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Invest once or in a justified way in IT to rip the best benefit

Last updated on September 24, 2020

Invest to get the money back in manifolds – the old saying of the businessmen. Getting a solid plan before investment could save money and help optimize the work and infrastructure. This rule is same for investing in Information Technology. Well, of course, there could be some interim addition regarding hardware, better services from vendors, software or updated operating systems, utilities, security and monitoring systems etc. and this is not uncommon at all. All these should be out of a specific guideline or planning from the initial stage when the whole infrastructure was built or in the time of on-go. I witnessed several occurrences and haphazard situation of different business organizations in my professional experiences.

The unproductive things were the left-over servers, peripherals, network equipments, off-the-shelf software, database which were purchased but left unutilized unnecessarily. That was a complete wastage of money and definitely there were spending of time and effort involved by the concerned personnel of the organization in the time of procuring the goods and making payment process for the vendors. So, a lack of a solid plan or unidentified requirement were the case for this sort of lose – these are not at all appreciated. Now, let’s focus on a rational point of the investment issue. For example, say, your organization is going to purchase an ERP (Enterprise Recourse Planning) or say you are planning to develop one by your IT resource team. Why this is the case, because business become complex, human and other resources are becoming unmanageable day-by-day, production increases, sales has been uplifted, sales and production forecasting is not easy and accurate as it was, managing finance and account system is being a nightmare – account section, supply chain, warehouse and store department are in trouble managing daily job in time, client or customer relation or handling outsourcing agencies becoming more cumbersome over time and so forth. In this situation, the organization must adapt a new and complete automation solution or an integrated software application and backed a robust and heavy duty database (like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, DB2 etc.). This is a million dollar investment more or less depending on the business volume and complexity.

Here, in this situation, a concrete plan and practical decision is very crucial before going to invest. Organization’s top management and advisors, top executive body, IT team must seat together to analyze the business requirements through a series of meeting. If needed, some external consultant might be hired to get an authentic ideas and scenarios about the automation requirements. If the decision is finalized in favor of complete business automation, then decision must be taken to get a time tested and industry proven solution from a very reputed vendor.  Playing risk game is never an option or never be adopted regarding the ERP product – this gambling could even destroy the whole business process for a considerable time span and thus hard to get to normalization. So, a solid and foreseeing plan is required– I emphasis again. You can’t replace an ERP again, once the system is deployed and implemented and once the tasks and transaction being done for few months or years – when the business processes start depending on the ERP. A weak IT team can’t be enough to take the full responsibility to develop an ERP like a Titanic, needless to say, IT team members are sometimes fare-weather-birds. They switch often either locally, moving vendor-to-vendor or leave for better career in abroad. Developing an ERP by a local programmer team is a nightmare. So, a reputed and responsible vendor and its after-sale-support capabilities has to be considered seriously. contact :  [email protected] 

Now, if the planners and the decision makers get to the final resolution that the organization is ready to get into a fully software driven business process then that become the most crucial steps to adopt. Yes, ERP has been the decision and no local and in-house programmer analyst and development team could be dared to cope with this solution. The best vendor with the time tasted and industry proven solution must be the choice. Of course, in this situation, a group of capable system analysts, software developers are required to be employed for the organization, who would work jointly with the vendor’s programmer analyst to transfer the exact business and process requirement to the systems. Both the analysts in-house and vendor, prepare the standard operating procedure (SOP) and very detail business and organizational management processes would be required to customize the huge software modules of the ERP systems.

Well, plan and decision are taken, technical resources are finalized (systems analyst and development manager), then ask some selective and short listed vendors (found from search engine or word of mouth, local or abroad) to present their product. The software vendors must not focus only merely some PowerPoint slides and well-convincing verbal deliberation – you know there are some smart presenters who are over-spoken and so good in convincing words that your management could easily melt to say yes to an unknown application mammoth.

Be careful, becasue, I have some practical experiences on that issue (I am unwilling to  say the name of the vendor). The presenters must show in the presentation the business processes, data flow and all transaction details using dummy data  inserted in the software and must ensure that all sorts of customization and changes the organization needs has to be done in time or after the deployment. If you say yes to a wrong vendor for an incomplete and poor product you and your organization shall have frustration and eventually encounter a huge lose in question money, time and effort.

However, say, that was a good presentation on ERP or the product in question was considered as the best solution for your organizational needs. The next step is to procure and build the infrastructure, hardware and servers, backend database, effective connectivity inside organization and all out-side settlements like plants, warehouses, distribution units (if any), other business concerns and sub-systems. May be, there were some already-built datacenter and networking structure under usage but some extension and additional hardware, database and applications, networking systems, security systems are required for the automation solution, the ERP. This is best to hear from the vendor about the recommended resources (hardware and servers, backend database and application server, networking need etc.) and arrange to procure, install and implement before getting the final ERP product. No ERP products are set ready or like other off-the-shelf application software, it needs required customization on the basis of the system analysis done previously by the in-house systems analysts and program developers. After customization, the new installed product needs vigorous testing using real data of organization and definitely the business process must be compliant with the in-built process of the ERP.

Invest as necessary, if the amount seems huge but this is required to foresee and plan for at least 15 years. A good investment and a rational implementation bring benefit and profit manifolds for the business, but being conscious on unnecessary expenditure is very crucial. An interim investment is demanded sometimes for the betterment. Don’t worry everything is for you and your organization if it is streamlined methodically

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