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Organizational Change Management Inside the SAP IT Support Organization

April 2nd, 2012 by

SAP Business IT Convergence

SAP Business IT Convergence

The last few weeks have focused on the path for IT leaders to become strategic business partners.  Academic research shows that for Sustained Business Value from SAP Business Software you must focus technology implementation efforts on business benefits.  This includes metrics to determine if business goals were achieved by the software implementation effort.

Achieving Business Value from SAP Investment was about case studies which evaluated organizations which applied a business benefits approach.  These case studies determined the business benefits focus also requires organizational change management.  Several years before these case studies I wrote about SAP as a Change Enabler which provides a good summary of what the authors found in their 35 page study. 

On this journey to SAP Enabled Business Transformation for IT Leadership we reviewed some of the senior leadership work by CIO Magazine and their 3 stage competency model of:

  • Internal Focus
  • Enterprise Focus
  • External Focus

Insight and activities to address the Internal Focus area were provided in the How To Steps in the SAP Business Transformation Journey and the Phase 6 RUN SAP ASAP Methodology.  This post will offer insight on taking your SAP or IT organization to the next level.  The focus now is on the Enterprise area with additional efforts to prepare your SAP IT support organization for External focus.

Making SAP About Business Transformation and Business Benefit

To move your SAP organization to the next level means your efforts must take SAP IT Convergence Beyond Business to IT Alignment.  As previously discussed, the Internal Focus in this maturity model is about “keeping the lights on” with your enterprise systems.  The next level requires a deliberate focus on convergence by IT leadership because SAP IT Convergence is About Business Focused Integration–, it is NOT about IT!

IT leaders must be deliberate about working through a full IT competency model–, there are no shortcuts! 

There is no “magical formula” for suddenly transforming your SAP or IT organization into a market and customer focused powerhouse.  It is a methodical path driven by an internal (senior level) champion to move the entire IT organization through the preliminary steps before arriving at the external market / customer / business competitive pressure focus.  Here is the ugly reality, no matter how smart, talented, diligent, hardworking, dedicated, or committed your IT staff are, or how hard you work as a leader, until you gain a trusted peer relationship with the business any externally focused efforts will not be well received.  The good news for many SAP organizations who provided great business resources for your SAP project is that you have a lot of talent to tap into to help bridge the business gap for an Enterprise Focus.

Some of the Steps to Achieve SAP IT Convergence require deliberate efforts at internal SAP support organization transformation.  A few maturity characteristics of that enterprise focus are:

  • SAP and IT staff communications, internally and externally, are more in business language rather than technology.
  • Proactively seeks out new business opportunities.
  • Able to interpret, and then implement, business marketplace requirements by turning them into technology solutions.
  • Adapts to business market conditions.
  • Not worried about the latest “techie buzz” like social media (Twitter, Facebook), cloud, etc. unless there is a direct business marketplace connection.

To be effective you must work at Integrating Business Stakeholders as Part of SAP IT Convergence.  I call a “converged” SAP or IT organization a “Center of Excellence” because it goes far beyond the SAP Center of Expertise.  The SAP Center of Excellence concept should not to be confused with SAP’s “borrowing” of the term in some of the sales literature.  Generally when SAP refers to a “Center of Excellence” they are talking about their “lights on” support oriented “Center of Expertise” where you as the customer take care of some of the support you pay them for.  To achieve this you need continued and ongoing Steering Committee Governance for an SAP Center of Excellence.

Organizational Change for the SAP and IT staff

One of the key arrangements I have seen over the years, which some of the commentators are beginning to explore, is a dual IT organization.  One part focuses on day to day support (“lights on”) while the other part addresses key business needs in the business environment.

1) Create a solid internal “anchor” focus with emphasis on bridging the business perception of any “capability/expectation gap” (Louie Ehrlich, President, Chevron Information Technology Company, and CIO, Chevron Corp).

That capability / expectation gap is related to taking care of the “lights on” IT functions in such a way that IT is effective and reliable.  The internal focus is where IT operates almost like a utility, the electricity is on but we really don’t think about it unless it goes out and then it is a big disruption because it is generally so reliable.

2) Try to develop more internal employee “exchange programs”.  This is an effective approach to build bridges between business and IT.  But it really should go both ways.  Not just IT embedded into the business, but certain business stakeholders embedded into IT.  This is one way to “be deliberate” integrating your IT organization into the business.

