Implementation Of Enterprise Systems Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Implementation of Enterprise Systems.

Answer:

Introduction

Chris and Richard's Legal support (CRLS) is family-owned law firm located in Sydney, Australia. CRLS provides free legal support and advice for the local community and has extended its services to cities including Melbourne and Brisbane. To be able to satisfy their clients, CRLS has a total of about 50 volunteers in their 3 branches including 30 attorneys and about 18 administrators.

Currently, CRLS uses a manual system to record office transactions. The manual system has resulted to major problems challenges with book keeping and updating. Files get lost or can easily be misplaced. It also leads to a bulky storage of manual files. The manual system is time consuming since it takes long to retrieve customer details. There’s a los a lot of mismatched data since the files are not uniformly updated. There’s also a lot of data redundancy and inconsistencies.

Therefore, the firm would like to adopt computer technology and implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The computerized system will streamline all the firm’s records and help generate reports in time (Velcu, 2007).

CRLS current business processes

A business process is a set of linked activities that find their end in the provision of a product or service to customers (AppianGuide, 2017). Business processes are set up together to help accomplish organizational goals. The procedures should involve clearly put and defined inputs and data outputs. Data inputs include all the factors that contribute to adding value to business products or services either directly or indirectly. Such factors can be characterized into administration processes, operating processes and all procedures that support business processes.

  • The production process is dependent on administrators and attorneys who have offered their services to CRLS clients. It is possible for lawyers to confuse the cases they are handling in case of mix-ups and management cannot easily tell which lawyer offered which service.
  • Marketing: CRLS does not have a clear marketing strategy and procedures as the clients they serve have been solely gotten by referrals from old clients.
  • Finance: CRLS depends on donations from local donors.
  • Systems and technology: CRLS uses a manual information system to record cases and communicate which has a lot of challenges such data and information inconsistency.
  • Communication: The firm solely depends on administrators for any communication between clients and attorneys offering law advice and support. There’s therefore no clear communication procedures.

Proposed changes to the business processes

For efficiency and effectiveness, CRLS need to computerize its business processes. This will ensure organized and systematic ways of executing its production, marketing, personnel management, financial management, communication, and managing functions. The proposed business process include the systems and technology procedure. This is because changing this one procedure will touch on and improve all the other processes including administration, production, finance, marketing and advertising. Using technology will transform all these procedures. Technology provides great impacts when it comes to a business modernizing its processes for improved business productivity and especially in implementing law firms. Functional practice areas have been reported to have changed radically as a result of adopting technology in law systems including in digital documents production using word processing software, bookkeeping, timekeeping, deadline tracking, financial management and planning; clients filing details, information, conflict checking personal practice organization and case super vision; virtual research and obtaining access to government facilities including amalgamations and title hunts; lawsuit support and expressive evidences in court have been transformed by technology. It is no doubt then that technology will transform every business process in CRLS for increased business productivity.

The ERP system stands for enterprise resource planning. It is essentially an information system that integrates diverse subsystems into one system (Almgren & Christian, 2014). CRLS has three major subsystems including human resources; finance and production (Hasselbring, 2000). An ERP will combine these systems into one so that they can share uniformly updated data. ERP systems are meant to increase effectiveness and efficiency for organizations (McGaughey & Gunasekaran, 2007). Traditional ERP systems usually referred back-office systems are exclusively used by company employees and are not meant for the general public or customers. They involve the core business processes of an organization organizations minus the customers (Al- Mashari & Al-Ghofaili, 2014). Their main goal is improving efficiency (McGaughey & Gunasekaran, 2007). Traditional ERP systems do not fully maximize business processes. However, the modern ERP system has already deal with the challenges of traditional ERPs such as back office systems and now includes the front office processes including customers (Jacobs, 2007). They include customers to better accommodate customer’s issues with regard to organization operations and therefore improve business productivity (Jacobs, 2007). It is therefore, important for businesses such as CRLS to implement modern ERP systems that fully cover all business stakeholders including current and potential clients. An example of a modern ERP system is a cloud based ERP system.

Adopting a cloud based ERP system for CRLS

A cloud - based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is software that is accessed via the Internet. Usually, cloud based ERP systems are implemented through cloud computing technology- a technology that takes place over the internet and provides computing services including software and infrastructure (Elmonem, et al., 2016). An ERP system is considered as a cloud-based when it influenced by the characteristic of cloud computing. The cloud based ERP system should be accessed via the user browser over the internet without installing or configuring the system at the user side (Elmonem, et al., 2016). A cloud based system will transform all the business processes at CRLS. The right cloud ERP software for CRLS will help the firm streamline all its business functions including administration, finance, marketing, communication and Information Technology (IT) (Yoon, 2009). CLRS will then be able to reduce firm expenses, and will be able to improve business operations.

