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Best Practices for Successful Enterprise Transformations: Systems Integration

In our last article in our series on successful Enterprise Transformations we want to discuss Systems Integration.

Odds are good that you have information flows and enterprise applications other than your ERP system that manage different areas of your business. Maybe you have a payroll package that handles payroll – which means your employee data needs to integrate back to your ERP. Perhaps you have estimating software - and since each estimate will tie into your ERP system, you need to integrate that as well.

Welcome to the art of systems integration.

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Enterprise Transformations with Merit Solutions

In order to sustain growth and profitability, companies must create the business workstreams, organization and culture, and information flows that form the foundation for continuous improvement and driving higher value for customers. How are you positioned?

Today’s enterprises have ample opportunities to leverage the advantages derived from being globally operated in order to continuously improve and sustain long-term success. End-to-end visibility, global brand advantages, sourcing and procurement power, and the ability to move quickly on market opportunities are all examples of benefits of globalization. The most successful companies today are those that can anticipate rather than react to those signals.

In an effort to sustain growth, profitability, and competitive advantages, many executives are looking to enterprise transformation projects hoping to align their people, workstreams, and information flows investments more closely together, globally, to create more efficient and effective operations, resulting in higher value to their customers.

Unfortunately, we find that while many companies have made investments in enterprise transformation projects looking to gain improvements, make work repeatable, remove waste, and increase value to their customers - few have actually achieved the business results they targeted.

Learn more about Enterprise Transformations with Merit Solutions.

Best Practices for Successful Enterprise Transformations: Business Process Modeling

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing enterprise transformation projects to understand what companies can do to mitigate risk and increase the chance that their transformation will drive long-term value.

For part 1 of our series, we’ll take a look at business process modeling. Business process modeling (BPM) is a model-based engineering sub-discipline that can be applied to business analysis and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations.

The most important part of BPM is to determine the current state (as is) of your people, processes, and systems and to then compare them to the proposed (to be) state that is planned with your enterprise transformation. This will require a lot of research up front to make sure that all of your processes are properly documented.

There are a few ways to do this. Some companies will use general tools like Microsoft Visio, Word, and Excel to document processes as they are uncovered. Other companies will choose professional business process modeling software. Either way can work; the important thing is that you map your current and plan your proposed processes.

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7 Warning Signs You Need Better Change Management

When you initially planned your business process transformation and ERP implementation project, you created a thorough project plan that included all of the items that needed to be completed before the project was ready to go live. And as go live approached, processes were re-engineered, waste was removed, enterprise software was configured and installed, and users were trained on how to use their new systems and tools. At this point, you probably thought the project would be a huge success!

But, on go live day, you gradually start to notice employees that had been doing their job for years come to you saying they needed more training. This puzzles you because you followed your plan and everyone was trained on how to use the software!

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Documenting Your Implementation

One of the key, but often forgotten, parts of an ERP implementation is documentation. Because of the complexity of the project and all of its moving parts, it's necessary to have a clear record of every bug fix, process change, and training class. Also, being able to show progress made and exactly what needs to happen next keeps the project on track helps to build its business case.

But what exactly do we need to document?

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Impact of Ineffective Change Management During ERP Implementations

In order to successfully adopt any ERP system, your company needs to identify opportunities to streamline processes, reduce waste, and automate paper-based or manual procedures. At the same time, you must successfully manage changing processes with employees, executives, and third party customers / suppliers, ensuring that their day-to-day activities are easier, more efficient, and more productive.
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Client Spotlight: MannKind Corporation

Merit Solutions' client MannKind Corporation (Nasdaq: MNKD) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with diseases such as diabetes.

We recently sat down with Van Kwok, Associate Director of MannKind, and asked him to discuss his partnership with Merit Solutions.

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Georgia Nut Company - Dynamics AX Testimonial

We recently sat down with Jack Arends, Director of Finance for Merit Solutions / Microsoft Dynamics AX client Georgia Nut Company, and asked him a couple questions related to his partnership with Merit Solutions, and the value they have received since implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX. See what Jack had to say!

Who is Georgia Nut Company? 

Georgian Nut Company is a food manufacturer of confection and snack items. Our capabilities include sugar shelling, panning, enrobing, roasting as well as packaging into form & fill bags, jars, and zip lock bags. Our manufacturing capacities are in excess of 50,000,000 pounds annually with packaging of individual bags / jars in excess of 125,000,000 units. Sales come from 4 distinct markets including industrial ingredients, contract manufacturing, private label, and bulk. We have 150,000 square foot manufacturing facility and 180,000 square distribution facility; employing 300 employees between the two facilities.

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I Will Personally Chop It’s Head Off

On this cold but sunny morning, we could barely fit forty people into the board room. For months we had surfaced goals and future state processes, fit gapped to the software, identified the communication and organization adoption pieces, scoped and budgeted the project, committed resources and gained board approval.

The project kick off meeting was timely and intros went well. The presentation was mostly on target to the lean principles adopted and espoused by the company, and we had meaningful discussions on how we will collectively organize to get the project completed.

Finally, the C.E.O. chose his spot to make sure everybody understood why, from his perspective, the project was taking place and what was at stake in the balance of organizational success.

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3 Challenges with the Old ERP Software Reseller Model

In a traditional ERP implementation, companies select their ERP package and vendors first based on presentations by marketing people, sales demos, and an overview of the benefits typically received by customers using those systems. Following this decision, companies rush into implementing the software based on how the system operates, and using practices the vendor has learned from previous implementations.

We've found there are three big challenges when approaching business transformation projects in this old ERP / Software Reseller model.