ERP strategies for CIOs

An ERP system is a critical component to running a business. Get the resources you need to implement a successful ERP program in the enterprise.

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ERP software can affect nearly every employee at an organization and the way they do their job. Therefore, an effective implementation strategy for new installations is critical. Organizations that get the most value from their ERP efforts do so for a number of reasons, including obtaining executive support; treating the implementation like a continuous improvement process, not just a project; and completing the implementation in less than nine months. This CIO Briefing will give you the resources and advice to implement a successful ERP program.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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ERP, Web 2.0 adoption trends cry out for plan

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CIOs allocate about one-third of their IT budgets to software-related costs. How are you spending your money in 2008?

According to a recent global survey from Forrester Research Inc., you are making major upgrades to your ERP systems. Integrating applications is a top priority, which means service-oriented architecture is hot. You remain cautious about open source software. But when it comes to Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs and discussion threads, you're hopping on the bandwagon. Large and small Web 2.0 deployments are planned in 2008.

"The simple fact that you get more information, more capability and more features on the Web to get work done than you do in your own company, is pretty much driving these Web 2.0 initiatives," said R. "Ray" Wang, a principal analyst at Forrester, in a phone interview this week. "Honestly, I can get better services outside of most enterprise companies today."

Learn more in "ERP, Web 2.0 adoption trends cry out for long-term plan." Also:

The ERP boom: Don't call it a comeback

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Many commentators think that the dot-com bust of the late 1990s broke the ERP bubble. The boom is back. Info-Tech data from late 2006 indicates that more than 30% of companies currently have ERP software and another 25% have deployment plans. This surge of interest must be met with analysis of its root causes and market implications. IT managers need to recognize what is driving ERP implementation and whether or not it is an appropriate solution for their enterprise.

Info-Tech collected detailed ERP project information from more than 160 different enterprises. The data points to particular trends regarding business drivers, project structure, budgets and implementation concerns.

Find out more in "The ERP boom: Don't call it a comeback." Also:

Cut ERP project costs, time by 50%

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Over the years, we CIOs have learned a lot about ERP initiatives. Many of these lessons have come the hard way -- after costly time- and company-consuming projects left us scrambling to find benefits to justify the costs. If you ask almost any ERP (or CRM or SFA or BPM or whatever) project manager what, in hindsight, they would do differently, the answer is usually the same:

"Do not customize the software!"

In spite of this advice, each time an organization starts an ERP (or CRM or SFA or BPM or whatever) selection and implementation project, the going-in assumption is that the software must handle the unique aspects of the business.

Learn more in "How to cut ERP project costs, time by 50%." Also:

  • With ERP, implementation is just step one
    After Willamette Valley deployed its new ERP system, it discovered training employees and setting expectations were just as important as the technology.
  • Vintage IT No More
    Champagne and wine maker Korbel overhauls ERP and BI as part of its IT modernization.

Butterball CIO celebrates SAP cutover

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CIO Ron Wells says he has a lot to be thankful for. This time a year ago, his employer of nine years, Carolina Turkeys, had just become Butterball LLC, taking the famous name of the brand it bought for $325 million in October 2006 from ConAgra Foods Inc. The combined business, which is based in Mount Olive, N.C., and owned by Goldsboro Milling Co. and Smithfield Foods Inc., expects to do more than $1.5 billion in revenue this year, for a 23% market share, Wells says.

The newlyweds got through the holiday season and then the fun began -- bringing Butterball on to Carolina Turkeys' SAP system, itself only a year old. We'll let Wells talk turkey -- and discuss the latest with the Turkey Talk-Line.

Is the turkey business competitive?

Ron Wells: It really is. You'd think with all the emphasis on eating healthier that this would be a growing market, but turkey consumption is relatively flat, so the competition remains fierce.

What kind of role does the CIO play at Butterball?

Wells: More and more it is a very strategic role. I'll give the Reader's Digest version of what we've been through over the last couple of years: We had a huge SAP project that went live two years ago this October. It went very well for us. We're running SAP for almost everything. One reason for that project was to help us grow. We took a look at the systems we had that were homegrown. They worked very well, but the company wanted more of a platform for growth. How prophetic. On the first anniversary of the SAP go-live, we became Butterball LLC.

We acquired Butterball, but we're smart enough to take that name. Our company had been on a mission to grow a name brand. That's very costly. After many years, if you get 20% name recognition you've done good. So, kind of overnight, we doubled in size.

Find out more in "Butterball CIO celebrates post-acquisition SAP cutover." Also:

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This was first published in February 2008

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