We all have those things we know we need to do but don’t want to do. Ever wash laundry and leave the clothes in a basket for a week without putting them up? Me too.
When I talk to companies running multiple ERP systems, they know they should integrate their ERP systems, but they aren’t sure if they have the time, budget, resources, or desire to undertake such a big project.
The problem of the “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality
What happens when you don’t put up your laundry? You get 15 minutes of extra time on laundry day. But, a week later do you find yourself ironing your clothes daily because they’ve become a wrinkled mess?
Now compare that to your organization’s data environment. Yes, you can extract data from multiple ERP systems, but how good is that data? Do you have disparate systems creating multiple versions of the truth about your customers, products, and finances? And, is it ultimately costing you more time down the road to use it?
This is not at all uncommon. Typically, when ERP systems are installed, they are not integrated – meaning they don’t talk to one another. You end up with a game of ERP telephone (remember that game where you whisper down a chain of people and “I have a dog” turns into “My cousin likes frogs” by the end of the chain).
Though these systems are meant to simplify and automate many processes across functions such as accounting, finance, sales, and HR, they become an obstacle to your organization’s success when they deliver data that is inconsistent, duplicate, or incorrect.
12 ERP Systems – One Giant Headache
This is exactly the situation we encountered with a client in medical device manufacturing. The company had been a division of several large companies and was finally spun off as its own standalone company – a standalone company with three business units and 12 ERP systems.
A lot of data about customers, materials, and vendors lived in those disparate ERP systems, requiring days to manually compile Excel reports. For example, it took 18 resources globally to manually create a “daily sales report” three times a week. So much for simplifying business processes, right?
While that was a huge drain on resources and frustrating for all involved, there were bigger issues too. Multiple ERP systems also meant that the company was unable to manage and track customer lines of credit across its multiple products and divisions. As a result, the company could easily overextend credit to a single customer without realizing it.
The CIO’s number one priority was to integrate all of these sources of data to deliver consistent, accurate information across the company.
Getting Back on Good Terms with Your ERP Data
The company’s IT leadership worked closely with Wavicle Data Solutions to develop a scalable strategy to build a data foundation that would work now and into the future.
Ranjith Ramachandran, Director of Solution Engineering at Wavicle, shared, “This is a global company with 27,000 unique products and a desire for near real-time consolidated data. The solution had to store and process massive volumes of data; move the data fast; translate multiple country languages, and standardize master data from all systems.”
Based on these needs, the teams partnered to build a data warehouse using Amazon Redshift on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform and utilized Talend for data integration and orchestration.
The result: all of that ERP data was cleaned and available in one single data warehouse in a few months. This provided the business with a single, trusted source of data that initially measured a small set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and quickly grew to support the business more broadly.
Within four months of the platform’s deployment, the client was able to expand from an initial set of less than 10 KPIs to more than 40 different dashboards that help run the business.
E-R-P to R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Many question whether integrating EPR system data into a platform generates a return on revenue that is worth the time and resources invested.
For this client, this was step one on a path to building a strong, future-proof data foundation to drive efficiency, decrease risk, lower costs, and improve decision making in many areas of the company, including manufacturing, inventory, revenue reporting, order management, operations, supply, assembly line and more.
Their ERP migration was also the first step towards:
- Delivering a data platform that provides “a trusted primary source of truth” for the company’s executives
- Executing Master Data Management and getting a single, clear view of their customers, materials, and vendors that could be used by Sales, Finance, and Operations
- Meeting a spike in demand for products as Covid hit, requiring the company to ramp up production to 600 units a day vs. the 30 units per week they were building previously
- Providing front-line doctors with clean, real-time data they can use to make life-saving decisions anywhere
So, yes, for this company, the migration was 100% worth it.
There are many reasons you may want to consider integrating ERP systems or building a robust data platform soon, including improved efficiency, lower risk and cost, and better decision-making.