I recently read an article by IFS North America’s CTO, Rick Veague, regarding companies’ challenges of achieving Global ERP. In the article, Rick describes the benefits and challenges of achieving this type of system and what to look for when selecting a partner. I will share his thoughts throughout this post along with some additional comments.
What is Global ERP?
Rick defines Global enterprise resource planning (ERP) as “the integration of a global, multinational corporation’s business on a single instance of an ERP product and on a single database.”
Why achieve global ERP?
Rick and I agree on the two major reasons why so many companies are aiming to achieve this feat: 1) The consolidation of IT assets always drives down the overall cost of IT 2) “Global ERP can allow for process consolidation across far-flung and diverse business interests in different geographies.” -Rick Veague
I want to focus on the second and most important reason why both mid-size and large enterprises alike try to achieve global ERP. There is significant business value in being able to standardize business processes and practices to achieve the most consistent and productive results. Rick goes on to mention that this also poses the largest challenge: “Selecting an ERP application for a global instance requires that some specific questions be asked at the beginning of the process.” He adds that a vendor must be able to handle “…the multiple currencies, multiple units of measure, multiple sites…”
I would add that it is crucial to consider an end-user adoption platform that allows for the localization of training and end-user adoption materials into multiple languages and multiple currencies. For instance, SAP’s Workforce Performance Builder (WPB) allows for a single capture of a business process with multiple output types which quickly convert to 37 languages and the native currencies. This allows for any business process to be captured one time, in one country and quickly be dispersed as training materials or end-user support across the globe to a company’s population. This solution also allows for the automatic repurposing of content when going through a version and/or UI change to your ERP application.
Rick sums it up perfectly when he says, “An implementation organization must know how to navigate not just IT challenges, but the human factors of a diverse implementation.”
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