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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Is your ERP failing you, or are you failing your ERP?

ERP Frustrations
Your organization has invested both capital and valuable human talent into the design, implementation and ongoing maintenance of a software suite designed to run your entire business. If things aren’t going as planned, you need to ask yourself, “Is it the software, or is it me (the company)?” Hint: most of the time, it isn’t the software. 

Many ERP solutions out there do the same things, in many of the same ways. What makes VISUAL stand out from the rest? You and the estimated 4000 companies worldwide using Infor VISUAL ERP probably know some of the reasons. But are you getting the most out of VISUAL? How do you even know? 

To begin, you need to be sure you have effectively mapped your business processes. This is the first step in finding the cause of your ERP headaches, and the foundation for gaining maximum benefits from your system. Think about it. Where are your process bottlenecks, pains and challenges? If you don’t have a complete picture of your business and how it works, how can your ERP be successful in making your processes more efficient and effective?

Here are some other common reasons why your ERP may become the target of misplaced frustration:

  • Outdated Versioning
    • Running older or unsupported versions of the core modules or add-on modules, despite having invested in annual maintenance, keeps you bound to the legacy functions of older generation software. Staying on older versions results in band-aid fixes and workarounds, whereas newer versions allow you to take advantage of bug fixes, new functions and feature enhancements.
      • For example, the newest version of VISUAL continues to expand the user experience with graphical views, mobility, intuitive drill-downs, and visuals aimed at increasing responsiveness and overall employee productivity. Some of the new features of Infor VISUAL 9 include Graphical Document Lifecycle, User-defined Dashboards, Lead-time Performance Management, Shop-floor Mobile Automation, and Lifecycle Notifications. 
  • Legacy Infrastructure
    • Poor ERP system performance slows your business processes. If your processes are too slow, you simply can’t keep pace with growth and the changes in your business objectives. And that leads to unmet customer demands.
      • The traditional physical server computing model is static in the allocation of resources (RAM, CPU, storage). This forces your organization to adapt to your network’s speed. Now, with virtualization and cloud computing, your growth potential doesn’t need to be constrained by aging systems that are beyond life expectancy. Upgrading your network infrastructure to something faster and more flexible, like VMware, will allow you to keep pace with growth and change. This will allow your ERP system to work for you, not against you.
  • Weak Custom Reporting
    • Most ERP systems come with a standard set of canned reports meant to appeal to a broad client demographic. This is rarely sufficient in meeting the specific formatting, drill through and detailed data demands of your business or industry. If your custom reporting is weak, you cannot extract the key performance indicators or other crucial business intelligence from the database. If your current reports aren’t giving you the information you need, consider modifying or building custom reports that empower you to make wise business decisions. 
  • Working Outside of the ERP System
    • Organizations often become frustrated with their ERP systems when they spend too much time switching from the ERP to outside systems. If you’re still relying on spreadsheets, crystal reports and access databases, or using outside accounting apps such as QuickBooks, this is a major productivity waste. The same goes with manually transferring between your ERP and CAD software. In this case, CADLink would save time by automating part creation.
    • Other time-saving add-on modules exist, including Barcode for Labor & Material, Quality, EDI, and Time & Attendance. You can improve accuracy and user efficiency with targeted add-ons or improvements, which will ensure high end-user adoption of the ERP system.
  • Insufficient Onboarding, Training and Audit Practices
    • We know from experience that companies who take on too much responsibility during ERP implementations often never fully go-live. And many of them didn’t believe that training was necessary. It is. People fear change, and organizational change management, which includes training, is crucial to success. It needs to be ongoing, too. When new employees are not trained to effectively use the system, it degrades the overall experience.
    • Another necessity is regular audits. Businesses change, and audits are vital for evaluating those changes in your business. If there is change, there must be adjustments to your ERP usage. In some cases, a reimplementation is an ideal approach to give you a fresh start to leverage all the capabilities of your ERP. 

Business evolution requires improvements in organizational processes and technology practices to realize the huge potential return on ERP investment. In our experience, many of the frustrations that lead to ERP doubt can be mitigated through a thorough evaluation by your employees and expert consultants. Assessment results, coupled with a renewed understanding of your pain points and business objectives, leads to action items that improve your organization’s ERP experience. Like with any enterprise software project, the design, deployment and ongoing maintenance of Infor VISUAL is a never-ending cycle of evolution. Effort in. Investment out.


Check out VISUAL 9 Features & Benefits

Posted by Bill Wass at 03:42 PM

Labels: erp failure, processes


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