Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Companies are Aligning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems with their International Strategies

With the continued globalization of economies and organizations throughout the world, many companies have or are turning to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to meet organizational goals, or are they? (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) agree, but caution managers to be careful and not to mis-align the organizational ERP systems with their international strategies, as this more often than not will result in poor business performance. For that reason, the authors identify three important areas that executives should address when using these systems (1) “systems configuration, (2) information architecture, and (3) systems roll-out to reap the benefits of ERP systems alignment.”

In fact and according to (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) those executives that correctly align new or developing ERP systems with their international strategies were found to outperform their competition, which ultimately lead to additional organizational growth. Therefore, once executives decide on an ERP alignment strategy, they must chalk out a future configuration for the system that touches on all three of the previously identified problems, while making sure that they will align properly with their international strategy and future growth plans. Based on this premise the authors recommend five strategies that managers should need to be aware of when implementing or advancing an ERP system.

(1) Make sure to appoint a senior level executive before rolling out any type(s) of program
(2) As much as people pretend to think that ERP systems are “magical” the fact is that benefits derived from ERP systems come from carefully configured system(s) that should be well planned out and implemented throughout the entire organization, plan, plan, plan
(3) Make strategic, tactical, and operational plans to fully leverage an international ERP system
(4) Any international organization that utilizes an ERP system needs to remember that successful alignment of systems will also require flexibility to allow for newly evolving systems
(5) Make sure that the company has the correct personal in the correct positions in order to leverage the entire ERP system on an international level

Madapusi and D. D’Souza, help readers understand the complex nature of international enterprise resource planning. As more and more companies, continue to compete on an international basis, these same companies will be forced to re-think the ways they conduct business. The fact is that conducting business on an international level requires most organizations to use these types of systems, as these systems help companies streamline their operations while providing real-time data. Companies that have a global business enterprise strategy in place before implementing a new system will be the ones to operate more efficiently. Enterprise resource management is not just a technological challenge it is an important change to almost all components of a business, so executives need to also make sure to ask what will be enhanced if we implement an ERP system? What will be diminished if we implement an ERP system? Etc. Over the last two years, I have continued to mine information on ERP systems along with the different ways these systems are helping Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) procure vendors while competing with larger organizations on a global scale. (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) provide another view of some of the benefits and drawbacks that company leaders face with ERP implementation and this viewpoint is another good find into my continued analysis of the supply chain and technological systems (i.e. SCM, CRM, ERP, etc).

Of course, any comments, questions, or suggestions are always welcome and remember to Keep Smiling!

Madapusi, A., and D. D'Souza (2005). Aligning ERP systems with international strategies. Information Systems Management 22(1): 7.

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