If you’re one of the thousands of businesses moving to a new ERP system, you’ve got quite a task in front of you. Not only do you need to configure the new system, you’ve somehow got to retain access to historical data (for analysis), and you’ve got to bring along your ERP add-on solutions – such as document management, sales tax, bar coding, and the like.
For most clients, the thinking is “let me start by getting the new ERP up-and-running, and then I’ll work on the add-ons.” Unfortunately, that’s not the best approach – and can be best understood using the analogy of building a new home. You wouldn’t dare start construction without blueprints; something that identifies the end result of what you want to achieve with your new home – a larger kitchen, an extra bathroom, a dedicated office, and so on.
You should approach the task of moving to a new ERP in a similar fashion – but in this case, your “blueprints” are what you want to get out of your new ERP; insight that helps you best understand how your business is running and what you can do to optimize efficiency and revenues.
In other words . . . business intelligence and analytics.
Think about it – you could (with the best of intentions) first build your new home and then create blueprints showing what you built. You hope that you remembered (and made accommodations for) the larger kitchen, the extra bathroom, and so on. But if you didn’t . . . it’s too late, and you’re faced with an end result that is less than you hoped for.
Business intelligence and analytics (in the form of reports and dashboards) are your blueprints for what you want to get out of a new ERP system. Additionally:
- Analytics allows you to blend data from your old & new ERP systems. Your historical ERP data is automatically loaded into a data warehouse and is transformed to match-up with the data from your new ERP system. Identifying what you need in order to evaluate the success of your business must be done prior to any ERP re-platforming.
- Analytics allows you to retain as much historical data as you need. Without analytics, data migration is usually “saved” for last due to the amount of time and effort required to migrate data – and typically a minimum of historical data is retained – a year or two, at most.
- If you’re a high-volume customer, BI/analytics ensures speed of report production. This is usually not an issue when new ERP is first implemented, but as the volume of data increases (the longer the ERP is used), the degradation of report production becomes a concern.
The key concept when moving from one ERP to another is to not let your new ERP dictate how your company does business or how you evaluate success. Meaningful analytics are the net result of a well-implemented ERP solution; let those analyses be your blueprint for a successful ERP implementation.
(Try out DataSelf’s award-winning BI/Analytics solution today at www.dataself.com.)