Leveraging existing ERP systems is critical to improving business and operational performance. Assessment of ERP investments for performance improvement is an essential business and IT initiative that should be a top priority for all organizations. Combining best practices from our research in the market and interactions with Ventana Research clients has shown that any further ERP-centric transactional investments should be re-evaluated. Ventana Research recommends that organizations leverage ERP investments by implementing a strategy to utilize business intelligence (BI) to improve performance.
The massive investments into ERP systems for human resources, financial management, and self-service employee applications over the last decade continue to require further systems upgrades and maintenance. When will these investments be assessed to ensure a performance improvement payoff? A focus on measuring and monitoring the performance of business processes centered within their ERP systems is a good start to the assessment process.
One investment that can be utilized immediately, and provide value to organizations, is business intelligence (BI) software. This software is designed to integrate and access data from ERP systems and provide the information required to improve performance. BI can be leveraged within finance and human resources, and across the enterprise, for functions like ad-hoc and enterprise reporting, dashboards, and scorecarding.
While most organizations accept what their ERP systems provide for BI, the challenge with this approach is that providers like Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP have not fully invested in an enterprise approach. Independent BI software providers have filled this void by evolving their offerings through advancements in access, analysis, and delivery technologies. Ventana Research recommends that you begin to address performance improvement and leverage your ERP investment through an enterprise-wide strategy.
Using business intelligence to leverage your ERP investment is a critical requirement for all organizations. A thorough examination of your processes and systems should be conducted to determine where investments can be made to improve performance. Plan to select a BI solution that can operate independently of your source ERP systems. Ventana Research recommends adopting BI for the business imperative of performance improvement that leverages your ERP investment.
Mark Smith is CEO & Senior Vice President of Research at Ventana Research (www.ventanaresearch.com), a research and advisory services firm.