Business Magazine

Effective Selection and Implementation of Software Solutions

Posted on the 20 June 2011 by Litcom

images 150x150 Effective Selection and Implementation of Software SolutionsInformation is power and more often than not it is the deciding factor in a company's success. As a result, more and more companies have turned to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to provide their decision makers with fast, accurate access to a unified view of their operational and financial information.

ERP streamlines business processes to provide a significant competitive advantage. These solutions offer proven, best-practice processes for business functions; including business planning, product development, sales, manufacturing, logistics, finance, and human resources. Properly implemented, ERP delivers optimal efficiency and productivity, while reducing information management system costs.An ERP system selection and implementation must maximize your return on investment by focusing on the challenges that are most relevant to your business, such as:

  • Forming collaborative relationships with partners and clients.
  • Reducing cost of goods sold.
  • Cutting inventory, lead times, and order-to-cash cycle time.
  • Improving response time and client satisfaction.
  • Increasing revenue, reducing expenses and accelerating earnings growth.

Current best practices in the analysis and selection process include:

  • Identify CSFs - Start with an understanding of your Critical Success Factors (CSFs), or those things that you must do well in order to be successful. You can use CSFs to determine whether a requirement is really critical. If a requirement can't be mapped directly to a CSF, it isn't critical.
  • Define measurements of success - before starting any project, you should know how to measure success in terms of saving money by streamlining operations, increasing revenues, increasing market share, etc.
  • Understand existing business process and seek opportunities for business process improvement - until you have understood the existing business process, you are not ready. A value add will be to identify ways to improve business process.
  • Don't be ambiguous in the definition of requirements - you need to be precise so that you can compare apples to apples.
  • Don't waste time on basic functionality - systems have matured to the point where the basics are covered. Focus only on the requirements that are unique or could vary by selected vendors.
  • Prioritize - not all requirements are created equally. Use a numbering system such as "5" for critical, "4" for high, "3" for medium, "2" for low, "1" for N/A. If you have mostly "5"s, there is something wrong.
  • Manage scope, budget and timing - project management is the key factor in predicting success of any project and includes scope, budget and timing. Rather than using the school of hard knocks, you should consider working with a structured methodology.
  • Encourage employee involvement - recognize the significant amount of employee knowledge and the potential contribution of the employees.
  • Assign an internal champion - even the most difficult projects can become successful when you have an internal champion who is ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. It is best to assign the internal champion at the beginning of the system selection project to ensure their commitment and agreement with the system selected.
  • Manage the risks - seek out potential risks, their impact, and their likelihood of occurring. Encourage all interested parties to develop strategies to mitigate these risks.
  • Ensure management buy-in - communicate the project scope and obtain required sign off at critical steps along the way. Management should develop or ratify the measurements of success.

To find out how Litcom can effectively help your organization select and implement software solutions, please contact us at: [email protected]

Copyright 2009 Litcom Information Services Inc.

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