Saturday, August 13, 2022

Signs to upgrade your ERP or is it time to upgrade your ERP?

Is it time to upgrade your ERP?

Interesting question but why are you asking this question in the first place, there are several reasons to upgrade, and it can be business related or technology challenges. Whatever the reason you don't need to make the decision alone. Here are some scenarios that businesses might encounter why they're thinking about upgrading:

Business related

  • We've experience rapid growth, we're opening new warehouses & distribution centers, we're hiring new people and doubled our headcount. I think it's time for us to upgrade our ERP system
  • We've been using this system since we started the company, it's been 10 years and we don't know if this is the right system for us anymore
  • We've introduced new businesses; we've invested on add-ons and work-around for this system to work. I think it's time for us to upgrade
  • We have compliance requirements; we need to change our processes but this system is not flexible enough
Technology challenges
  • This version has reached its End of Life (EOL) and won't be supported by the vendor anymore, I think it's time for us to upgrade
  • We've customized the heck out of this system. We have hired developers to maintain the system for years, but we never upgraded the system to the latest version. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is too high that it's better for us to upgrade to the latest version
  • We need to integrate our ERP with other systems so we don't need to duplicate our work but the ERP technology is so old that it's not possible
Do any of this apply to your situation? Surprise you're not alone, most companies go through this situation every 5-10 years. Is there a quick answer to your question? The answer is No. 

Let's answer the who, why, what and how.

Who can help answer the question? This is a collective effort between your IT, your ERP partner & vendor if they're different and I highly recommend a 3rd-party consultant who doesn't have any vested interest to your vendor or partner. 

What's the best process to get the answer? There are several ways to do this, and it all depends on your time; how much do you want to spend and your resources. The best way is RFP or Request for Proposal. This will require more time but it's very detailed and will give you the best result. 

Why do we need resources & time? ERP is not just a system or application, ERP consist of different processes - Order to cash (OTC), Procure to pay (PTP) and others. You need to get the business requirements from each business process owners & Stakeholders. Once you complete this process then you consolidate this to your RFP. You send this to your ERP partner and maybe even other ERP vendors. 

How can we know from the process that we should upgrade or stay with our current system?
If you decide to do the RFP route then at the end of the process you will fill out a vendor scorecard and if your current vendor or current system comes out as the top scorer then you don't need to spend money upgrading. 

The most difficult part of this process is finding the right system and partner. RFP will help you find both if you do this process methodically. Don't rush the process, find a good partner to help you with this process because like I said, you don't do this every full moon.

Duke del Prado has over 25 year's experience helping businesses find the right systems and partners for different enterprise applications like ERP, CRM, eCommerce, POS, EDI and others.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

ERP - Oracle Netsuite Cloud

It's been a while since my last post and I'm excited to share what I've been doing the last few months. I've renamed my blog as well to Digital Transformation as I feel the transition to a broader content makes more sense.

My topic for this post is Oracle Netsuite, a cloud ERP for medium sized companies which they claim is the first cloud ERP in the market. I can't argue with this being in the market for almost 25 years as around 2010, we migrated to this system before the Oracle acquisition, and it was already in the cloud.

My current company implemented Netsuite last year and now my team is supporting the system. I can see much improved performance and more functionalities both in Order-to-cash and Procure-to-pay. 

I'm learning more about this system so more content in the weeks & months to come. You can learn more about Netsuite here: Business Software, Business Management Software | NetSuite

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Migrate from Dynamics to SAP S/4HANA

It is almost night and day when you get involve with this migration. I'm on my 3rd system migration from Dynamics AX/GP to SAP S4HANA and there's always something unique in each implementation.

One uniqueness is the S4 platform - On-premise vs Cloud, now there's Hybrid. Data migration is another unique criteria to consider. 

The process is almost the same as I remember, a WRICEF or RICEFW was the basis of all the development work and all other requirements like functional specs, change management, master data, etc. were documented.

Every detail is documented and this is where the implementation approach differs from Dynamics and SAP. This is why I said from the start it's like night and day. In a typical Dynamics implementation unless the partner don't have the resources, you normally will deal with a PM, a functional consultant, developer and maybe a report writer but the developer can fill this in some instances. 

