If your company is - in the make-buy-outsource decision - taking the step to “Buy” it will face a lot of challenges. This doesn’t mean that a decision to Make would leave you with less uncertainties. If you do opt for addressing your resources in making your own systems you will face the same level of challenges, but these ones will stay within your company. You do not have a benchmark, because you have chosen to build a proprietary solution that is specific only for your situation. There is no way to check whether you did a good job.
In this sense, the step to Buy is a new one. You have chosen to go for a more best-practice approach and in the area of Enterprise Resource Planning; there are many vendors that provide packages.
Such a package should not only serve your company but many others too. There are various ways of handling such a ERP selection process. In this article I’ll focus only on the in-sourcing question. This is a question about architecture.
The Supplier of the ERP Package – the architect – has constructed the package according to specific principles. This is visible in the style of the solution. Also, the design of the functionality (of the package) is focused according to the demands of a target group. This would result in a scope that addresses the ERP package. Thus, the package is the result of architecture; ideas that a made concrete in the solution to solve a need in a specific area (scope). In this particular case: an ERP problem.
The problem behind ERP is how to optimize your internal process. This is not a simple equation, but rather a complex question of “aligning” or “integrating” the various activities in an optimal way. This is most of all an informational problem.
The solution found by each specific ERP supplier will differ according to their architectural approach. It is this approach that you should match with your own.
So the question of selecting an ERP package is about selecting an approach that would best fit your own organizational style and character. In other words, it should match your business profile.
This can be done by assessing the architecture behind the ERP solution and compare this with your business profile. This comparison (Quick-scan) is something that you could plan at the level of selecting a long-list. It will also help you once you start implementing the system of your choice.
© 2006 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account