Decision makers in large and mid-sized companies are increasingly moving toward the installation of expensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. The legal and reporting requirements of key internal Tier 1 teams such as Human Resources, Finance and Compliance typically drive the decision to invest in large software systems like Oracle, SAP, Remedy, and Sage. Most of these systems do not embrace a company’s culture or the way they do business.
These solutions also require customization and business intelligence specific to the type of business these teams support. The rollout of these systems for Tier 1 teams is costly both in dollars and time.
Meanwhile, Tier 2 stakeholder teams (Marketing, Sales, Account Management, Real Estate, etc.) are left to adapt to an environment forced on them without any support. This results in a manual process of gathering information from various sources such as multiple ERP systems, stand-alone databases, and spreadsheets with siloed information. This situation calls for increased optimization between Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams to ensure all operating units “speak” the same business language.
Companies like The Dragon Company are increasingly stepping in at this key stage to adapt ERP solutions for Tier 2 users, and to ensure that ERP solutions cross pollinate company information to optimize overall performance.
of the Challenge
It is key to a company’s success to address the needs of all internal corporate stakeholders, including Tier 2 teams, in a timely and cost effective manner. ERP systems often meet most the needs for Tier 1 teams, but fail to serve other teams without costly add-ons or customization.
This disparity creates numerous challenges.
Instead of operating under a shared and comprehensive set of tools and data management practices, the disparate stakeholders create their own silos to manage their day-to-day business. Companies lose the benefits of managing data and optimizing for Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) when teams are connected to some divisions but not others.
Risk increases when a company has more than one ERP system. This commonly occurs when one department purchases an ERP solution to meet its specific needs, but that system does not easily integrate with a different ERP system serving another department.
While Tier 1 teams may not feel the impact of these stresses at first, Tier 2 teams have more of a challenge weathering the storm, as they are too small to absorb the disparity between platforms and cannot afford to pay an ERP provider to bridge the gap. They typically cope by exporting data from multiple systems and managing their KPI’s through spreadsheets and/or unauthorized, gap filling off-the-shelf or software-as- a-solution (SaaS) products.
When leadership requires information from the entire organization to make business decisions, the dissonance between the ERP solutions and the fragmented stopgap solutions is time-consuming and costly.
The inability to support Tier 2 and lower tiered teams has cumulative financial and resource planning impacts. Having Tier 2 teams trade spreadsheets and key information through email, file servers or cloud storage is far from scalable. Often several teams and people within those teams have different versions of a spreadsheet, each version constituting a different silo. Over time the incongruity results in even more disparate information, one of the very issues the ERP system was intended to address.
Rapidly addressing this problem is mission-critical. However, spending resources for an ERP-provider to include add-ons or custom modules is often unnecessary.
The solution is to build cost effective business software to house and manage information outside of ERP systems for Tier 2 teams. A custom solution will allow Tier 2 teams to leverage specific information from ERP systems in a separate environment where they can also collaborate and share information in a meaningful way. Tier 2 teams can more easily compile information in a leaner environment, especially when business intelligence is a component.
Data collection and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) analysis are critical for any business. When a company captures data, and analyzes KPI’s, it becomes more competitive and efficient to better position itself in the marketplace.
The best practice is to implement a custom business software solution using specific iterations to address business-critical issues having the greatest impact to the overall business. Later iterations can address lower priority issues as part of the software development life cycle.