Best Practices 2007: Enterprise Business Applications



“People by nature, especially at the CBC, tend to stay away from change,” Stephane Rivest, director of financial systems, processing and training with CBC Radio-Canada, said during this year’s SAPPHIRE conference. “A ‘technical upgrade’ does not exist; there’s always a user impact. Don’t underestimate it, but don’t overdo it.” The CBC upgraded to MySAP ERP in February, which involved geographic, departmental and operational collaboration.


A lot of vendors offered tools to create rich Internet applications this year, but selling it to the C-suite may not be easy. Ron Rogowski of Forrester Research suggested RIAs should do more than merely help companies sell more goods online. “If it’s a good application, it might take away or reduce the number of calls to your call centre,” he suggested. Some RIAs could also be used for modelling the cost of putting on a conference or arranging travel packages online.


Using master data management software tools to get a better handle on product or customer information can be a long process, but Anurag Wadehra, vice-president of marketing and product management with Siperian in San Mateo, Calif., says you should be able to hit some milestones in 90 days. “Start with a high-stakes process that addresses some underlying data issues,” he says. “It could be your CRM process, your cash to order process, whatever. You’ve got to pick your domain and deliver a system that goes live in that particular area and resolves the results.”


The University of Miami had 42 integrated database management system (IDMS) applications, the majority of which were developed in-house, running human resources, payroll, general ledger, and other student systems. Zucker said that the homegrown systems had been continually muddled together over the years, creating a daunting migration task. The school decided to upgrade its systems rather than “rip and replace.” IT managers need to calculate the expected after-upgrade ROI, look at how much time and employee frustration is being wasted on old systems, and ultimately assess whether or not the upgrades can speed up business achievements. “It’s kind of like going to the dentist for a root canal,” Mike Zucker, the University of Miami’s IT applications development director, says. “It’s not terribly enjoyable at the time, but if you know it’s necessary, it’s worth it.”

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