How to stay out of trouble with ERP

How to stay out of trouble with ERP

By Thomas R. Temin

GCN Staff

APRIL 10—Before committing time and expense to an enterprise resource planning system, agency managers should ask vendors to hold up a mirror to the agencies, according to Ira L. Hobbs, the acting chief information officer of the Agriculture Department.

During yesterday's Executive IT Forum luncheon in Washington, Hobbs said agencies too often commit to large applications without a firm grasp of their business processes or of the system they hope to end up with. He admonished ERP vendors to ask agencies four questions, the answers to which would keep them and their customers out of trouble:

  • Have you re-engineered your business processes to reflect best commercial practices before starting an investment?

  • In making your business case, have you fully addressed your security and privacy requirements?

  • Do you know your expected performance measures and how they help define success?

  • Have you received approval from your agency's executive investment board?

    Scott Lewis, the managing vice president for the Washington area of Gartner Group Inc. of Stamford, Conn., warned that the commercial business case for ERP software doesn't always map over to government because ERP has its roots in manufacturing. ERP vendors, in first going after federal business, were more concerned with making sales than tailoring their applications to government, he said.

    'Look for what is and is not automatable with commercial products. You don't want to modify code,' Lewis said.


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