Agencies ponder use of ERP software

Agencies ponder use of ERP software

S.W. 'Woody' Hall, chief information officer for the Customs Service

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff

MARCH 22 'How does an agency decide to use enterprise resource planning tools?

It conducts a lot of systems and investment planning, said a panel of speakers at the FOSE 2001 trade show in Washington.

The Army's tactical community is determining whether to use an ERP system for mission-critical operations, Col. Steve Broughall Jr. said.

Broughall, program manager of the Global Combat Support System, said his organization has contemplated for many years the use of ERP software to modernize its 30-year-old stovepipe systems.

'We knew they had to be modernized, although they're working every day,' Broughall said. 'We also know there's a lot of risks out there. We are in a mission-critical business. We know the ERP concept is great, but we don't have enough information to make a final decision. How do we know we're getting the best deal for our soldiers? We have to make that ERP decision very soon.'

Broughall was one of the speakers on the panel 'e-RP Versus ERP: What Problems Do We Solve?' Kevin Carroll, program executive officer for the Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS), moderated the session.

The panelists, who also included S.W. 'Woody' Hall, chief information officer for the Customs Service, and Jay Heroux, an Electronic Data Systems Corp. vice president, said the key is to determine whether your agency can modify its old systems by integrating them with a new application or whether to use commercial software as a replacement.

Hall said his agency is planning to modernize, using ERP as a model.

'System modernization is really a more up-to-date way,' Hall said. 'Integration is probably the biggest thing we see as a benefit. We need a better accounting and finance system.'

But both Hall and Broughall cautioned that choosing ERP is an expensive endeavor not to be undertaken lightly.

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