Whether your organization relies on Infor for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) or another enterprise ERP system, the overall sentiment is likely the same: There’s no love lost for the system typically at the heart of the company.
According to researchers at Gartner, ERP is largely perceived as costly, complex and unloved. At the same time, many organizations are rightfully dependent upon their ERP as a mission critical application. And it’s for good reason – ERP brings standardization, audit control, process efficiencies and analytics that we have become accustomed to simply always work.
The relationship with your ERP is an important one, but just like any long-term commitment, it is common to hit some bumps or get stuck in a rut, overlooking new features and functionality. Moving to a more active relationship with your ERP can help you achieve transparency and visibility across business operations. Here are some ideas how you can reinvigorate the relationship and ignite passion for your Infor ERP while getting more value from the system:
Stay Current – It’s easy to get behind on patches when your system is performing well. But no one likes being far behind the curve or the pressure that ensues when trying to catch up. With limited time, planning or resources, the challenge of staying current is immense, and can give system users the ERP blues.
Says the Avaap expert: Create and commit to an annual (or biannual) patch/upgrade schedule in a month that works well for all your departments. For example, choose a summer or fall month that is far enough from year end but not too close to open enrollment, or pick a non-payroll week the first half of the year. Whichever you choose, stick to it, building the project plan backwards making sure to include plenty of time for testing and planning. Take the time to prepare for your major release upgrades ensuring you have the required foundation technologies and functional pre-requisites (Security, Workflow, etc). Please note that Infor Lawson just announced that they will be moving their release schedule from May/Nov to Apr/Oct.
Automate workflow – Paper approval processes are painful for all individuals involved: initiators, approvers and the back office. With manual processes, standards are difficult to enforce and there is no visibility or tracking into any progress or actions that have been taken.
Says the Avaap expert: Take advantage of the latest features with Infor Process Automation and automate complex business processes to increase business efficiency and agility. The most common approval flows include: Requisitions, Personnel Actions, Invoices, Journal Entries, Job Requisitions, Contracts, and Purchase Orders. A new feature enables managers to make approvals directly from email notifications without even opening Infor Lawson. In the accounts payable department, Avaap recently assisted with the Beta implementation of AP Automation, a new Landmark module integrates closely with your document management software to streamline the invoice process. Even Cupid would love increasing efficiency and being free from mounds of paper.
Leverage business intelligence (BI) capabilities – ERP is good at getting all the transactions into the system, but it is not as focused on getting the data out. BI can provide complete and clear visibility into your business, and when designed right, provides timely information for your team to use and make informed decisions.
Says the Avaap expert: Leverage Infor BI or an industry BI tool you may already have in-house to prepare and present detailed information to the appropriate personnel. But don’t expect to be able to get all the information directly from the source tables. Instead, look at building or expanding a data warehouse layer to fulfill the needs of the business. The ERP relational database is designed for transactional efficiency, which is not always ideal for reporting summarization or analysis. A data warehouse will ensure your calculations are the exact same in all views and reports, increase report performance and alleviate reporting queries from your production database. A world class BI technology platform can help your organization make more informed decisions, delivering just one more reason to love your ERP.
As part of your next upgrade cycle, look into additional new solutions available since you first implemented. Some great new capabilities exist, so to drive more value from your ERP investment, follow our blog to learn about what they are and how you can leverage new capabilities in your organization. Throughout 2014 our subject matter experts will provide more insight specific to Human Capital Management, Finance, Performance Management, Supply Chain and other Technology areas. We look forward to sharing with you!