Work to create a “converged” IT organization RATHER than an “aligned” IT organization. 

As my previous post on ERP II & ERP III – SAP Business IT Revolution, from a TechRepublic.com article:

“IT has to stop thinking of itself as a business utility and start seeing itself as a business catalyst. In order to do that, it’s going to have to think in business terms and economic impact for everything it does…”

Creating a Learning Organization Through Collaboration and Knowledge Management

Another key phase which we may visit in the future is about creating a “learning organization” first within the circles of the SAP IT organization, and then within the broader business community.  This collaboration network will serve as a critical foundation for the third stage, or the “external” focus.  In ERP III – Is the Integration of Collaboration the Future of Enterprise Applications we take a look at Learning Organizations, Knowledge Transfer, and Knowledge Management (rather than information management). 




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What are SAP Best Business Practices Anyway

March 7th, 2011 by
Key types and distinctions of SAP Best Business Practices

SAP Best Business Practices

Over the last couple months I’ve seen a few posts developing a debate around the use of software “best business practices.”  The basic takeaway is that if everyone uses the standard delivered “practices” there is no competitive advantage.  While this may be true for many software applications there are two things with SAP which causes this idea to be misleading.

Many of these commentators fail to recognize that SAP refers to different things as “best business practices.”  The key types of SAP best business practices involve the processes included in the SAP software itself– software supported business processes.   Then there is the management and integration practices around software alignment to business — or the whole Business to IT Alignment dynamic which focuses on business value. [FN1]

The posts and comments complaining about “best business practices” I refer to are the ones where the authors complain about software supported business processes.  The common denominator I find in all of these authors’ complaints is they have little or no exposure (let alone experience) with SAP.  Their commentary is a bit misleading because of the depth and breadth of options available to any SAP customer.

SAP Best Business Practices for Business Software Integration

Few of the “best business practice” detractors are aware that SAP best business practices are far more than just the software business processes you put in scope and implement.  SAP’s best business practices include structured decision making and governance around applying software solutions to business (shocking isn’t it!) [FN2].  The whole idea behind these types of “best business practices” are to find ways to gain tangible benefits from the application of technology.  By identifying value based governance and project criteria you can achieve measurable Return on Investment (ROI).

Use of SAP’s Best Practices for Speeding Time to Benefit [FN3]

Best-practice value identification, transformation, and measurement approaches include:

- Incorporation of business case objectives throughout the project lifecycle
- Communication and documentation of process objectives and project success criteria
- Use of both existing and new program-specific financial and operational key performance indicators, based on the business case objectives, to measure project success.

The points above come from the SAP literature.  If you look at what SAP is proposing in those points you will see a company that is encouraging accountability to the business in the implementation and integration of its software.  Unfortunately few of the SAP implementation vendors or partners encourage this type of accountability.

SAP as a business software company spends over $1 BILLION Euros a year on Research and Development (R&D) (or over $1 Billion US).  That is to support both types of “best business practices” and is more than nearly all of SAP’s competitors generate in gross revenue each year [FN4].  Is it any real surprise that most of these complainers do not work with SAP?  Many of them are from competitors.

SAP Software Supported Best Business Practice Process Design and Setup

The SAP software supported best business practice processes generally refers to a broad type of functionality that the application contains.  For example, in the automotive sector, on the materials management side, it means that you have special functionality for JIT (Just in Time) or Forecast schedule agreements.  Along with that it also includes “sequencing” for automotive manufacturers and suppliers to guarantee that components and assemblies are delivered to the production line in exactly the order the OEM manufacturer builds them.  This is industry specific business process functionality.

In that one small example, what is not “understood” by many of the best business practice software process detractors is that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of individual and granular system setup options for how each step of that process works.  On top of that there are also dozens, if not hundreds of master data points between the vendor, materials, pricing, and other possibilities that directly influence how the steps of that process are carried out.  So in a generic sense you have SAP “best business practices” processes in the form of industry accepted JIT and Forecasting along with automotive specific sequencing.  The details of how you execute that functionality can be finely controlled along the way without custom coding.

Conclusion on SAP Best Practices for Business Processes

The example just provided above is one small processing example of hundreds of processing options, within one single industry vertical.  SAP supports over 20 major industry verticals covering industries as diverse as Chemicals, Public Sector (government), Retail, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Goods, Healthcare operations, Hi-Tech, Services, Aerospace and Defense, etc.

