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A Guide to Smooth Sailing of the Business Using SAP ERP

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Ashish Bansal, Director / Sr. Principal, Global Products & Technology Operations Leader, GSK

Below is an excerpt from the conversation of Ashish Bansal, Director / Sr. Principal, Global Products & Technology Operations Leader, GSK with CIO Insider magazine.

Which are the factors fuelling the growth of the ERP market in India?
The market is anticipated to grow during the forecast period due to increased access to ERP functionalities through smartphone applications, cloud adoption, rise in need of operational efficiency, and transparency in business processes and increase in demand for data-driven decision making. Growing adoption of advancing SaaS technologies, broadening the value of existing ERP systems, minimizing third-party dependencies, more highly secured resources, advancing financial systems, and other notable factors are driving up the growth in demand for ERP software.

How can efficient change management be attained?
A dedicated team with workstream focus on change could aid the organization to deal with the volume of the impact/change. It is must that the whole process is transparent and resilient.
Some of the non-exhaustive key aspects for efficient change management to be attained are:

•Continue to reinforce the defined business case/ERP strategy which shows the changes to processes and system functionality, including the benefits brought about with the changes; share the business case with pertinent individuals within the organization.

•Consider hiring a third party to perform an organization readiness assessment towards people, process, technology and culture aspects. Also, to define a blueprint and roadmap with Org architect inline to the business strategy and expectations keeping in mind other critical business and technology milestone being performed in parallel.

•To develop and maintain consistently good communication between the project team and the organization as a whole, using mediums such as internal sites (SharePoint, MS Teams, Workplace etc.), newsletters, focused mailers, workshops, lunch and learns to assist in delivering the strategy, roadmap and support which would be expected.

•Key users should be involved with the project and its progress, as this will aid in testing and acceptance of the changes.

•Be prepared to periodically train the staff and key stakeholders during the project and even after post go‐live dates.

Also, don’t put the guards down post go-live as hyper-care support and process stability would be equally important for the overall project success.

How should the planning be conducted while implementing ERP?
One of the team’s early goals will be to develop a detailed understanding of current issues, including process inefficiencies and requirements for the ERP system. If the organization has previously developed an ERP business case, it may have already defined broad business issues and goals for the implementation, which may include a faster financial close, improved insight into operations. These can be used to direct more detailed analysis, including documentation of existing workflows, and to focus development of the system. The team may select and acquire an ERP system during this phase, as the organization develops a clear idea of its requirements. One major decision is whether to use an ERP system that runs on-premises or in the cloud. For an on-premises system, you buy and install hardware and software in your organization’s data center. In contrast, cloud-based ERP is generally provided as a subscription service accessed via the internet, so it can be faster to implement and may require fewer in-house IT skills.

How can effective data migration be attained?
Some data can be migrated ahead of deployment, while other information—such as current transactions—should be migrated immediately before going live. Some organizations aim to deploy all the modules of the ERP system concurrently, while others focus first on specific high-priority modules or processes and add others later in stages. To minimize risk, some organizations also continue to run older systems in parallel with the new ERP implementation for a time, although this can add to the overall project cost and reduce user productivity. Organizations sometimes make the mistake of simply migrating all historical data to the new system. In reality, some of the information in older systems may be obsolete or unnecessary. Is 10-year-old order information really valuable? Does every supplier in your list still exist or active? The transition to an ERP system is an opportunity to clean up and rationalize the organization’s data, and it’s worth creating a clear plan for doing so. It makes sense to comb through legacy data carefully, weeding out old customer accounts and looking for data inaccuracies.

The best part about ERP systems is, its effective planning and strategy which enhances the efficiency of the business and ensure it sails smoothly.

How can the ERP system be advanced without hampering business processes?
When the day the system goes live, you should be prepared for potential issues, since there may be a lot of moving parts and possibly some befuddled employees, despite your best efforts to prepare them for the change. The project team should be readily available to answer questions, help users understand the system and attempt to fix any issues. Your implementation partner should be able to help with troubleshooting if necessary. It may take time for users to adapt to the system, tweaking’s required and achieve the anticipated productivity gains.

How do you see the ERP domain evolving in the near future?
In the current disruptive market environment, with technology evolving at breakneck speed, the business processes are increasing and so is its complexity. The integration of ERP systems with the business can help become more agile and easily adapt to the constant changes. It is equally important to keep updating the system to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest trends.

The best part about ERP systems is, its effective planning and strategy which enhances the efficiency of the business and ensure it sails smoothly. Some of the key technology trends to keep an eye on are journey to cloud deployment, integration with Internet of Things (IoT) with surge in data and analytics, Mobile ERP and its security, rage for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Industry-Specific ERP adoption and changes, and staying flexible during the pandemic situations while avoiding over personalization by customizing it too much.

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