Big ERP

May 4th, 2010 11:01 pm Category: Enterprise Resource Planning, by: Richard Guy

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Many of us have worked with companies that provide large ERP solutions. Some of these experiences have been successful and others somewhat less than ideal. If you work in the manufacturing, supply chain, logistics areas, then you realize the vast importance of having access to meaningful data, although implementing a large ERP system does not necessarily mean you can get to that data. It has been my experience that having the data available and having the ability to get to that data and using it to perform strategic or tactical analyses may be challenging.

I recall a situation that happened to me many years ago. I was working for a large corporation that maintained a large database on its customers. All of this information was on a mainframe. To get access to the data so that we could perform analyses and generate reports required communication with the MIS department. We would schedule a meeting with one of the analyst to discuss what data we needed access to and what reports we required. The analyst would routinely tell us to fill out a job request form number 777. Then, this form need to go through several levels of management approval. If the request made it through the approval process it was put on the development schedule. Typically from start to end the process would take several months. In today’s world that would not be acceptable.

Shortly after this experience, personal computers were introduced into the business environment. Mainframe shops began to downsize. Resources devoted to maintaining and updating these large systems were streamlined. Business analysts that had access to PCs began to feel the freedom. They had a hardware environment that came with software such as spreadsheets that allowed them to take control and to perform the analysis on the data that they needed. It no longer required communicating with MIS, filling out forms, getting layers of management approval.

So my question is: Why does it still take weeks or months to get access to data in a meaningful format from these large ERP systems? I thought we improved the process. Oh, by the way, I was curious why the MIS development was assigned the number 777.  This was the question posed to me. You know how long it takes to get three sevens lined up on a slot machine? I answered, a long time; in fact it may never happen. MIS’s response, you are correct, and that is about how long it can take for us to process your request. I am not sure we have evolved too far from the old 777 days.

If you have not seen this site yet, it’s a must. This is a comedy series about big ERP. There are several episodes, with more to come.

If you have worked with industry standard ERP systems, then this comedy series will get some laughs.  Great scripting, acting and production! Well done!

I liked it so much that we’re including the videos here:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

If you would like to learn more about our Supply Chain Optimization services, please contact us. And if you would like to receive future updates on the supply chain optimization industry, subscribe to our SCO Journal and our SCO Newsletter.

Contributed by Richard Guy, Profit Point’s Director of Sales.

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