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There are a great many challenges and changes associated with rolling out a new ERP system. This often comes as a surprise to many companies, especially the employees responsible for managing the ERP project internally. It is understandable, however, given that ERP system implementation is generally not part of the core business of a company.
In addition to adhering to the internal budget, these employees are also responsible for ensuring the success of the project overall, and making sure all the necessary preparatory work has been completed. Business units need access to the right functions at the right time, different objectives have to be aligned and expectations have to be channelled appropriately. What’s more, suitable methods and procedures must be employed to involve key users and encourage them to take a responsible, proactive role in the shaping of business processes and systematic support. The success of ERP projects, therefore, largely hinges on the way the project is managed internally.
Having the correct organisational structures in place and managing
is important to guarantee the long-term success of a project.
To ensure that their ERP project reaches a successful conclusion, project managers often require the support of an experienced professional who can respond to and assist with the various challenges that crop up in a timely and effective manner.
The finance department is subject to many fluctuating requirements and has to deliver highly accurate information both internally and externally under considerable time pressure and according to fixed deadlines.
You have to adhere to legal reporting requirements and simultaneously fulfil different objectives on an economic, regional and international reporting level. In addition, company’s today undergo a life cycle that includes:
all of which requires highly flexible financial management that continually has to rise to new challenges and redefine itself.
In view of this, there is often no time to fully come to grips with process optimisation,
the documentation of process descriptions or the specific demands of new situations.
Comparable financial processes will often be carried out differently at different company sites and/or different subsidiaries and affiliated companies. It is also likely that the different sites, subsidiaries and affiliated companies will have resources with varying specialisms and qualifications.
Many companies have evolved over time — processes and procedures are supported by internally programmed software and interrupted manually.
In day-to-day business, the customer and the service to be provided are key. Strategic and operational potential for improvement and development are not a priority. In the medium and long term, this creates a gap.
The market is constantly placing new demands on products and services. The necessary logistics processes cannot be mapped sufficiently. On-hand stock negatively affects the balance sheet and long-term storage takes up valuable warehouse space. Who is responsible for setting the course of short to medium-term organisational and information technology measures?
In order to avoid risks or to at least be able to counteract them, it is vital that they are recognised, classified and evaluated. Tiered hierarchies, complex processes and IT systems, and international integration make risk management consulting services necessary to help secure the future of a company.
Depending on the legal form, management is also legally obliged to operate a fully functional risk management and information system.
Credit institutions and insurance companies also assess their customers on the basis of non-payment and liability risks. This is reflected in the interest rates offered for loans and insurance premiums. In many cases, customers do not discover how these are calculated. However, there are in fact often objective reasons that can be overcome. In order to be able to manage potential risks, you have to be aware of them so that you can then manage the company over the long term with low interest rates and insurance premiums.
IT infrastructures and processes are becoming ever more complex. It is therefore increasingly difficult for businesses to maintain control over their:
With this in mind, it is useful for businesses to call in external assessors at various intervals to carry out reviews and audits and identify any irregularities or risks.
The implementation of an internal control system (ICS) for processes, for instance, allows you to define and conduct internal auditing procedures (at set intervals). It is used by the company for the prevention of damages and risks that could be caused by a company’s own employees or by third parties.
Internal controls in respect of financial reporting have become increasingly important following implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and are absolutely essential if a group company is to be traded on the American stock exchange.
Depending on the form and size of the business, internal control systems are even required by law in some cases; for example, external auditors audit the ICS as part of a risk-based audit approach employed by many companies. Therefore, effective ICS documentation helps to keep audit costs down, contributing to cost savings within the company as a whole.
An external consultant will report the results of ICS audits objectively and is not susceptible to the unavoidable “organisational blindness” when analysing risks.
The initial professional setup as well as the expansion, maintenance and updating of the control definitions and documentation require the resources and energy of the finance department. This applies equally for compliance with the four-eyes principle and with the organisation and performing of regular ICS checks.
Information technology management (for short: IT management) deals with the control of information and data processing, as well as the hardware and software required for this. The ERP system represents one component of a comprehensive IT architecture.
Strategic IT management is extremely valuable for company management because it directly affects the success of the business by increasing the value contributed by IT to the success of the company, while simultaneously minimising the risks and costs associated with IT.
Business consulting supports companies with their diverse questions about IT management. The entire IT landscape is often illuminated by introducing an ERP and by asking questions about the strategic direction and embedding of individual components. Introducing new ERP software must be functionally useful and economically feasible for all areas of the company. National and international subsidiaries should be considered from the outset as well as how possible plans for expansion in other countries will be taken into account. In addition, the future architecture must fulfil various individual framework conditions. It must satisfy existing infrastructure restrictions as well as ensure sustainability and investment security. Strategic questions must also be answered at an early stage, such as whether functions will be integrated into the ERP solution or mapped by external systems.
are high on the agenda.
Investing in a new ERP system must often be justified internally. A coherent and future-oriented IT and ERP architecture that can be verifiably integrated into any pre-existing IT strategy guarantees the above points.