The greatest motivation for businesses in ensuring operational efficiency and excellence is to bring their products and services to users within the shortest timeframe in an affordable manner. Therefore, organizations should increase their competencies both in decision making and in agility regarding performance improvement. At this point, we realize the importance of information and technology. Technology is the most essential tool for us to focus on the most value adding activities, review the less value adding contributors and to automate whenever needed; access accurate, current and full-time information; use the resources efficiently. Just for those purposes, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems get on the stage.
Using effective business solutions (such as CRM, ERP, SCM) makes a huge difference in process/workflow automation and management efficiency, effective customer relations management; and in the increase of organizational efficiency and performance. ERP, for example, provides fluid and efficient workflow for the essential functions such as sales, marketing, production, material, budget, maintenance, quality control, cost, financial affairs, and human resources. On the other hand, we provide the supply chain to integrate with SCM (Supply Chain Management). We also meet customer-oriented basic functions such as operational, analytical and activity management with CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Solutions such as Business Intelligence (BI), Analytics and Reporting, Performance Management are the highlights for decision support systems.
Digital transformation supports creation of intelligent and innovative businesses, products, services, business models, processes that grow over technological platforms, infrastructure and business solutions beyond digitalization of businesses. The business world tries to deal with the challenges of information systems to be reliable and up-to-date, secure information, provide integrity and fluidity among multiple information systems and be able to meet new demands. The most important issue to be considered in the realization of Business Solutions are, business strategy, the facts and the objectives of the organization; and all the set-up that needs to be done accordingly. The strategic direction, competency and operations of the organization should be handled together during the realization of Business Solutions. Then, we may follow the other steps.
First, it should be started with the understanding of business requirements, analyzing the process flows and determining where the value chain works and where it should be improved. As understanding the facts, requirements and expectations of the customer and then developing processes with an outside-in perspective will be more market and customer oriented, thus fact-based. Implementation of Business Solutions also provides a very good opportunity to review, update and improve the existing processes. Clarification of relations between key, primary and sub processes is also critical for fluidity.
Issues that may lead to maximum delay during the operation are; inter-unit operation and moments of communication as well as decision and approvals. Determining the decision, approval and authorization areas, identifying the causes of delay and problem areas, understanding the need for information and document flow will ensure everything in the value chain to fall into place.
Process Analysis and Value Chain Analysis will eventually lead us to determine the ‘roles and responsibilities’ and identify the ‘Critical Success Factors’. Right at this point, Process Performance Indicators (PI) can be easily created.
This first stage requires deep and detailed work.
Yet, it facilitates the realization of Business Solutions in a healthy way. Now we may step into the phase of determination and prioritization of the business solutions (such as CRM, ERP, CSM, etc.) which is required during these processes. During prioritization, what is important is to acknowledge the ‘right service’ and ‘the right way to do it’. Business processes with the highest benefit potential (such as customer relations, productivity, organizational memory, supply chain management) will be the ‘right’ service at that moment.
Just after that, we should clarify the other aspects such as more speed, higher performance, less cost which we must focus with the support of technology (platform, infrastructure, application, process, business layers/tiers)
Now we know which business solutions we need, why we need them and what is our criteria.
Now is the time to determine the right supplier. One size does not fit all. So, the right way to do it is to assess the suppliers’ profile, solution portfolio, project approach, solution costs, the scopes of their service. We are in the phase of determining the most suitable supplier candidates to fulfill our selection criteria with a detailed and comparative evaluation and selection.
The realization of Business Solutions is a transformation on its own.
The realization stages contain the levels of conceptual design, application, testing and training activities. Although we apply the business solutions with the products and services obtained from the suppliers, the real deal is in the business management and competencies. Having an efficient, competent and effective sponsor within the top (senior) management for the entire project accelerates and facilitates the work integration.
Top management support ensures that the right decisions are taken at the right time. In such projects, the business must also know and apply the project management approaches and methods very well. It is important for the business resources and competencies be able to manage such projects at a high scale. In addition, project scope and expectations must be clearly understood from the very beginning by each party.
The people who have full knowledge of the business and its processes should be involved in the project’s organization. Senior consultants who are experienced in their field and industry should be hired. Otherwise, the solutions presented for the business will not meet the facts and the expectations of the field. A transformation, that does not consider the facts of the business, should deal with a huge resistance. The more transparent the business needs are, the more optimum solution is achieved. Thus, a flexible application field can be designed.