In many of my articles I have identified the very unsatisfactory situation most organizations face with regard to the standard of their current ERP configuration. I have also identified that it is extremely costly and time consuming and high risk to re-implement your ERP from scratch unless the current configuration is extremely weak.
So, what do you do?
Here is a checklist of seven specific actions you can take to raise the standards of operation of your ERP and ultimately achieve a much higher value operational state than you may have at present.
The seven steps to FIX your ERP are as follows:
1. 1. CEO take custody
The CEO recognizes that they are the custodian of the integrated view of the business and therefore the custodian of the integrated business information systems (IBIS) comprising the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), Data Warehouse (DW), Business Intelligence (BI) and other systems in use in the organization.
The CEO puts in place whatever support is necessary in terms of high level strategic advisory services and senior staffing in order to be able to have oversight of IBIS operations without that oversight taking large amounts of CEO time.
2. 2. Strategic alignment
Clearly define and document the essence of the business and how it thrives.
Publish this and make all personnel aware of it.
Evaluate all aspects of the operation of your ERP and related systems that are getting in the way of the essence of the business.
Formulate a long term plan to fully align your business information systems with the strategic direction of the business.
3. 3. Standards, controls and disciplines
Effective ERP operation requires robust and rigorous standards rigorously enforced.
Engage external specialists as necessary to develop the standards and then take measures, under the direction of the CEO to implement and apply these standards.
4. 4. Configuration audit
Undertake a comprehensive audit of the configuration of the ERP and the corresponding data in the Data Warehouse and related systems.
Evaluate all code tables, validation lists, master files and other settings. Make sure that the purpose of every table or list is clearly understood and documented.
Note deficiencies in code schemes and other settings and how the software is being used.
Formulate a long term plan to remediate all settings, validation lists, etc starting with those lists that are most actively getting in the way of the effective operation of the ERP.
Note how deficiencies ripple through into the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence layer and formulate a plan to rectify this.
5. 5. Comprehensive suite of taxonomies
I recommend that you define a comprehensive suite of Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies (SEPT) and Configuration settings and implement this in a NEW Data Warehouse instance.
Refer to the Taxonomy Manual for detailed information on taxonomies and precision configuration and why I make the above recommendation.
Every single validation table or master list should be populated with precision taxonomies in the Data Warehouse, this includes the Chart of Accounts, Cubic Business Model, Product Class, Product Master, Material Master, Item Master, Customer Classification, Supplier Classification, etc, etc
6. 6. Data warehouse and business intelligence
If you currently have a Data Warehouse start a clean instance, if possible negotiate favourable or no cost licence terms with your vendor. Keep the old instance running for current reporting and build the new Data Warehouse alongside the old one until you can cut over to the new instance when all required reports have been remediated and recreated on the new Data Warehouse instance.
If you do not have a fully-fledged data warehouse, now is the time to obtain one.
It is high risk and a massive project to re-implement your ERP except under certain conditions, it is much lower risk to implement the new taxonomies first in a new Data Warehouse.
Yes, this requires drudge mapping of sloppy and badly designed old code schemes onto the new taxonomies but it is much less work than an ERP re-implementation.
It is important to recognize that once the new taxonomies are up and running with a full portfolio of reports and models in a new data warehouse you will have eliminated the most critical decision support problems (80% of the problem for 20% of the cost). IF correctly designed and implemented this will deliver exceptionally high value results.
7. 7. Progressive refurbishment of ERP
Once the new data warehouse is in full operation you will know exactly what needs to be done to your ERP.
It is to be expected that you will have to take incremental remedial steps in your ERP in order to get the new taxonomies working adequately in the Data Warehouse, however IF you go about the mapping exercise correctly, including posting to headings in taxonomies where necessary, it is possible that you can get the Data Warehouse going with limited surgery on the ERP.
You can then take your time to progressively replace one validation list or family of validation lists at a time, in some cases you might even only replace part of a validation list at a time. The goal is progressive, pragmatic, incremental remediation until, sometime (probably some years) later your ERP installation has been substantially enhanced and you have the value of a relatively well implemented ERP with much less business disruption, risk and cost than would apply with a full, clean slate re-implementation of your ERP, DW and BI (IBIS) installation.
