OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

ERP Fundamentals

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

ERP Resource Center - Key Implementation Considerations

I came across a gem of a site recently with lots of great content on ERP implementations. It’s the Enterprise Solutions Competency Center (ESCC) for the U.S. Military.

Popular links and documents on the site are as follows:

Most Often Viewed

  1. A Guide to ERP Success
  2. Critical Success Factors for ERP
  3. Vendor Profile - SAP AG
  4. Six Sigma Qualifications
  5. Vendor Profile - Oracle Corporation
  6. RFI Review - Enterprise Application Integration
  7. ERP Insight Day
  8. CPI Single Frame
  9. ERP Single Frame
  10. Interface Guide

Most Visited

  1. ERP Overview
  2. CPI Tools
  3. CM Models
  4. ERP Basics
  5. CPI Critical Success Factors
  6. John Kotter’s Transformation Process
  7. CM Models - Committment to Change
  8. Army ERP Programs
  9. DoD ERP Programs
  10. CPI Overview

In particular I wanted to point out the ERP resource center which discusses the following Key Implementation Considerations

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

ERP Software Comparison - Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft, Microsoft and Siebel

An article entitled ERP Packages Feature Comparison by Elisabeth Rainier of the ITtoolbox blog New Trends & Techniques in Managing CRM & SAP Projects, provides a useful comparison of the following ERP systems: -

  • Microsoft Great Plains version 7.5 and previews of Microsoft Great Plains version 8.0
  • Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.9
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.8 and 8.9 and EnterpriseOne 8.11
  • SAP mySAP Business Suite R/3 4.6 and SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.7
  • Siebel 7.5 and Siebel 7.7

For the players and software versions mentioned above, you’ll find a study which provides a comparative, multi-vendor assessment across the three major phases of the application lifecycle: implementation, application usage, and ongoing support and maintenance.

I haven’t come across many ERP software comparisons on the web so if anyone else knows of other comparisons available online please add your comments and links to this post.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Oracle’s Holistic Planning (One Integrated Plan Coordinates the Entire Supply Chain)

A sophisticated planning model Oracle calls Holistic Planning is now available (in the Advanced Supply Chain Planning product) to coordinate an enterprise’s entire supply chain with a single plan. A properly set up and maintained plan can lead to an enterprise drastically reducing the time spent on analyzing and reacting to multiple plans.

With the creation and release of Oracle’s Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) product the ability to plan across the extended and entire supply chain with a single plan while incorporating customer preferences and supplier capacity is now possible. Holistic planning is a term created and ‘coined’ by Oracle to explain the processes and capabilities of a single plan that can accommodate all the planning needs of the multiple and time consuming plans required by the more traditional MRP planning technique.

Utilizing a single plan holistic planning can plan the entire supply chain (both material and capacity requirements) encompass all manufacturing methods and all time periods for one or all Oracle inventory organizations. Obviously, with a well set up and coordinated holistic plan an organization can save time and money on planning analysis and maintenance and potentially increase manufacturing flexibility, velocity and competitiveness.

Oracle’s holistic planning offers resolutions to three dimensions of the planning problem that confronts all manufacturing
enterprises:

  • Multiple Manufacturing Methods: A single plan can coordinate all manufacturing methods (Project [Contract], Flow, Process, Repetitive or Discrete.)
  • Include the entire supply chain: A single plan can coordinate an enterprise’s end-to-end supply chain from the customers through the manufacturing and distribution organizations within the enterprise, and include the suppliers as well.
  • Comprise the entire planning horizon: A single plan can coordinate the appropriate level of detail at each point in the horizon. A planning set up for the immediate future could be planned in days, the near future could be planned in weeks, and the long-term could be planned in monthly periods.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why ITIL implementations fail

Although I’ve been in the IT industry for some time now, ITIL is something I only recently became aware of. The Wiki Encyclopedia provides a really good definition of what ITIL is, as follows:

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a customizable framework of best practices that promote quality computing services in the information technology (IT) sector. ITIL addresses the organisational structure and skill requirements for an IT organisation by presenting a comprehensive set of management procedures with which an organisation can manage its IT operations. These procedures are supplier independent and apply to all aspects of IT infrastructure.

The Wiki Encyclopedia ITIL definition page also provides a really good overview of the ITIL frameworks and the supporting sets.

