Pronto Software.

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