Since SAP Business One is one of the most popular mid-sized ERP Application in Pakistan, and many of those who are using it are pretty much satisfied with their selection, where there are many who always compare this with local market trends and give excuses for not adopting it because of their budgeting constraints.
But the comparison is always there, either they belongs to a construction, retail, trading or any industry, Most of the people (even from the IT Industry) in Pakistan usually don’t know the difference between SAP and SAP Products, for them SAP products are all SAAAP (something really big), they neither don’t go into details nor investigate or if I rephrase it: they don’t know anything about ERP Products. Similarly, like users on Oracle application, one of my friends is a very literate and bio-medical engineer, even from him I have heard saying that he is working on Oracle…. As I have a very large interest in Software Application development I asked him when did you learned programming, and when he replied; I found out that he is just the user of some Oracle – based application and doing some KPO kind of work, that means again they don’t know the difference between Oracle and Oracle based products. And this is my first point; the basic understanding or general concept. No matter you are an IT professional or not, it is just like what is gastroenterologist in medical sciences, and every person should know.
Concept and understanding
People don’t know the differences in terminology.
Need to develop the understanding first; Not only for the differences between the databases and applications, but also between the brand/company and their products. The understanding won’t take time, all one need is internet; it can be found easily through Google, or by asking any relevant person, or just visiting or browsing the relevant web resource or even Wikipedia.
IT People of your organization need to give some presentations on Technology which they are planning to adopt – or invite the staff of your organization in Demo Presentations of Software – Which channel partners are presenting. And ofcourse have some interactive questions and answers sort of session with them to get better understanding.
People don’t adopt changes easily.
There are some organizations which really doesn’t have any IT literates, or they have the mid-sized IT setups, but they are working on Microsoft Office for recording their daily basis transactions and billing, where in some they have the skilled people and the setups as well, but using obsolete technologies, and they are in majority in Pakistan, the mid level business now have trends to adopt customized solution locally available, and this is a good sign, but again; there are few using Oracle based system, or some cloud based applications which are marked as good large enterprises and not in the list of mid-sized company, which i am talking about.
The IT industry fashion is now changing in Pakistan, now you can find POS application on every store, locally developed by software teams and big named software firms and brands, now here comes the second part of this document, Workforce i.e. people who are working on those systems. One don’t need to be IT literate, (when we use the word IT literate in Pakistan, usually it means the person who knows how to operate computer, and internet.) for working in such mid-sized business Software application.
I have seen many people, who are trained for the Key Punching Only, and when the application halts or gives system messages, they starts screaming and leave the terminal or asking for help. A freelance developer was sharing his experience on a blog and was stating that a guy was complaining that the system is giving error and not allowing him to post the transaction, and when support team checked the error, it was a system message asking him to input some mandatory fields. It is something just not he doesn’t know how to read, but it is because he don’t own or he don’t care, and in most of the cases, where people were working on a fox-pro based legacy system and migrated to the new GUI interfaced system, they don’t adopt the changes easily, or they don’t want themselves to get upgrade, and then, there is the problem.
Most of the people in mid-sized organizations don’t want to work on new systems, there are few, which in my knowledge which were working on locally made ERP solution and when they get to know that their management is deciding to move on SAP, then, they were found saying; SAP is big investment, SAP is not the solution, even in ABC, XYZ (some big organization name in Pakistan) company they are implementing it since 2 years and it’s not working for them, and all words of different mouths from the planet to prove that the management decision is a foul.
Having said that, again there are few mid-sized organizations in which people are willing to work in new technologies and it is easy for any channel partner to work with them easily as the interest level is there for adaptation.
Need to ask Auditors or IT People of your organization to do some gap-analysis, and give some presentations on Technology; planning to adopt – difference between the legacy and SAP Business One, and how it can be beneficial for the organization, the new processes and procedures, and also ask them to sit in the demo presentation.
This will really helps the staff to understand the importance of organization up-gradation process and their updation as well. This is the very important part; an employee who is working on SAP products gets his profile also updated, as the SAP business one is globally recognized system.
People don’t share their desk information.
Information sharing in any organization has a very significance importance, to float the correct and authenticate information is a part of efficient reporting, organization which have people with such behavior always grow by taking quick decision on their smart reported information, Now, there are some black and some white sheeps always there in an organization, despite of the internal politics, which is again the integral part of organization, there are people who wants their organization to get dependent on them, and there comes my third point, information sharing.
When one migrated from legacy to new SAP Business One system, the old closing balances either from financials or inventory figures comes into play, and there is the hurdle, the employees of such behavior mentioned above, will delay the implementation process, and even if the float the information the audit or IT team will take large number of days to authenticate or audit those figures reverting back to them again and again.
If we have started the process of implementation from Understanding the basic concepts and skilled workforce, it would get easier than, to work like a team, on closing balances and relevant figures. The process time varies from organization to organization depending upon the sizes and numbers of the transactions,
Need the provisional date of closing from the starting, so when the requirement specification or a blue print is started by the Channel partner, then the management or concerns should announce the provisional cut-off date to calculate the closing Balances. Which will helps the organization to save the time when it comes to the closing balances import.
Reporting and Informative Queries
People don’t know what and how to report.
Reporting is the most important part of any ERP Solution; I have heard people saying this report is not in the System, when asked. Despite of general formats of marketing or traditional documents, there are other information as well, which management or departments do requires for their daily working or decision making, Since, SAP Business One integrated to SAP Crystal Reports, now provides you an option to make as many report as you want, moreover, a query manager is there to give proper information to the users when required.
The problem is, the departments don’t have interest when it comes to reporting part. They either forward the IT Department or channel partners their legacy formats or just ask verbally about the processes and doesn’t think for the MIS level or beyond it.
For example, a store manager should have the aging report for the inventory that can be made easily on SAP Business one, the requirement is there but the demand is not ON. The Other Example; A manager asked a query from his department on phone, and the guy was replying back to him sir I don’t have such report in my system. The information is there, all he needs to do is share the queries with the channel partners or their IT Department, so they can give them access of query manager with such information which is not required on hard evidence but usually asked for information only for some other purpose.
The IT Department or concerns should conduct some reporting session with the inter department personals, asking them what they are reporting, what queries are general, what are on daily basis, and what would they think they will be requiring for any summarized patterns etc.
Training and Hands-On.
People don’t take training seriously.
And yes, they really don’t. when IT Department or channel partners starts training of the staff, they always pretend that they know the process already, and sometimes yes they do, but the new interface, may have some different ways for doing the daily transactions, but not necessary.
The management should ask the staff to reserve some time to do some parallel working, the general problems which usually seen, they complaint they don’t have time to do the parallel working. Because they don’t know the importance they don’t care.
Need to conduct more sessions, after the primary training as well. Addressing individual user, and ask them on daily basis, the problem what they are facing, and how they are doing, Feedbacks will not only helps the concern to define the authorization in the system, but also will helps to develop the controls, and the reporting.
That concludes my post, I didn’t mention intentionally the infrastructure, this is just the experience sharing post and many of you may have different opinions regarding the subject.
Thank you for reading.