According to (Elmonem, et al., 2016), a cloud based ERP system has the capability to offer CRLS with the following benefits:

  • Reduced upfront costs: enterprises are not required to pay for ERP development, they only pay for accessing the ERP via the internet.
  • Low operating costs: Cloud providers are responsible for providing and operating ERP cloud services
  • Quick ERP execution: ERP providers offer a wide range of ERP solutions, which can then be rapidly installed after a business makes a selection
  • Scalability and updates: Cloud services can be extended whenever a business requires extra modules to match its business requirements
  • Concentration on business core capabilities: Cloud ERP systems allow business to focus on their central functions and therefore manage their business more professionally
  • Implementing cutting-edge technology: accessing the cloud for work procedures allows businesses to use specialized technology and advanced computing resources
  • ERP updates and upgrades: since they are hosted on the Internet cloud based ERP updates and upgrades are quicker unlike with traditional ERP applications
  • Value-added convenience, flexibility, and usability for business employees: cloud based ERP allow company staff to work from anywhere as long as they can access the system through the Internet
  • Stress-free integration with cloud services: There are lots of software to help with cloud ERP integration procedures for business operations
  • Improved system availability and backup plans: ERP system providers provide policies and procedures to allow data recovery and backup, information restore, and any other functions concerned disaster recovery policies
  • Transparency of costs : businesses are able to see their subscription models before committing to ERP implementation
  • Improved security procedures: ERP providers install security modules for such systems to ensure business information is not accessed by unauthorized persons
  • Free software trials: cloud ERP providers allow potential clients try the workings of the ERP systems before procuring them

Challenges of adopting a cloud based ERP for CRLS

Adopting a cloud based ERP can also be challenging although the advantages overweigh the disadvantages. According to (Elmonem, et al., 2016), if CRLS adopts a cloud based ERP system, it may face some of the following challenges:

  • Subscription costs: To be able to use a cloud based ERP, an organization is required to pay monthly subscription expenses as long as it uses ERP services.
  • Security threats: Due to the fact that a cloud based ERP is accessed via the Internet, it could suffer malicious activities that occur online
  • Performance risks: Network failures and other connection issues can affect ERP access since it can only be accessed via a network through the Internet affecting performance.
  • ERP Customization challenges: ERP systems require to be customized with business procedures and in the process of doing so can suffer integration problems unlike with traditional ERP systems.
  • Additional contract costs: Cloud ERP systems implementation may come with extra costs for organizations including maintenance, transition and monitoring costs
  • Reduced technical know-how: IT employees can lose their technical expertise after organizations they work in implements cloud ERP systems
  • Startup support: organizations often require additional support To from cloud ERP providers to simplify its operation for a period of time
  • Organizational challenges: Implementing cloud ERP systems may disrupt an organization’s entire operations including poor communication procedures

Risks associated with BPR and ERP customization

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) refers to the study and planning of business processes and workflows in an organization (Rouse, 2014). Implementing ERP systems usually require the analysis and redesign of business process (Fryling, 2014). Customizing an ERP to business process is challenging as some processes may fail to match with the ERP in question (Hong, et al., 2016). Some major risks involved with customization of BPR and ERP according to (Jeff, 2015) include the following:

  • Cost increases - modifying ERP to match business processes may require skills from ERP experts which will be costly for the business.
  • Difficult maintenance and upgrades – customizing CRLS business processes with an ERP can be difficult to implement and maintain.
  • System insecurities and vulnerabilities – adopting software use via the Internet creates a lot of system vulnerabilities from hackers who intrude systems to manipulate and steal information.

Feasibility analysis

A feasibility analysis is an investigation of how effectively a project plan in an organization can be accomplished with regards to factors that can affect it such as financial, technological, scheduling and legal issues (Investopedia, 2017). A feasibility is commonly done to test the practicability of a project or idea (Mukund, 2017). An ERP feasibility study is therefore an investigation of a business approach in terms of a chosen ERP system (Datix, 2015). ERP system implementation feasibility study usually occurs before the commencement and installation of ERP system project, and majorly checks the fitting and integration of an ERP system with business processes (Salvaggio, 2005). It allows the selected project committee to perform a SWOT analysis inside the organization to determine whether or not to continue with the proposed project implementation. The committee then decides determine if the project is worthy of investment, or the business needs to consider an alternative project solution (Samehara, 2017). In the case of CRLS, it is important for the firm to perform a feasibility analysis. Its outcome will be that CRLS will be able to know whether implementing an ERP is necessary for the organization bearing in mind its services and objectives. The analysis will also tell the organization where they can pull of an ERP implementation in terms of available resources and human resource availability (Nah, et al., 2001)and whether the ERP system is a viable project or they should consider another alternative.
Conclusion

There are many modern technological developments including cloud computing and ERP systems. Such technologies have the capability to transform the way we work and do business. Currently, many business organizations internationally have already adopted ERP implementation to improve their business operations. They have adopted change management procedures that come about to improve business operations to help them improve efficiency (Aladwani, 2001) Organizations that have embraced technological advances have registered enormous benefits and increased business productivity.

Recommendation

The researcher recommends CRLS to implement a cloud based ERP because of the benefits discussed in this report. Implementing a cloud based ERP means that the law firm will be adopting technology to perform its business operations. If a successful ERP implementation is done, CRLS will be able to integrate all their business processes. All data and information across its operations from management, administration, marketing, finance and production will be uniformly updated. In turn, the business will be able to generate timely reports whenever they need to. In addition, a cloud based ERP will help the company to grow in terms of attorneys offering legal advice and support to clients. Implementing a cloud based ERP will also increase CRLS organization future sustainability.

References

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