Now that the dust has settled from both and the feverish rush into the e-business arena, it's time to evaluate a systems and technology strategy for moving forward. Given the proliferation of alternatives in the form of new technologies, service offerings, and vendors in the marketplace, sorting out a strategy against a backdrop of constantly moving targets is no easy feat. This presentation will provide a clear overview of the enterprise systems landscape as it exists today and visionary thoughts on how it is likely to change over the next few years. Whether contemplating a complete ERP system replacement or a "best of breed" bolt-on approach, this presentation will establish a solid platform of understanding from which to operate.
BUSINESS STRATEGY MUST PRECEDE TECHNOLOGY PLANNING
Developing a business strategy involves the process of aligning the internal capability of an organization with the external demands of its environment. As a result, a corporate charter and mission based on the value proposition the company brings to the market are established. The business strategy process clearly defines a statement of objectives, allocation of human and material resources, and creation of policies that will enable the organization to flourish. Much of what is done in the business strategy area revolves around defining key business processes that will provide a competitive advantage. With the exception of several information-based industries, little attention is given to information technology during this step. However, there is an increasing focus at this stage to understand how the firm's information systems will support business breakthrough objectives such as e-commerce.
A process improvement or business process reengineering project may be deemed necessary after die strategy is developed and may be done hand in hand with development of a systems and technology plan. Process improvement entails a structured approach that examines existing processes within a functional area of the organization and develops an improved method for increased productivity or effectiveness. A process improvement typically involves streamlining and automating existing activities, resulting in little, if any, needed changes in individual employees' skills or training requirements. Process reengineering is a more extensive
undertaking to radically restructure business processes, organizational boundaries, and management systems of an organization. It is a methodical approach to implement fundamental change, critically evaluate and possibly discard antiquated and nonessential procedures, and build new capabilities using the latest technologies to achieve breakthroughs in business performance.
Change management, the process of assessing and guiding an orderly organizational transformation to create a more competitive workforce, is often an essential component of the overall project. Change management activities can include measuring the ability of the workforce to accept change, revising human resource policies, redefining job responsibilities, appropriately communicating with the workforce, and determining an appropriate rate of transition toward the new organizational structure. In the past, more attention was given to technology rather than planning for the skills transition of employees; however, new technologies and business processes are requiring employees to adapt to new ways of working. A key challenge of change management is ensuring that work requirements and expected behavior are achievable with the existing skill sets and corporate culture.
To Be Continued
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