Week 3: Case Study #2

PDF File: Ernesto Mancia -Case Study 2 – Enterprise Information Management Systems

Problem Statement

The goal of any Enterprise Information Management System (EIMS) software package should be to efficiently, dependably and securely manage all the information required for an organization’s day-to-day operations and decision making processes. A robust EIMS package should, at minimum, integrate the following three core enterprise management functions: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship management (CRM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Integration between ERP, CRM and SCM applications

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Figure 1. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

 

Robust on-premise EIMS software packages were previously only accessible to corporations with adequate investment capital, but the introduction of cost-effective cloud computing technology has made cloud based iterations of such systems accessible to small and medium sized organizations. The new cloud technology offers cheaper, simpler and often wider alternatives when compared to legacy on-premise models of enterprise computing (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014). However, cloud based EIMS services have also introduced additional compliance, network and security concerns that must be addressed during the evaluation, selection and implementation process.

Challenges & Opportunities

Although a large number of companies will rely on cloud-based EIMS services by the year 2020, the failure rate of implementing just the core ERP is high; ranging between 67% to 90% (Gupta & Misra, 2016). Since a ERP system is a key component of any EIMS package, this statistic should not be overlooked. The ERP system provides fundamental decision-making support and enables collaboration between an organization’s internal operations (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Core ERP Components and Extended ERP Components

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Figure 2. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

According to Gupta & Misra, vendor selection is critical to a successful implantation of a cloud-based EIMS software package. The organization should select a vendor that has the capability to customize the software package based on the organization’s current and future business needs. Additionally, given that implementation of a EIMS solution is a significant undertaking for organizations of all sizes, the number of vendors should be kept to a minimum. Organizations evaluating software packages should first turn to vendors that provide the complete suite of solutions instead of cherry-picking EIMS components from multiple vendors. Sticking to a single vendor will help reduce the implementation costs associated with API and middleware development. Additionally, dealing with a single vendor could mitigate cloud-based network and security concerns related to downtime, data archiving, segregation of duties, network latency, confidentiality of data, encryption and maintenance (Gupta & Misra, 2016).

Business Solutions

As stated earlier, the core ERP application is what helps EIMS package and organization work towards operational efficiencies, lower costs, improved supplier and customer relationships, and increased revenue (Baltzan, 2015). It achieves this by leveraging a central database that collects and distributes information throughout the various departments within the organization (Figure 3). This is why it’s important that any potential software vendor be well versed in what is needed to deploy and maintain a robust ERP solution. Vendors such as NetSuite, Oracle and SAP are not only leaders within the ERP space, but they all provide the additional components (CRM and SCM) to build a well integrated out of the box EIMS solution.

Figure 3: ERP Integration Data Flow

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Figure 3. Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

EIMS Application Packages

Out of these three vendors, NetSuite is the only one to have been built from the ground up to be a cloud computing software company. It’s ERP solution has built-in SCM tools and offers a separate CRM product which is as robust as Salesforce’s offering (Netsuite: Enterprise Resource Management, n.d.). NetSuite’s ERP system is recommended for small to medium sized organization.

On the other hand, Oracle built its legacy on a robust on-premise EIMS solutions, but recently has made the jump to the cloud by launching Oracle Cloud, which offers ERP, CRM and SCM through its software as a service (SaaS) applications. Oracle also touts its SCM application as the most comprehensive SCM suite in the cloud (Oracle Cloud: Reimagine Our Business, n.d.). A point that shouldn’t be overlooked given that a SCM ultimately helps maximize profits by optimizing the price of raw materials, sub-products, final products, and maintaining sufficient stock levels (DZIEŻA, SIKORA & NOWAK, 2016).

Finally, SAP offers their cloud-based ERP called, SAP Business ByDesign. Like Oracle’s offering, SAP’s ERP solution is built on SaaS applications that provide ERP, CRM and SCM capabilities. But like NetSuite, SAP’s solution is recommended for small to medium sized organizations (SAP Business ByDesign: Cloud-based ERP for Mid-market Companies and Subsidiaries, n.d.).

Lessons Learned

Which EIMS solution should ultimately be selected? It depends on the organization’s key business functions. A large retailer might find what it needs in Oracle’s cloud solution because of its scalability and strong SCM application. On the other hand, a small sales organization might get more out of NetSuite’s solution because of its focus on small to mid-sized organizations in addition to its robust CRM product. Ultimately, what is most important is that organizations focus on minimizing the costs and potential risks associated with undertaking the task of implementing a EIMS software package. This can be achieved by going cloud-based; there by eliminating the upfront and ongoing investment required to manage and maintain on-premise software and hardware. Organizations should also look to a single tried and true leader in the EIMS/ERP space (such as Oracle, NetSuite and SAP) that provide integrated cloud-based EIMS solutions. Finally, once software costs have been negotiated, organizations should work closely with the selected vendor in order to build a trust-worthy relationship and to mitigate any compliance, network and security concerns.

