p>Managing the change inherent in any IT strategy is a lesson in the fine art of avoiding panic, getting good guidance, and understanding when conventional wisdom does — and does not — fit your business needs. The decision points along the way can lead to some surprising insights about your business. The advice and experiences reflected in this issue shed light on how organizations are overhauling their legacy systems and grappling — sometimes in unexpected ways — with questions such as:
Technical or functional? When companies feel the pressure to get their new systems up and running, they risk a hasty or narrow upgrade strategy that can cost them later. If your company is considering a “quick and dirty” implementation of SAP ERP, or an upgrade of any kind, read the advice on page 43. It goes well beyond simply understanding enhancement packages and service-oriented architecture (SOA), and it may lead you to rethink how you approach your project.
Data now or later? Few companies would look forward to retooling their data warehouse while upgrading their core business software. But what if that’s what it takes for your business processes to work? That was the internal discussion at Purolator. In the end, this courier company with understandably massive reporting needs put aside the advice of some of the experts and took on an ambitious dual implementation, resulting in a very successful upgrade. It’s nice when you can prove the conventional wisdom wrong. To read more, go to page 10.
Standard processes or customization? Is it time to retool your business processes around your new solution or to customize the software and risk longer-term maintenance issues? The trend is clearly toward more standardization, but for those scenarios that require customization, planning is key, as the University of Basel displayed in its identity management project (page 27). On the other hand, Endeca Technologies (page 50), chose to follow SAP standards very closely, changing even its highly sensitive financials processes, with quite a successful project.
We hope to hear more stories of how your IT department used — or bucked — advice of experts to tackle the big questions and ensure that your investment in technology truly can help drive the business now and into the future.