Even though SAP offers a “best practice” setup library with documentation on system settings to support specific business processes, they are a starting point.  The SAP documentation and resources do not cover all of the fine details of setup that only experience brings.

The ability to finely tailor or “tweak” system settings to meet a particular need or requirement, with hundreds, and in some cases thousands of variations, means that two companies using the exact same functionality can create entirely different processes to support different business strategies.  Together with that you have dozens or even hundreds of master data settings which rely on this system setup to create a virtually unlimited set of options.  And then before building some completely separate, stand-alone application there are user exits (or enhancement points in ECC versions) to program very specific requirements.

In the end an experienced consultant can guide you through the process of making the finely detailed adjustments to handle nearly any requirement with a minimal amount of custom coding.  And that is where true “best business practices” intersect with IT. Combine the right consultants with proper project or task governance and you have an optimal solution for the least Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  Together with reduced TCO you gain real Return on Investment (ROI) with the application of “best business practices” surrounding good governance to create business solutions with IT (rather than IT solutions for business).

=========================

[FN1] This site focuses more on “best business practices” related to business and technology alignment. There are any number of great resources for the business process related topics so another site would add little benefit.  In fact I’m not sure anyone could compete with SAP’s own “SAP Community Network” (or SCN, http://scn.sap.com ).

[FN2] SAP Executive Insight Series (September 7, 2009).  Accelerate Value Creation: The Virtuous Cycle of Using Technology to Maximize Business Value.  http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/index?rid=/library/uuid/70fa08b0-cf81-2b10-a396-89d18932fbd0&overridelayout=true (retrieved 4/23/2010).

[FN3] SAP Executive Insight Series, pg. 6, 2009.

[FN4] SAP Annual Report for 2009.  Review of R&D Operations.  http://www.sapannualreport.com/2009/en/annual-report-2009/review-of-operations/research-and-development.html (retrieved 3/05/2011).




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ERP vs. ERP II vs. ERP III Future Enterprise Applications

May 31st, 2010 by

ERP vs ERP ii vs ERP iiiERP I, ERP II, & ERP III Abstract

ERP applications integrate enterprise operations within and across enterprise legal entities, or company codes.

ERP ii (or ERP 2) applications extend supply functionality to external enterprises (generally vendor-affiliated companies or enterprises) to reduce cost, improve supply chain efficiency, and to perform collaborative innovation. 

ERP iii (or ERP 3) enterprises go to the next level of integrating the ERP and ERP ii functionality to include customers and the sales side of the marketplace into enterprise operations.  Your customers become active participants in your business.

Moving To the Border-less Enterprise

I’ve heard and read lots of material about the enterprise applications and what the next generation of ERP is.  Some have suggested that ERP systems were just manufacturing tools (see e.g. ERPwire article on major differences between ERP vs. ERP ii).  Some suggest ERP ii systems were little more than an extension of ERP functionality to new industry sectors.  In my opinion this is a completely misplaced assessment.  Changing industry sectors does not change what an ERP application does so a broader definition is more appropriate.

Before we go into the details and background of each of the 3 generations of enterprise applications here are my definitions for ERP, ERP ii, and ERP iii systems:

ERP Definition

An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system integrates virtually all operational business functions and processes and automates entries to finance and reporting within the enterprise (the legal entity or entities that make up an entire company no matter where its operations are).  ERP systems focus almost exclusively on operational excellence value propositions of process efficiency and automation.

ERP II (or, in other words second generation ERP, ERP 2) Definition

Through collaboration, SOA, and other interface, data exchange, or interaction methods the ERP ii systems move beyond Enterprise boundaries (or a basic ERP system) and into the vendor space including the supply, design, and engineering collaboration areas. ERP ii systems continue to enhance operational excellence and start to introduce a measure of the innovation value proposition.

ERP III (or, in other words third generation ERP, ERP 3) Definition

Through collaboration, direct contact, social media, and various data streams within and outside of the enterprise ERP iii integrates marketplace fans and critics into the extended ERP and ERP ii organizations.  From this integration of the customer and vendor a constructive dialog and exchange of information is created to innovate, produce, and then sell / distribute better products or services.  This closes the value proposition loop by going outside of the enterprise boundaries and finding ways to bring customer input, needs, wants, and insight into the enterprise.  ERP iii system create a strong synergy between innovation and customer focus.