Why I Care

Given that most of the EIMS solutions available in the market place are capable systems, I need to be able to look past the noise and focus on the key attributes that will create value and synergies between the organization and the cloud-based service provider. Additionally, as more and more companies begin to rely on cloud-based EIMS solutions to gain the competitive edge, I need to understand both the benefits and risks associated with the implantation of a cloud-based EIMS software package.

References

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

DZIEŻA, G., SIKORA, M., & NOWAK, A. (2016). THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SYSTEM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON LOGISTICS. Studia I Materialy Polskiego Stowarzyszenia Zarzadzania Wiedza / Studies & Proceedings Polish Association For Knowledge Management, (82), 38-48.

Gupta, S., & Misra, S. C. (2016). Compliance, network, security and the people related factors in cloud ERP implementation. International Journal Of Communication Systems, 29(8), 1395-1419. doi:10.1002/dac.3107

Heisterberg, R., Verma, A., (2014). Creating Business Agility. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Netsuite: Enterprise Resource Management. NetSuite, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

Oracle Cloud: Reimagine Our Business. Oracle, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

SAP Business ByDesign: Cloud-based ERP for Mid-market Companies and Subsidiaries. SAP, n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. .

Week 3: Predictive Analytics Data Integration

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 6, 7, & 8 of the text including the “Unit Two Opening Case” entitled It Takes a Village to write an Encyclopedia, using Big Data concepts explain how Wikipedia can use data warehousing to facilitate data integration for Predictive Analytics initiatives.

My Response:

With the advancement of technology, a data warehouse is now something that both big and small corporations can establish. By beginning to store, aggregate and leverage both transactional and customer data, a company can start incorporating business intelligence methods into the decisions making process. With access to historical and up-to-date data, a company should be able to beginning understanding historical and current trends in addition to leveraging that information to get a better understanding of where their business is headed; a company can go from being reactive to proactive.

In the case of Wikipedia, or any other firm, they could leverage a data warehouse to:

  • Build cubes (multidimensional databases) that would allow quick slicing, dicing and drilling-down of the data warehouse data.
  • Build dashboard reports (infographics) that will let the executive team quickly gauge business conditions
  • Data mine all the valuable information that is being captured and stored in order to build robust predictive models.

All these items would greatly enhance Wikipedia’s ability to quickly adapt to changes in customer behavior and the business environment.

References:

Baltzan, Paige. (2015). Business Driven Technology. New York: McGrill Hill Education.

Week 3: Business Case Analysis for CEM

Topic:

Based on your reading of Chapters 6, 7, & 8 of the text including the “Unit Two Opening Case” entitled It Takes a Village to write an Encyclopedia, using Business Case Analysis concepts explain how Wikipedia can deploy Cloud-based CEM systems to gain business intelligence of its customer ecosystem. Be sure to incorporate your personal experience and any learning regarding the Customer Experience Management lifecycle.

My Response:

Why would corporation need to run their CEM from a cloud environment? From an internal business perspective, cloud-based means having your business data living on servers that are not directly controlled or physically accessible by the company. For a start-up firm, using cloud-based systems from the get-go makes total sense, from an infrastructure cost and efficiency perspective, but for older companies, with in-house legacy data systems, the decision isn’t as simple.  Older companies need to seriously evaluate whether or not they need to take any of their key business functions to the “cloud.” From my experience, having key business data housed in the “cloud” through a third-party firm requires a lot of planning and investment in an infrastructure that can support the transfer and synchronization of large amounts of data between the cloud and in-house data systems (ie. internal databases) in order to mitigate the risk of running into information timeliness issues that could reduce the nimbleness of their business analytics.

With that said, I feel a cloud-based CEM system would help a web 2.0 company, like Wikipedia, quickly  understand (possibly in real-time) their customers which, in turn, would help them create a better user experience.  Since Wikipedia is basically a online encyclopedia that contains vast amounts of user created information that is constantly changing, a cloud based CEM would help Wikipedia understand the content creation and collaboration process/behavior of their customers. For example, they could track and analyze:

  1. Which customers contribute the most content
  2. Which customers are contributing “junk information” without verifiable references
  3. How customers interaction through the talking pages as they create and edit content
  4. Customer layout/formatting preferences for their content

With such valuable information, Wikipedia could start tailoring their website and creating tools that help facilitate and not hamper the creation and editing process of verifiable information.