The Management is informed with accurate and consistent data from a tightly integrated and controlled system who, otherwise, were dependent on the manual, approximate data provided by the functional, unit or branch heads. The benefits of a software enabled business thus are enormous. (Dunshee, ERPN, 2001, p. 2-3 and Upadhyaya, 2005, p.4-11)
However, if a Software System is not carefully selected or implemented in the organization, it actually causes more damages than bringing benefits to the table (Litzenberg, 2007, p. 4). This paper presents a structured methodology of Software Application selection and implementation in an organization.
Businesses in today's competitive world are getting more and more complex and expanding across regions and countries. The large span of a business and its complexities makes it almost impossible to be managed manually. Almost every business today is enabled by IT Systems and Services. However, not all IT solutions offer an end to end integrated and relational information management as well as paperless automation. Example, many businesses run with distributed standalone systems operating in departments that are full-fledged applications in silos but the data consolidation & MIS reporting happens after the data is extracted from all systems, copied on excel sheets, graphs/charts are created and then stored on network drives or sent via E-mail. One such sample is very prominently reported in UI-Integrate Project Update presentation by University of Illinois (p.4).
The benefits are more tangible to an organization when an end-to-end integrated Application System is implemented for an organization having multiple independent components exchanging data with each other over an integrated information system. Examples of such systems are Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP), Enterprise Wide Systems (EWS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), etc. An organization should look for such a solution when the uncertainties in actual revenues, customer satisfaction, operating costs, work duplication, operations performance, ability to grow, forecasting & hypothecations, etc increases beyond a comfort level of the Management and the Stake Holders (The ERP Selection process survival guide, Relevant Business Systems Inc, 2005, p.3)
. The objective of this paper is to present a systematic methodology of selection of Software Applications for an organization and present the factors that make it successful.
Role of a Software Application Consultant:
The role of a Software Application Consultant is very crucial in the success of a Software Application in an organization. This is the first step towards the journey to implement a Software Application but many organizations make a mistake at this step itself. Most of the organizations get carried away by the sales pitching of ERP companies and end up hiring a Software Reseller or