ERP System Definition or ERP Defined

The acronym ERP literally stands for “Enterprise Resource Planning.”  And this is exactly where I disagree with the ERPwire definition proposal.  Just a manufacturing system is not an “enterprise” system at all.  It is merely a manufacturing system, or an MES (Manufacturing Execution System).

As the university studies and academic literature note, ERP systems are “a single instance of data, a full process chain of dependencies” (see Change Management Strategies and Knowledge Transfer Processes for a Successful SAP Project citing Kallinikos, 2004).

In the ERP industry we (consultants and integrators) frequently refer to any ERP system as a type of “back office” application or system.  By “back office” we are referring to company centered business functions into a single database, or, a single “system of record.”  “Back office” processes are fully within the border and boundary of the enterprise.

In 2000, in an article addressing ERP ii, Gartner noted that they had defined ERP in 1990:

In 1990, Gartner defined ERP, establishing a new vision for the resource planning domain. That vision centered on resource planning and inventory accuracy, as well as visibility beyond the plant and throughout the manufacturing enterprise, regardless of whether the enterprise was a process manufacturer, discrete manufacturer or both. ERP has since appeared in different “flavors.” Extended ERP reflected the fact that many nonmanufacturing industries turned to ERP systems for “backbone” financial transaction processing capabilities (Bond, et. al., 2000 pg. 2, note 2).

That article went on to note that the accepted definition (in 2000 and beyond) had become:

Despite [the] original definition, ERP has become the accepted term for back-office transaction processing systems, regardless of the industry or region (Bond, et. al., 2000 pg. 3).

The definition I have provided is as comprehensive as the original Gartner proposal and includes the later understanding of the application to more industries and business functions.

ERP Focuses on the Operational Excellence Value Proposition

To understand the operational excellence perspective see the more detailed explanation of the functions and operations of an ERP system like SAP under the section “What is SAP?” ( http://www.r3now.com/define-sap ).

I generally try to categorize all system efforts and business functions into one of three “value proposition” buckets:

  • operational excellence (ERP),
  • innovation (ERP ii),
  • and customer focus (ERP iii).

The ERP context is almost exclusively focused on the “operational excellence” portion of business “back office” transactional processing.

ERP vs. ERP ii — What is ERP ii?

The next generations of Enterprise applications, or ERP ii systems, extend the “back office” ERP system processing to the extended supply chain.  They extend the enterprise into the supply chain outside of their legal entity borders as an active participant. This would include VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) processing and KANBAN type demand and supply signals to vendors for JIT (Just In Time) stock management.  But it goes far beyond that, it is the “innovation” portion of the value proposition that is addressed here.

SAP includes ERP ii type extended supply chain applications like SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), APO (Advanced Planning and Optimization), and PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) to help move the supply chain beyond the enterprise borders.

ERP II Creates Collaboration Hubs Beyond Planning and Distribution Functions

Together with the extended supply chain applications there are a number of various exchanges such as common catalogs that are published to the web and integrate with their customer ordering.   Some examples of external exchanges can be seen in initiatives such as “Covisint” for the automotive industry, or Grainger’s online catalog system (although it is not a competitive based platform like Covisint), and many others.

One of the key functions or features of ERP ii systems is supply chain or vendor collaboration, which extends to engineering design and development.  Most enterprises using SRM systems use this to focus on cost reductions, vendor competition, and supply chain efficiencies.  They are generally geared to the operational excellence system domain but there is a LOT of untapped possibility.

The highest and best use of ERP ii functionality includes active collaboration with vendors to reduce cost, improve quality, reduce extended supply chain cycle times, and even co-engineer (or co-develop) better products and services.

Many ERP ii solutions now include some type of built-in “reverse auctions” where companies can place requirements out for competitive bids in various formats.  These exchanges might include data interchange methods such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) or other standards compliant communication protocols, but they are much more, they are active collaboration hubs.  Together with these collaboration hubs, SOA extensions are being used to extend collaboration and engineering design work to the extended supply chain.

How Has SAP Implemented ERP ii System?

SAP has created an entire collaboration network called the SAP Community Network or SCN (http://scn.sap.com) where customers, vendors, consultants, and any interested party can exchange information, ideas, or dialog.  SAP has implemented ERP ii systems internally through the development of specialized vendor partnerships it calls an “Ecohub” (http://ecohub.sdn.sap.com/).  This is a place where vendors, partners, or other firms with specialized SAP solutions can integrate and promote their offerings to enhance SAP’s various software offerings.  Along with that there are code exchanges, “how-to” articles, discussion forums, and many other types of collaborative information exchanges.  This is similar to what I proposed a few years ago when I wrote “SAP, ERP III, SOA — Learning Organizations through Social Media Collaboration.”