I recently came across an interesting article by Malcom Fry at CIO Online entitled the The Pitfalls of ITIL. The article outlines the top ten reasons why ITIL implementations fail and discusses IT Service Management (ITSM).

10 reasons for ITIL implementation failure:

  1. Lack of Management commitment
  2. Spending too much time on complicated process diagrams
  3. Not creating work instructions
  4. Not assigning process owners
  5. Concentrating too much on performance
  6. Being too ambitious
  7. Failing to maintain momentum
  8. Allowing departmental demarcation
  9. Ignoring solutions other than ITIL
  10. Not reviewing the entire ITIL framework

What grabbed my attention was the 1st point. This is also listed as the main reason why ERP implementations fail in all the books and articles I have read on the subject - something for management to be aware of and to try and rectify!! A case in point is this Rockford Consulting article which provides the following list of the 12 Cardinal Sins of ERP implementation:

  1. Lack of Top Management Commitment
  2. Inadequate Requirements Definition
  3. Poor ERP Package Selection
  4. Inadequate Resources
  5. Resistance to Change/Lack of Buy-in
  6. Miscalculation of Time and Effort
  7. Misfit of Application Software with Business Processes
  8. Unrealistic Expectation of Benefits and ROI
  9. Inadequate Training and Education
  10. Poor Project Design and Management
  11. Poor Communications
  12. Ill-advised Cost Cutting

Useful ITIL Links

I’ve added these links to my link blog as well as referenced them in the del.icio.us tags at the end of the post.

Friday, March 25, 2005

ERP Implementations and Contract Negotiations - Top 12 Tips

I came across an interesting discussion on the ITtoolbox forums the other day which contained some useful tips on negotiating SAP implementation contracts as well as general implementation advice. Despite the discussion being SAP orientated the advice given could quite easily apply to an Oracle eBS implementation or any other ERP deployment.

ITtoolbox has several good forums which one can read. Personally, I subscribe to the ERP-SELECT and ORACLE-APPS-L forums and can highly recommend them to anyone implementing ERP systems. A post the other day entitled about ERP(SAP) consultancy contracts caught my attention and in particular some comments by Bob Woitaszewski (a former SAP Implementer) caught my attention. I asked Bob whether I could post his comments on this Oracle Applications Blog and he agreed so here’s an excerpt of what he had to say:

Remember any consultancy wants to do a good job, however, they usually want to make sure that the contract will favour them in the end, not YOU. Having done 7 SAP implementations, 4 as a PM for a consulting firm using the ASAP methodology, let me pass this on: -

  1. Make sure that you work with SAP and their current methodology, what ever that is.
  2. Make sure you call out every deliverable for each phase.
  3. Make sure that you include DATES that each deliverable is due.
  4. Make sure that you specify what you are responsible for and what the consultancy is responsible for, for EACH deliverable.
  5. The consultancy is required to deliver a fully configured, PRODUCTION system, not a "prototype!"
  6. Specify that you have a customer acceptance clause.
  7. Make sure that you develop a matrix that ties each requirement to a test for each requirement.
  8. Make sure that you include a "Not to exceed" clause where you figure what the maximum is and they agree to it. It’s essentially a fixed price contract; but forces consultancy’s to bill you by hour.
  9. Always make sure that you include in the contract that the consultant PM must report hours weekly. That way you make sure that you aren’t getting "double Billed" by some rookie at the consultancy’s back office.
  10. Make sure that the consultants are on site at least Tu-W-Th. It may cost a little more but with all the local talent that exists, the travel expenses will be minimal compared to a botched implementation.
  11. Make sure that the implementation team is given sufficient time to "play" with SAP and learn the ropes. Co-locate them into a separate office section so they can make real time decisions. Bring in out-of-town key team members. Relieve them from all but the most critical job functions. 
  12. Make sure that your team is "empowered" to make change happen, and BTW, implementing is ALL About CHANGE MANAGEMENT and COMMUNICATION.

One last word of wisdom. I have found that thing will be a lot easier for your company if you reengineer your processes to match SAP processes whenever possible. Use the "default" process for 6 months and then if you must modify them I had to offer that even though as a consultant, not ONE of my clients ever heeded that pearl. And when I went back after 6 months or so, almost everyone wished they had followed that one piece of advice.

Having been involved in IT and ERP implementations for the past 9 years I can certainly agree with all of the points on Bob’s checklist and hope that posting them here will provide useful advice and ideas to readers currently implementing or planning to deploy enterprise software solutions.

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