While unconventional, it is my view that this approach offers a higher value, lower risk and lower cost route to greatly enhanced IBIS (ERP, DW, BI) operation in support of high value strategic decision making.
Click here to send us an email subscribing to our free newsletter -- all articles posted by James Robertson will be emailed to you
Business Systems NOT delivering?
Call the Business Systems Specialist
Dr James A Robertson -- has been involved in the effective application of Business Information Systems, including but NOT limited to ERP, since 1987 and in the profitable and effective use of computers in Business since 1981.
Drawing on a diversity of experience, including formal military training in Quick Attack techniques at the Regimental Commander level, Dr Robertson has developed highly effective methods of investigating any sub-optimal Business Information Systems situation -- be it an established system or a stalled project or any other source of Executive frustration -- quickly and concisely diagnosing the root cause of the problem and prescribing concise practical actions that Business Executives can effectively act on see the Pulse Measurement page and also the Sample Reports page for redacted real reports.
He has also developed highly effective methods of strategically enriching systems to unlock the full potential of existing investments, see the Precision Configuration page and couples this to architecting small pieces of clever software that harness the full potential of your investment, see the Software page.
If you are having problems with your systems, your project or your IT Department, call The Business Systems Specialist
Business System Failure is RIFE -- we offer insight into why this happens AND WHAT is required to prevent it.
Failure is at epidemic levels with massive damage done to client companies -- if you are NOT aware of the extent of the problem please visit the About Failure page for a catalog of major failures running to billions of Pounds and Dollars.
All evidence indicates that the established players do NOT know how to deliver stable, reliable high value solutions that WORK.
There HAS to be a better way!
This website provides information relating to that way with a large collection of white papers, presentations, standards documents, etc that you can use to start bringing the situation under control
We also offer high level advisory services with regard to the application of the principles advocated on this website
We offer an ENGINEERING APPROACH to addressing these issues
By Engineering I mean the formal, structured, highly disciplined, highly systematic, highly practical approach that consistently delivers results in ALL areas of human endeavor where formally trained and certified engineers are the ONLY practitioners permitted to operate -- think large buildings, factories, motor vehicles, aircraft -- highly complex systems that work at a level that we take it for granted that they WILL work and where failure is all but unthinkable and, when it happens, attracts immediate public attention and rigorous investigation directed at ensuring that such failures are prevented in the future -- in fact, everything that the management consulting industry that implements complex software systems is NOT
This approach is discussed further on the Engineering Approach page.
In 2003 I undertook an in-depth analysis of all the information and experience that I had gathered with regard to the factors giving rise to Business Information System failure including ERP and general IT and classified this information into a number of categories including "The Factors Causing Failure" and "The Critical Factors for Success" based on this I developed a two day Course "The Critical Factors for Information Technology Investment Success" which is still offered today.
Based on this I wrote the book of the same name, which is available in electronic form here for download:
James has a very detailed profile on LinkedIn should you require further information about him.
You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/DrJamesARobertsonERPDoctor
James has an open networking profile -- click on "Connect" and use email address James@LinkedIn-at-JARA.com.
You can contact us on
LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjamesarobertsonerpdoctor
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.a.robertson.393
Mobile: +44 (0) 776-862-2875
Landline: +44 (0) 207-059-0007
Fax: +44 (0) 844 774 4580
There is a large body of white papers, articles and other content produced by Dr James Robertson available on this website
Please click here to visit the detailed listing of articles
About Dr James A Robertson PrEng -- The Business Systems Doctor -- and Other Topics
Catalogue of Major Business Information System Failures
About the Engineering Approach
James Robertson's Value Add
Attributes of a HIGH VALUE solution
Recognizing Business System Failure
The Critical Human Foundation
Old Software IS Viable
From South Africa
Competencies of Dr James A Robertson PrEng
About Professor Malcolm McDonald
Table of Contents
About my relationship with the Almighty Creator, Yah the Eternally Self-Existing
Comments relating to the Business Systems Industry and other topics
Testimonials and other positive material regarding James Robertson
List of Articles
Achieving High Value Business Information System outcomes
Executive Custody -- What is it and HOW do you get it?
