Don't panic...your ERP solution will scale...probably

Don’t panic…your ERP solution will scale…probably

Have you ever caught yourself lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and worrying about work? Or maybe the barista has asked for your coffee order three times but you haven’t noticed because you’re daydreaming about a new ERP solution. You need one that will support your company’s growth into new global markets, tear down the regional silos, and finally clean up the customization mess. You know there are always challenges with implementing a new system—so would a global ERP template help, or just compound that risk and the cost?

When you finally make the decision to change your overall ERP solution, there comes a point when you need to decide whether deploying a global ERP template across multiple sites, divisions, and regions is worth it or not. The answer to this question will ultimately drive the overall strategy of pretty much every design, development, and deployment decision to come. Not to mention the long-term support of the solution going forward.

You can see why it’s not a question to take lightly.

While defining a global ERP template can reduce implementation and operational costs, and harmonize processes across business units and regions, it certainly isn’t without its own risk or cost. Here are three of the many points to consider when deciding if a global template is right for your organization:

Organizational/Product Diversity

Cat OFfice

Is this your organization? If so, a global template may not be for you.

The first thing you can do may be the easiest or hardest thing to accomplish: evaluate your organization with as little bias as possible. Is getting everyone to agree on a topic like herding sheep, or is it more like wrangling cats? The more centralized the decision-making processes are, the better a fit your organization is for a global template. The more autonomous the management structure is across regions, the greater the challenges you will face trying to standardize these regions to fit the mold of a global template.

Also realize that such centralization may not be necessary for all business functions. Some internal facing workflows such as finance, may be more suitable for a global template, while external facing workflows, such as order to cash, may be less suitable.

One more point to consider—how similar are the products manufactured across the divisions of your business? If each division makes similar products, it will be easier to implement a global template, whereas a varying set of products might not lend itself as well to such a project.

Cost Justification

You will also want to consider the true return on investment for such an initiative. There needs to be a pretty compelling business case to support this kind of undertaking. Let’s be frank: implementing a global template is hard. It’s a consensus-driven design process that needs to be justified by a realistic ROI. Although a global system creates a consensus across diverse business units and regions, provides a more accurate and consistent view of the global business, and is less expensive to support and maintain, the actual implementation will be more costly and complex at the front end of the implementation. That investment needs to be weighed against the benefits of a global template.

Infrastructure

Finally, take stock of whether there is a global infrastructure in place to support such an endeavor. If you are truly running one global template from one instance of the database, users from all over the world will need access at various times of day. This means having reliable and reasonably fast connections for those remote users, as well as round-the-clock support for them if issues arise. You’ll need to consider peak user load times and whether your infrastructure can handle the volume at max capacity. Without such an infrastructure, the template may simply be an interesting yet unachievable idea.

These points aren’t meant to scare anyone away from implementing a global template. They are just three considerations to weigh before a final decision can be made. However, if you can honestly assess the state of your global infrastructure, the sheep-to-cat ratio of your brand, and can justify the upfront cost and effort, you’re well on your way to making an informed decision about what’s right for you. As for the rest of the things to consider—that’s where Sunrise Technologies comes in.