“Enterprise Resource Planning”: Software Overview

Introduction

‘Enterprise Resource Planning’ is software used by companies in the management of operations. It mainly specializes in the management of resources inventory within an organization. The software integrates information, processes relating to business functions, and combines them into a structured flow of information that is easy to manage and understands. (Brian, 2008: 11). It generally centralizes information obtained from all business sectors and integrates it into a single database repository that exchanges information with other software applications within the entity.

Application of Enterprise Resource Planning System

The system is used in various organizational functions and processes including manufacturing, financials, human resource, supply chain management, projects, customer relationship management, and data warehouse. It chains the processes into a single chain a repository central database and a fused computing platform (Brian, 2008, p 15).

Factors affecting the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning System

Implementation of ERP is a rather complex process that involves expert consultation, systematic planning, and a well-structured approach (Job, 2009, p 25). In many instances, its implementation requires a total change in staff operations. Successful implementation is dependent on a number of factors.

A careful analysis of a case of ERP’s successful implementation reveals the following factors as having facilitated the success; good management practices, efficient management of the implementation project, presence of relevant information technology resources, leadership support, prior personnel training, software customization, and continuous testing and solving of emerging problems.

On the other hand, instances have been recorded where ERP’s application has been unsuccessful. Factors attributed t this failure included operation of business units independently, lack of professionally qualified management, and regulatory guidelines. Additionally, a lack of internal organizational skills on system usage and inadequate implementation capital contribute to most cases of ERP’s implementation failure (Job, 2009, p 35). Other factors include inappropriate information technology resources, and inadequate support from the top management team (Blake, 2008, p 17).

Benefits of using Enterprise Resource Planning System

Various benefits have been associated with the use of ERP software. However, the prime benefit is its ability to consolidate all processes within an organization into a central database repository. This eliminates change synchronization problems between various systems used within the organization. In addition, it offers an avenue for viewing the entire organization’s processes at a single point. This allows the management to access real-time information from a single point and hence facilitate informed decision-making (Blake, 2008, p 20). Additionally, production lead-time and delivery time are significantly shortened.

Limitations of using Enterprise Resource Planning System

The use of this software is, however, not without limitations. Gerald, 2009 cites limitation customization as the major problem arising from its usage (15). Additionally, its implementation process is rather complex and requires system re-engineering. These processes might result in the loss of competitive advantage. The system is also expensive and difficult to apply to independent business units (Peter, 2009, p 10). In some companies, enterprise resource planning system appears too rigid and difficult to adapt to specific workflow and business processes (Sumner, 2005, p 20).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to note that this software offers an ideal solution to companies’ management shortcomings. It also offers an avenue for the protection of a company’s information in addition to simplifying business processes and operations. Using it also improves workers’ IT skills. Most importantly, is its ability to protect cross-functional boundary information within an enterprise.

References

Blake, W. (2008). Information Technology Cases and Research. London: Macmillan Publishers. p 17-20.

Brian, B. (2008). Business, ERP Rapid Implementation and Project Planning. Swindon: Wiley press. p 11-15.

Gerald, B. (2009). Information Technology and Enterprise Resource Planning. Cambridge University press. p 15.

Job, W. (2009). Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management. Stonehill Green: Kendal publishers. p 25-30.

Peter, T. (2009). A model of ERP project implementation. New York: Watson- Guptilll Publications. p10.

Sumner, M. (2005). Enterprise Resource Planning Text Book. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice. p 20.

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