Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management software that a company can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from business activities such as, product planning, manufacturing, marketing and sales, inventory management and shipping and payments. Over the years, ERP systems have become increasingly popular for businesses as a way to become a more efficient and productive company. While the benefits of an ERP system are highly warranted, without the proper IT infrastructure in place to successfully manage and operate the system, your business can find itself with a costly solution that is non-functional.
It’s safe to say that when a business decides to implement an ERP solution, they view it as a critical piece of software that will have a positive impact on their business. With that being said, a software product is only as good as the infrastructure that supports it. For example, if a power outage or natural disaster occurs and critical pieces of the business depend on the solution, your business can find itself crippled and unable to run daily operations. Functions such as production, shipping, receiving, billing and customer support are critical to the success of a business.
In the event of network downtime, a company that has transitioned from traditional ways of operating to an ERP solution may not be able to retrieve needed information because all of their data lies in the software. In a recent report from the Ponemon Institute, it was found that during an unplanned downtime event, the average cost per minute is $7,900. The reliability of your network and IT infrastructure becomes the catalyst to remaining on schedule and productive as a company. Ensuring that your IT infrastructure is reliable and uptime is at least 99.999% will dramatically decrease your chances of experiencing downtime. Along with the uptime reliability, back up generation, dual power feeds or a secondary site will provide peace of mind for your business knowing that you will be functioning at peak levels.
Performance and Availability
The power of an ERP solution truly lies within its capabilities of data processing and making information easier to retain, interpret and manage. However, along with the software’s highly sought after capabilities, a highly resource intensive application travels along with it. Considerable amounts of CPU computer and memory capacity is needed within your servers, along with high throughput disk drives in order to support the droves of data being processed daily. If your company has older equipment or needs to make an upgrade to existing hardware in order to support the application, your original investment in the solution is now taking on additional costs.
Before considering additional Capital Expenses to support your ERP initiatives you should also assess whether your current physical IT environment can deliver the 99.999% uptime to meet business demands. There are other options available that can help to keep capital costs down when upgrading hardware equipment while also greatly increasing your solution’s availability. Instead of purchasing new equipment outright, finding a data center provider that offers dedicated hosting can keep rising costs down. Quality data center providers will have multiple options of brand name servers that can be spun up in a matter of minutes. Increased loads can be combated by easily adding additional resources, all while budgeting as an Operational Expense so that capital funds aren’t tied up.
After careful evaluation of options, your company determined that an ERP solution is a critical piece to becoming a more productive company, however, is your internal IT staff capable of handling the additional responsibilities and maintenance on top of their current workload? Taking on any new IT project can be a daunting process, especially when the project is something that hasn’t been experienced by employees before. Installing the ERP software and managing maintenance issues in house can be a learning experience. Additional fees for maintenance can lurk up on companies who have implemented a new ERP solution. Take into consideration your current IT staff; is your IT department large enough to handle the additional responsibilities, will you need to hire new employees or is outsourcing a managed services provider the better option? Covering all aspects of introducing an ERP solution will prove to be a wise investment to ensure your organizations can handle management responsibilities in order to decrease additional costs of support.
Still interested in an ERP solution? Well, you should be. While the added responsibilities and concerns with downtime can be overwhelming, the intention of this post is not to scare you away from a critical business factor like an ERP solution. ERP solutions are proving to be the catalysts of a productive and efficient business. This post is merely discussing a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to implementing the new software. There are many different factors that have a critical part in the alignment of a smooth transition to an ERP solution. If you find yourself coming up against the obstacles that are mentioned above, examining your company and its capabilities is significant to determine your needs. Finding outside assistance from a data center provider can help to eliminate frustrations. Quality data center providers will ensure that your IT infrastructure is capable of implementing and supporting an ERP solution. The last thing any company wants to experience is a costly solution that doesn’t perform to its expected levels.