The biggest difference is the functional consultant which in a Dynamics project is normally your resource for financials, distribution (supply chain), interfaces and reporting. In SAP, you have functional consultants in almost every module, well that's what I've experienced so far. You have one or two in FI/CO, one each for OTC, PTP and if you do inventory management (MTS/MTO) you need at least one. On the technical side you have one for conversions, one for SAP PI/PO, one or 2 for reporting, more than one for development (ABAP) based on WRICEF and one for training. There's more required for HANA hardware and database.

To summarize, the investment for the migration includes the following:

- SAP S/4HANA licenses. Do multiple negotiations before you commit to SAP.
- HANA hardware (Cloud, Hybrid, on-premise). Azure and AWS are pretty stable now.
- Implementation partner which can be one or multiple and I've done 3 partners at once (Not recommended)
- Internal resources. You'd rather over invest here as you don't want to scramble looking for a resource in the middle of the implementation 
- Get an overall Program Lead not just a project mgr who will oversee functional, technical, infrastructure, financials, and more important "change management". Don't underestimate the last one as you can be on schedule and budget but if your business partners are not happy with the transition then they won't consider it a success internally. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Microsoft in Retail

In one of my previous post I've mentioned the lack of investment from Microsoft in the EPM space. In this post I'll touch on the Retail space and some transformations that organizations partake.

I was with Microsoft Dynamics between the years of 1990 to 2000 and very privileged with the opportunity. In the last 10 years it has been unfortunate though that most of my engagements (mostly Retail and CPG) have been moving Microsoft to SAP. Why is that? It took me awhile to realize that there were commonality between these companies.

Here are some of my observations:
1  Scalability. They have outgrown Microsoft products, their processes have become more complex and existing investments cannot scale.
2  Relationship. They don’t have direct relationship with Microsoft so they find another partner to help them with their transformation.
3   Support. They need more support from their partners including technology, processes and data. Their current partner don't have all expertise, they can only do one not all.
4  Technology. They want to explore new technologies like Cloud, Big Data, IoT and others. Even though Microsoft can fill these space, the companies don't know who to contact.

If you look at the reasons, Microsoft could’ve easily filled the gaps. SAP does this pretty well, their regional AE's are in constant contact with their clients. They’re constantly asking and they take care of companies that carry weight in the verticals, brands that matter in that space. 

Retail is one vertical where Microsoft can capture some market share. Here are some reasons:
1- Retail companies have complex processes from store operations to back office. Microsoft have all the toolset to help but they're not selling it bundled. They need to go to these retailers and sell their products from store to back office. Show how the POS can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics Inventory then show them Analytics thru Power BI. Do a retail suite of solutions that can solve a retailers process from end-to-end.

2 - Microsoft needs to put more investment in their Retail space. They have the products to scale up and capture a market share but it’s not happening. They’re even losing clients and more importantly “brands” that matter in the space. SAP talks directly to top brand customers to know what processes are changing because of regulations, compliance, tariffs and others. In the Enterprise Applications technology takes a back seat, CIO’s look at vendors who can solve complex processes, use best practices, able to provide solutions to regulatory or country specific requirements and others.

I can go on but my point here is Microsoft does have the products but they need to understand the business needs and how they’re going to selling their products effectively. I’ve seen demos where the CFO and CIO just walk out of the room because they’ve missed the mark so bad. SAP is not untouchable, they just know how to sell their products well and Microsoft needs to learn from them.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Did SAP Fiori capture the future of software development?

SAP Fiori is using modern design principles like role-based, responsive, simple and delightful to create the next generation of SAP software products. The user experience or UX is personalized that you can create an application by targeting a certain user or persona instead of the current designs where we all fit everything in one window to target multiple users. What happens, users tend to ignore fields that are not relevant to them and this equates to frustration or even inefficiencies. So the question then is, will the future design of applications target certain personas not roles to make business users feel that its personalize than targeting a role then use that as your template?

Here are some videos about SAP Fiori:

Friday, February 12, 2016

In-Memory Appliance: SAP HANA vs Oracle Exalytics

I was trying to research Oracle Exalytics to learn more about the Oracle cloud offering and stumbled upon this interesting video comparing it with SAP HANA. Just interested as previously had implemented HANA with another client so knowing the basic difference might make a difference in the future I need to choose between the 2 giant vendors.

Here's the video, ignore the characters as they look like aliens without neck:

Signs to upgrade your ERP or is it time to upgrade your ERP?

Is it time to upgrade your ERP? Interesting question but w hy are you asking this question in the first place, there are several reasons to ...