The decision to change the ERP applications environment is never an easy one and in so doing, you are ultimately faced with the option of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ Fully Integrated System (FIS) or a combination of Best of Breed (BOB) applications performing defined functions or parts. There are advantages and disadvantages for both approaches. So how do you decide what is right for you and your organisation?
Fully Integrated System (FIS)
This refers to a single system, technology and database – meeting “all” of the organisations requirements and usually sourced from a single supplier. The advantages are that you have a single point of responsibility and one technology. Disadvantages are that the detail functionality is often limited, customisation is more difficult and when you ultimately have to upgrade, it is a bigger exercise. These applications require that the Software Providers Research & Development spend be spread across all the integrated modules, and therefore individual module functionality suffers.
Best of Breed (BOB)
The best individual systems purchased from the leading suppliers and then integrated appropriately for your organisation. The main advantage is that you get the best, feature rich and flexible solution with the down-side that you are dealing with multiple suppliers, and that integration often requires definition and construction. The technology risk is largely reduced as a decision can be made as to a single database and environment. Upgrades are also only applicable to individual parts, which are easier to manage.
The right approach for your organisation requires a choice as to the level of delivered functionality and requires a common sense approach. For example, it makes no sense to “separate” core modules such as Invoicing, Inventory, Debtors and General Ledger because the level of integration required is pervasive, and there are so many good FIS solutions on the market. This does not hold true for peripheral modules such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Payroll, Budgeting, Warehousing or Business Process Management (BPM), where the lack of functionality in the FIS application may prove to be more of a liability than an asset.
Indeed, a “free” FIS module such as BPM may prove so costly to implement, and the result so restrictive, that it will be an altogether better idea to pay the software cost and rapidly implement a flexible Best of Breed solution. Additionally, the life of an ageing ERP system can often be prolonged with the addition of a BPM or CRM system and the organisation can ultimately be more methodical about the implementation of a new ERP system.
Astraia Technology is in a position to offer advice and assist you in determining the right approach for your organisation.