Operational Excellence and Innovation Value Propositions

ERP ii systems integrate the external vendors and suppliers into enterprise processes so that they can directly impact productivity, cost, and efficiency.  Some elements of ERP ii include engineering staff augmentation, free or at a very reasonable rate to the “customer company,” and as a value added service from vendors.  For vendors the ability to augment engineering functions can mean customer retention; for the customer companies this may mean higher quality and lower cost products or services.

SAP’s ERP offerings include PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) with CAD integration for several off the shelf CAD programs.  Although the PLM functionality is primarily used for internal engineering processes it can be pushed out into the extended supply chain for collaborative engineering and design.  That collaboration can be used for innovation if it is properly structured and implemented.  This is in conjunction with other integrated application offerings such as SRM and APO.

By extending engineering or collaboration functions outside of the enterprise, but still within the supply chain, innovation can be introduced into the ERP ii enterprise (see the entire series on Process Execution of Business and IT Innovation).   However, the primary feature of ERP ii systems is the additional operational excellence that is brought about by extended supply chain processing.  Very few companies have succeeded at collaborating with the extended supply chain by introducing extended engineering capabilities, or vendor insight to produce significant innovation.  Most ERP ii systems only work to extend the supply chain beyond the boundaries of the enterprise for cost savings and efficiencies (operational excellence).

Using SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) for Creating ERP ii and ERP iii Enterprises

The promise of ERP ii system success that moves toward ERP iii (discussed in a moment) is SOA or Service Oriented Architecture.

In layman’s terms, SOA is the ability to create a set of “talking points” from any internal system to external systems. 

They are the data structures and data schemas that are published for other systems to interact with and begin to create the framework for the “borderless enterprise.”

ERP iii Defined, What is ERP iii and How Does it Go Beyond ERP ii?

ERP iii addresses the final domain of enterprise class applications by addressing the customer focus value proposition.  It is the extension of technology capabilities which brings collaboration with customers and the broader marketplace into the enterprise system.  This goes way beyond what we currently refer to as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems of today.  Today’s CRM applications still operate within the walls of the enterprise and are generally used for managing the sales force rather than moving the enterprise out into the wider marketplace and to direct interaction with customers.

ERP iii from a high level is fairly easy to define, however what it looks like in a few years is difficult to predict.  The areas that ERP iii touches are in a rapid state of change because of the dynamic nature of social media and the global marketplace.

ERP iii Defined

  • ERP applications integrate enterprise operations within and across enterprise legal entities, or company codes.
  • ERP ii applications extend supply functionality to external enterprises (generally vendor-affiliated companies or enterprises) to reduce cost, improve supply chain efficiency, and to perform collaborative innovation.
  • ERP iii enterprises go to the next level of integrating the ERP and ERP ii functionality to include customers and the sales side of the marketplace in general.

The end state of the ERP iii enterprise would include a dialog between customers (and potential customers), the ERP organization, and the extended supply chain so that even suppliers would participate in the sales side of the marketplace.  Because there is little or no information in the marketplace about ERP iii direction and design I am offering a more detailed definition here:

Through collaboration, direct contact, social media, and various data streams within and outside of the enterprise ERP iii integrates marketplace fans and critics into the extended ERP and ERP ii organizations.  From the integration of customers and vendors beyond the enterprise boundaries a constructive dialog or information exchange is created to innovate, produce, and then sell (or distribute) better products or services.

ERP iii will create the “borderless enterprise” by bringing together a host of technology sources such as:

  • Collaboration tools (within the enterprise and across the supply chain and marketplace)
  • Social media
  • Internet technologies
  • SOA
  • Smart information integration and synthesis (specialized search with analytics or within specific information domains).  An early example of this type of search is a web service called “Lijit.”  Lijit allows you to manually assign searchable information sources for a customized, high value “search engine.”
  • Extended marketing analytics that are “like” tracking cookies but less invasive and use additional sources of information and research beyond the web (a good example is like grocery store checkout programs that automatically print coupons on the back of your store receipts based on what you just purchased).
  • Direct customer collaboration (we see early examples of this in the Dell “designed by me” and “I made Windows 7” television commercial marketing campaigns).

