Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moving Forward

Seems to be quite a bit of buzz in the enterprise software user community these days about moving forward.  Budgets have loosened up, users want better experiences, in-house IT providers want to reduce maintenance and infrastructure investments, C-level officers want better and more timely information on strategic initiatives, and everybody wants to be agile (even though there are multiple visions of agile, we all want it).  So it seems the big question lately is "how do we move forward"?

Most of my posts lately sound like "blasts from the past" can probably add this post to that category.  I'd recommend four things you can begin with right now in preparing to move forward:

1.  Move To The Latest Applications Release

If you're not on the latest release of PeopleSoft, Campus Solutions, E-Business Suite, or whatever packaged products you're using, get there.  Doing so will assure that you have the best platform to move forward from, in addition to making most transitions substantially less complicated.

2.  Prepare A Business Roadmap For Moving Forward

Another way to state this is is develop a description, in well-defined behavioral terms, for where you want your enterprise to be.  Note that this is not a technical roadmap, but more of a business-oriented roadmap.  Some considerations for that business roadmap may include:

3.  Inventory Your Enterprise Assets

Understand what assets you have on-hand that may help or hinder your way forward.  Were it me, I'd want five categories of existing enterprise assets:
  • Business processes
  • Applications (custom and packaged)
  • Information (including both what we have and what we share with whom - they're different!)
  • Projects
  • Customizatons

4.  Reconsider your customizations

Customizations increase the cost of moving forward and extend the time required. That customizations list we built in step 3?  Why do we have those customizations?  Could we replace any of them with out-of-the-box functionality from shrink-wrapped applications?  What about an extension to a packaged application?  Do we still need the customization at all?  Should we rebuild the customization on a new technology platform?

So, there ya go.  Four things you can do today.  No consulting services or special tools required.  Just serious commitment on your part: get to the latest release of whatever you're using, describe your desired business end-state, catalog your enterprise assets and reconsider your customizations.  The discussion doesn't change, regardless of the tech platform you're currently using.

We'll talk soon about what comes next.  In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments...and get busy!

1 comment:

Aidan Duffy Oracle E-Business Hybrid said...

You could also add - make the most of the functionality of your current release.
Last week I spoke with an international unit of a US client who were frustrated by the "limited functionality" of Oracle.
They had no product training, no local Business analysts, and were not aware how to perform even basic features like recurring journals.
I think there is value to be gained in taking another look at what you already have, or can easily enable.