The REAL Issues in Integrated Business Information System Success
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2 -- Mythology and Lack of Executive Custody
Part 3 – Strategic Alignment and Precision Configuration
Why your ERP is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
IT Project Management
CEO Anthony Lee Comments on his experience of the Pulse Measurement
No Charge Guarantee on the Pulse Measurement Service
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes
Critical questions regarding the Pulse Measurement™
The Pulse Measurement Workflow
The Critical Factors for Business System (ERP+) Investment Success in the Pulse Measurement
Indicative Pulse Measurement Durations
What is a JAR&A Pulse Measurement?
Survival of the fittest – why it makes sense to measure the pulse of your business
Examples of Pulse Measurement Outcomes over 24 years
Sample Pulse Measurement Reports
Strategic Essence: The Missing Link in Business Information Systems
Strategic Essence: Overview
Strategic Essence: Part 1 -- Strategy Defined
Strategic Essence: Part 2 -- Differentiation
Strategic Essence: Part 3 -- The Essence IS Different
Strategic Essence: Part 4 -- The Essence should be the Point of Departure
Strategic Essence: Part 5 -- Discovering Strategic Essence
Strategy -- the Essence of the Business: What is it and how do you develop actionable strategic plans?
Simple Steps to Increase the Strategic Value of your ERP Investment
Free Strategic Snapshot Toolset and Manual
A strategy focused planning system beyond traditional budgeting
Tough IT and ERP Procurement and Contracting that Works
Robust Business Systems Procurement
Part 1 -- Introduction
Part 2 -- Bill of Services, Laboratory, Go-live Certificate, etc
Part 3 -- Executive Engagement, Bid Compliance, Adjudication and other matters
Guidance and Advisory Services
The Art of Project Leadership
Why Regular Communication with the CEO is Vital
The Business Simulation Laboratory
Precision Configuration and Strategic Business Information Architecture
Precision Configuration based on Strategic Engineered Precision Taxonomies
The JAR&A Cubic Business Model
Highly Structured Strategic Chart of Accounts -- a Vital Element of your Corporate Information Arsenal
The Product Catalogue -- an Essential Element of any Precision Configuration
Attributes -- answers to the questions you have NOT yet thought to ask
Case Studies of Notably Successful Projects with high value Precision Configuration
092 Doing things differently and better -- ASCO Case Study 2-- BPM Summit 2013
088 Strategic ERP Invesment -- ASCO Case Study -- Service Management Conference and Exhibition Africa
026 Information Architecture and Design of FIS for Rennies Group -- Financial Information Systems Conf
018 CRM Risk Control: Designing and Implementing an Integrated Risk Mgmt Sys -- Integrated Risk Mgmt Conf
011 V3 Consulting Eng: Benefits of MIS to Professional Practice -- SAICE 15th Ann Conf on Computers in Civil Eng
Strategically Enriching your Business Information Systems
Part 2 -- Principles of Data Engineering
Part 3 -- Steps in applying these recommendations
Simple Steps to increase the strategic information value yield from your Business Systems Investment
The Full JAR&A Taxonomy Manual
Part 1: Introduction, Problem Statement, Definitions and Examples
Part 2: Why Use JAR&A, Required Knowledge and Experience, Cubic Business Model and Chart of Accounts and Taxonomy Software
Part 3: How to do it, Case Studies and White Papers and other References
Example General Ledger Manual
Business Process -- Irrelevant, Distracting and Dangerous
The RIGHT Approach
Custom Strategic Software Design and Oversight of Construction
Standards for Custom Software Specification
What IS Software?
Critical Factors for I.T. Success
A Moral and Ethical Dilemma -- Systems that Fail
Case Studies examining Business Information System failures
The BBC Digital Media Initiative Debacle
The Bridgestone -- IBM Conflict
Speaking and Training
Showcase of Conference Presentations
Most Viewed Presentations
Briefings and Seminars
Why your ERP/BIS is NOT delivering and HOW to FIX it
ERP and IT Procurement that Delivers Results
The Critical Factors for IT and ERP Investment Success
Conferences and Public Presentations
Conferences 80 to 99 -- 2009 to Present
Conferences 60 to 79 -- 2005 to 2009
Conferences 40 to 59 -- 1996 to 2005
Conferences 20 to 39 -- 1994 to 1996
Conferences 01 to 19 -- 1989 to 1994
On-Line Seminars (Webinars)
Webinar on Preparing and Presenting Webinars
Contacting James A Robertson and Associates Limited