The Future of ERP iii Systems

Within the extended SAP enterprise (which is my area of expertise) I see many of the seeds of ERP iii germinating and beginning to grow.  Even though the initial “green shoots” are there for an ERP iii revolution I don’t anticipate that occurring for several years within SAP.

Today SAP has:

  • Very active, country specific SAP User Groups (xSUG, in America is it ASUG) with “influence councils”
  • Community forums (previously mentioned)
  • “Mentor Groups” within the community network.

While these all contain the seeds of ERP iii outlets I do not see a lot of the raw material being converted into application enhancements to directly address business marketplace demands.  There are still way too many technical solutions and not enough for genuine business needs.

ERP iii integrates marketplace fans and critics into the extended ERP and ERP ii organizations to innovate, produce, and then sell (or distribute) “customer-centric” products or services.

I doubt that the integration of more social media will move the ERP iii needle much further.  SAP like any other company that embarks on this type of transformational exercise must begin to use their well established outlets to drive innovation and to meet marketplace requirements (see the entire series on Process Execution of Business and IT Innovation).

Social Media and ERP iii

Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and other resources will need to become more sophisticated to produce meaningful differences in business-centered innovation or customer focus.  That sophistication for business will mean finding a means to use those outlets for genuine business competitive advantage.

It will take business some time to find new ways to tap into the collective marketplace consciousness through social media in spite of the massive number of what I refer to as “snake oil” salespeople.  Social media in the enterprise will not be useful until the snake oil sales finally align actual business needs to areas of the enterprise (sales, marketing, HR recruiting, etc.) that align with business goals and directions (see Social Media Fads and the Risk to the Enterprise).

Before ERP iii systems are ready for the extended marketplace and for customer interaction it will require “back office” integration with social media (see ERP III – Is the Integration of Collaboration the Future of Enterprise Applications).

As social media and collaboration tools mature over the next 10 or more years then corporations will finally build the ERP iii systems for integration into the wider marketplace.  By then the ERP ii systems will have finally matured to the point that some of them can provide meaningful integration between the enterprise, the entire supply chain and the sales side of the marketplace in general.

ERP, ERP ii, and ERP iii Conclusion

Considering this specialized class of business systems through the lens of the high level value propositions of

1) operations,

2) innovation, and

3) customers;

here is my summary:

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

Primarily focused on the “back office” with a heavy emphasis on operations, automation, cost control, financial activity, and lagging business indicators of performance.

ERP ii (the second generation of Enterprise Resource Planning)

Extends “back office” processing functions and operations into the extended supply chain with a heavy emphasis on supply chain automation, additional efficiency, more cost control, and some vendor collaboration for limited innovation.  This area of the application moves into the “last mile” of improvements that can be more expensive to implement and yield lower returns.  However, carried out properly with significant supply chain collaboration and joint engineering or development efforts this can provide new / innovative products or services addressing both lagging indicators of cost control and efficiency while exploring leading indicators of new products or services.

ERP iii (the next generation of Enterprise Resource Planning)

This will encompass the integration of social media with new marketplace intelligence and analytics into the ERP ii enterprise.  With a very simply “hub and spoke” idea, the enterprise will constitute the “hub” and the extended supply chain vendors, engineers, and designers, together with customers and market analysis as some of the “spokes.”  This will be enabled by the ERP application that is extended with collaboration and social media tools.  The ERP, ERP ii, and ERP iii functions will all be integrated with new analytics and “smart source” search methods to integrate and synthesize trend, market, and product or service information.  This will close the loop on the ERP ii innovation and will bring a new customer focused business paradigm into the enterprise that goes far beyond today’s CRM applications.

ERP iii state companies will be marketplace disrupters who are agile, nimble, and global.  They will be able to spot emerging trends and unmet customer demands (needs or wants) far more quickly and with greater ability than their peers.  From those trends and customer needs these companies will be able to quickly execute innovation programs to develop new products and services to quickly fill those customer demands.  The most advanced of these new “disruptive innovators” will be the companies who can intelligently synthesize all of the various data points to understand customer demands that are not even articulated.

======================

Bond, B., Genovese, Y., Miklovic, D., Wood, N., Zrimsek, B., and Rayner, N. (2000). ERP Is Dead — Long Live ERP II; Gartner Publications.

Kallinikos, J. (2004), “Deconstructing Information Packages. Organizational and Behavioral Implications of ERP Systems.” Information Technology and People, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 8-30.




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