No matter the actual size of your enterprise, effectively managing, analyzing, and interpreting the data created by its mere operation is a full time job. Whether it is deciding which brand of stapler to purchase or determining which corporate acquisition will best fit the organization, decision makers need timely, accurate, and pertinent data. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems supply the infrastructure necessary to integrate and aggregate all of that operational data into useable and actionable pieces.
For small businesses with only a few principle participants, a full-fledged ERP system will most likely not be cost effective. However, many of the basic principles of ERP, especially with regard to logistics and supply chain management, apply to any operation regardless of size and can make a big difference when competing with larger players in the market. Understanding the basic principles of ERP and implementing the ones that benefit your enterprise in particular, is possible without acquiring an Ivy-league business degree.
For a basic definition of ERP you should check out its Wikipedia entry. However, for a more comprehensive examination of ERP and its practical implications, TechRepublic has a multitude of resources available. Each of these resources deals with a particular aspect of ERP that can help you get a handle on your enterprise's operation.
(Source: CMP Media) – Abstract: The implementation of an ERP platform can be a frustratingly long and painful process. Because the ERP system permeates and touches almost all operational aspects of the enterprise, great care and planning should be taken before implementation to develop a complete and overarching architecture. This white paper helps lay the foundational boundaries of an ERP system and establishes a method for accomplishing what is often a radical organizational change. However, enterprise resource planning, coupled with good strategy and a little patience, can reap many rewards, making the process well worth it.
(Source: Teepe.com) – Abstract: This white paper discusses the general ERP trends that have shaped the market and why a sound data warehousing strategy, which integrates with operational ERP systems, is becoming essential to managing a successful company. Increasingly, decision support and data warehousing capabilities are playing a significant role in customers' enterprise applications investments. In today's fast-paced, quickly changing market, there is a fundamental need to combine the strengths of ERP solutions with data warehousing solutions to enable companies to gain better, faster insight into their businesses and respond to changes in the market immediately.
(Source: Manoeuvre) – Abstract: Implementing an ERP system is not a project to be taken lightly as you can well imagine, but you can benefit from the experience of other rollouts as explained in this white paper. Avoid the most common mistakes made during the implementation of an ERP system and save yourself some headaches later.
TechRepublic member comviz is setting up a team of implementers for SAP and Oracle. His current concern is how to retain the team members once they are in place. The assumption is that monetary compensation will not be enough to keep the team together. This Tech Q&A is answered satisfactorily by IND_Consulting, with advice that could apply to any ERP implementation.
Bring it home
The benefits of a well-implemented ERP system cannot be ignored, but the radical enterprise-wide changes required to bring it to fruition mean that no organization should ever take the process lightly. This is true whether you are a multinational conglomerate or a work-from-home eBay super-seller.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.