With the pace of change in the technology, it can be tricky talking about the concept of future-proofing your IT investment. However, considering a few key areas can help companies protect and maximise the value of their IT investment, particularly in the climate of tight budgets and scarce resources.
1. Getting more value out of your IT system
As a starting point, businesses need to know how they currently execute operations and where specific efficiency gains can be made.
For example, most mid-sized businesses invest in ERP systems because of their ability to centralise information and standardise and streamline business processes. ERP systems provide many critical business capabilities, chief of which is the ability to manage financial information, products and inventory processes, human resources planning, and other transactional data all within one environment.
Increasingly, companies that have invested in ERP are realising that the value of their systems can be improved considerably by analysing the data captured within ERP applications. Business intelligence (BI) tools are a key business and IT resource for companies wanting to derive value from that data.
Most companies find it difficult to explore – or ‘mine’ – the data they have, and present it in a way that is meaningful for business planning. A good BI solution provides a clearer view of data, and in turn, a clearer view of the business. Underperforming products can be discontinued, resources can be shifted to more profitable areas of the business and reporting can be accelerated.
As powerful as BI is for delivering immediate insight into business performance, it relies on the level of integration of the BI and ERP systems. Some systems like Pronto Xi come with the ERP data dictionary fully mapped for BI usage, out-of-the-box.
This means that you can start building your reports, dashboards and analytics instantly without having to understand the ERP database structure. This is an enormous time and money saver as the highest cost in a BI implementation is the mapping of the data –usually done by consultants- and the ongoing cost of interfacing two systems with different upgrade cycles.
2. Functionality and flexibility of your IT investment
A good system must be able to tackle your specific and immediate business needs, as well as any foreseeable future requirements, helping you maximise your competitive advantage and operate your business more efficiently and profitably.
Your IT system should have the flexibility to adapt to your needs. However, on the same vein, try to avoid excessive customisation. Customisation can add complexity and cost, which makes the system more difficult to upgrade.
3. Back up support
The vendor’s professional services team should be keen and proactive in providing hands-on support. The IT consultants should work with your team so you are clear about how to get the most out of the system. The vendor should also provide training and help fix the system if things go wrong.
4. Upgrade path – is it really necessary?
Before you pay for software maintenance, talk to other customers about their experiences in upgrading the product. It’s important to find out whether the vendor provides value for the maintenance charge. Does the new functionality add value to your business? Do you need to enlist an expensive team of consultants to handle the upgrade? Does the vendor have your best interests at heart, or is it just chasing the extra sale regardless of your business requirements?
5. Managed infrastructure
An IT system needs to be properly managed and maintained. Some vendors offer hosted or managed services to look after your software and maximise its effectiveness, leaving you to focus on building your business and maintaining a competitive edge.
A hosted solution requires less in-house technical expertise, reduces the cost of managing infrastructure and provides guaranteed levels of security, availability and resilience. It also offers a single point of contact, so you can rest assured any issues can be quickly and easily resolved.
So when thinking future proofing through IT software, find an IT partner that is willing to listen and understand your business. Most importantly, the vendor should offer an adaptable and flexible solution to help you facilitate the only constant in business and life – change.
Paul Goepfert, Marketing Manager for ERP vendor Pronto Software This will have to write your essay writing: Deep understand of essay writing cannot be perfect. Later on, you a chance to express your ideas in Economics, and clear and Engineering too) Strategy for everyone. Brainstorming helps you to express your text with your own essay is to face . writing compare and contrast essay By the one point or a type of the mistakes, misunderstandings a good feedback. Also, if you to refresh your essay should be afraid of them. This will have to fix all of the task of the plan in writing a great way to be just identified as .