The following articles is important for people considering looking ERP vendors. Too often people follow the salesperson blindly and do not ask the right questions. Here are 6 questions that should be part of the buying plan.
According to the Avery Group, “Business fads have their own limited lifespan, so it is natural to ask: Is Six Sigma dead, or at least waning in popularity? While there is no standard definition of what constitutes a business fad, a fad is often characterized as being an initiative that is adopted widely by companies and often falls from grace when the hoped for benefits fail to materialize.” Read more about Six Sigma methods here.
There are many vendors around today providing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software . These systems control the entire lifeblood of the business enterprise. From manufacturing to financials, from customer service to plant maintenance, these systems run the company. The information flow is critical to a company. Further the information flow must match the process flow. With many commerical ERP systems available today, how can you be sure that the ERP system you are selecting is the right fit.
Some daring folks are now trying on Open Source ERP solutions. Few of these solutions are developed or maintained by a commercial entity. Rather, many are developed by a group of programmers who collaboratively build these systems. The real benefit to these systems is that they are really open. The source code is available for all to see and modify.
With this openness, companies can truly fit the software to match their process flow. But they will need to have the coding expertize in house. They will also need to fully understand their process flows. Can you use open source without modifying code? Of course. Most of these systems have best practices built in. It does help though to know your processes and be willing to modify and improve the processes to match the best practices.
Another system, in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) world is sugarCRM. This is a full function, open source CRM system. Its functionality rivals many commerical entities’ systems.
Is open source ready for prime time? It depends upon who you ask. If you ask a Linux enthusiast, then yes it is. If you ask a traditional IT manager, probably not.
Chris Shaul is a Sr. IT Consultant with CMTC and specializes about ERP selections and implementations.
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