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ERP makes a comeback

Dan Tynan | Dec. 21, 2011
Most big companies rolled out their first ERP systems more than a decade ago. Now one in four businesses plans to upgrade or roll out a new ERP system

On the other hand, says Martens, SaaS comes with its own challenges: "Companies going the SaaS ERP route need to have confidence that the apps can support and carry through the kind of customizations they're used to making to on-premise ERP." In practice, that's not always possible.

Lessons learnedImplementation and delivery options aren't the only things that have changed over the last 12 years.

Enterprises have learned a few things, too, about what practices to follow and pitfalls to avoid. And though EPRI's original ERP rollout was a success, says Dotson, it's doing some things differently the second time around.

For example, EPRI is starting with a clearer idea of what its business processes are than it did 12 years ago. It engaged a well-respected consulting firm to help it steer clear of common ERP traps before getting too deep into the process. And all of EPRI's stakeholders have been actively involved in whittling the choices and picking a winner (whom, given EPRI's nonprofit status, Dotson is unable to name).

"It wasn't just an IT decision," he says. "We had a lot of people engaged in looking at it. Ultimately business and IT came together and decided on the same solution."

At RHC, Cunningham says he met with the NetSuite team for 90-minute conference calls twice a week for six months, mapping out all of his firm's processes before making the move.

"They really got to understand our business flow," he says. "And that gave us time to think about what we were trying to do, too."

Dotson says EPRI is on schedule to roll out the core components of its new ERP system in July, about nine months after initiating the deployment. HR and CRM components will be added at a later date.

"We're already starting from a better point," he says. "We fully anticipate to be equally successful this time, too."


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