Building an E-Business Fortress

BUILDING AN E-BUSINESS FORTRESS 7

Buildingan E-Business Fortress

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Summary

Theplanning of implementing ERP performed by the United States Army iswhat is being discussed. The case study addresses the objectives andexecution considerations for the project achievement and thestrategies set out by the US Army to conquer the challenges. Themajor objectives of the project were to generate and maximize thecapability of managing, controlling and completing both theoperational and institutional sides of the army that continuallychange. The army targeted on effectively managing the transformationthat happens there before, during and after the implementation of ERP(Chaffey, 2007). Considerations concerning stakeholder alignment,cost, sponsorship, culture, communication and project life cycle werevery essential for successfully managing the mentioned changes. Thestrategies were set for each of the challenge as the planning processof implementing ERP.

Inaddition, the case study also describes the criteria measures to begoverned and performed in setting out the project by the army. Thereexisted a dilemma on whether to transform the ERP software or leaveit and change the organizational activities that would match with thenew software. The conclusions they made upon ERP software arediscussed in the case study together with their suggested solutions(Chaffey, 2007). The project mentions about attainment of bold-onthat can be used as an alternative if the important organizationalrequirements cannot be achieved by the functionality of the installedERP software. Customization of ERP software requires a lot time andattention on making decision and, therefore, needs more concern.After the army makes decision about customizing the software, theyshould generate a new code base still derived from ERP softwareroutine. A bolt-on will be the preferred approach in any case a majorrequirement of the business needs to be met.

Lastly,the ERP software configuration should also be put into considerationtogether with the time and costs associated with integrating anddeveloping interfaces with the existing systems. After theimplementation, not all the systems will be discarded therefore,interfaces will be built between the existing systems and ERP systemto allow for the effective and smooth integrated system (Chaffey,2007).

Thegoals of the army using an ERP system

Thekey goals involved the capability of anticipating, seeing andresponding to the fast changing operational surroundings, as well asemploying, deploying and sustaining responsive combat ability.

  • The institutional army requires the ERP system to be capable of transforming its business systems, practices and processes for effective and efficient management its mission capabilities. The business mission capabilities include financial management, acquisition, installation and environment, human resource management and logistics.

  • The operational army, on the other hand, requires the ERP system to capable of quickly affecting combat operations by anticipation of changes and provision of dominant and decisive combat capability. The missions’ areas include intelligence, war-mission area and venture information mission area.

Thearmy has set guidelines and standards of important ERP implementationdue to high-risk of implementing ERP system.

Thekey ERP implementation considerations addressed as part of planningprocess

Thekey implementation considerations include:

  • Governance: The governance of ERP programs is essential because of the scope and the size of the program. The business is required to understand the consequences and alerted in making tough decisions. Executive governance and sponsorship is, therefore, required at a higher level.

  • Change management: The main cause in transformation of many businesses come from failing to anticipate and effectively managing the organizational and cultural changes, therefore, making transformation management to be more considerable.

Baselinesand performance criteria: Theyinclude measuring business results or operations and ERPimplementation itself (Chaffey, 2007). Baselines and criteria arerequired to be set for the measurement of performance, otherwise, nofuture comparable results or valid results.

  • Decisions on configuration and customization and the level, which should be undertaken.

  • The time and costs involved and associated with generating interfaces and integration with the existing system.

Additionto the change management considerations include:

  • Sponsorship: ERPs needs sustainable leadership where army leaders keep on alternating.

  • Stakeholder alignment: In tradition, the armies were operating in silos, which was not wholly integrated system.

  • Cost: transformational management cost approximately 15 percent of the budget and considered first as the budget is trimmed.

  • Project life cycle: Transformation management keeps on changing with time.

  • Culture: The army organization has a lot of tradition and history making it resistant to change. The issue of resistant to change for the army should be handled with care because the cultural transformation cannot be successfully implemented if the army fails to manage it. The importance of the implementation will not be achieved if the people will refuse to accept new resources and practices from outsiders.

  • Communication: Communication is essential implementation consideration because of internal and external impacts of an ERP program to the army. Soldiers are internally affected while legislators and taxpayers are externally affected.

Incorporationson change management process into the implementation

Thearmy set out the following strategies to overcome the challengesencountered during the change management process.

  • Sponsorship: The army suggested that the sponsors were required to be engaged but not only be brought in. During the transition, they conveyed about the significance of continuous engagement of their successor and was not the case.

  • Stakeholder alignment: The army came to realize the need of making trade-offs for the ERP model for efficiency in enterprise. The decisions needed governance above the domain level and mission area.

  • Cost: The army set a priority that the transformation management is very essential and should be allocated sufficient cash from the budget.

  • Project life cycle is needed to start from the outset of the project and remain continuous forever.

  • Culture: The solution is only sponsorship within the army. Any consultant or system integrator can bring tools, experience or methodologies, but sponsored from within.

  • Communication: The appropriate communication methods are both bottom-up and top-down through various communication channels.

Prosand cons in customizing system

Makingdecisions as to whether to customize ERP system or not and to whichlevel is hard and complicated because of major pros and cons asanalyzed.

Pros

  • Avoid unnecessary and painful business process changes.

  • Customizing is essential in some respect due to different and varying army processes.

  • Customizing might solve the problems of various regulatory and DoD statutory, which are not available in ERP software.

Cons

  • Customization does not fully utilize the significances of ERP software such as the capability of taking merit of vendor updates to functionality.

  • Customization cannot take merit of proven business activities installed in the software.

  • The maintenance and cost of soft are usually high, hence making total to be expensive.

  • Customization cannot influence the seller’s support organization and get the total value f the ongoing maintenance and support, therefore, increasing the need for inadequate technical resources.

References

Chaffey,D. (2007). E-businessand e-commerce management: Strategy, implementation and practice.Harlow: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.