ERP All Over Again

After taking week off to spend with the family I’m getting back into the swing of things and stealing some time to blog.

To motivate myself this morning I read an out of the ordinary article in Info World regarding how ERP implementations are coming back into favor (again).

The topic of the article is of particular interest to me because I’m in midst of an implementation of PeopleSoft 8.4 and seeing many of the themes of this article played out in real-time.

Some excellent quotes:

“You can sit there and turn [the] PeopleSoft [ERP software] upside down and sideways and say, ‘Now, make it do what I asked it to do.’ But then, next upgrade — poof — it takes four years.”

“The only real way to solve the upgrade problem is to crack ERP applications — and their custom modifications — into discrete components that use standards-based interfaces. Upgrade one component or even a group of them and, with luck, you won’t break anything else.”

“The idea that you really need to componentize the functionality, separate the logic from the process from the application, is something that isn’t just good computer science, it’s good business, too,” says Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. “Without a doubt, that is where the market is going,” he says and adds that this massive overhaul of architecture, although underway, will take years.

“And 41 percent say they’re using Web services to expand the functionality of ERP apps to a greater number of users, which makes sense given our readers’ prediction that more employees will use ERP apps in the next 12 months.”

“Companies now crave a single global accounting function, Shepherd says, with global visibility and common processes. Other business drivers include global cash management, global credit management, a more unified view of customers, and global purchasing leverage in procurement.”

“It’s an implementation that affects every level of the company, every level of the organization,” says Sonnax’s Loewer. “An ERP implementation seems like it’s 75 percent culture and 25 percent technology.”

In that last quote, I might argue that the culture change is more like 85 percent of the effort, but that might simply be my own experience.