Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Enterprise Resource Planning - I.T.'s gift to Business!

Mood: MIS
Domain: Information Technology

These days, I have this new obsession of sipping Green tea, after a friend pursuing medicals told me it's benefits! Though, not much of a Coffee-tea guy, Green tea has impressed. So, I started my usual healthy experiments with it. In kitchen, squeezing few drops of lemon and ginger into the Green-tea pot, I wondered, if I had all these together, because you may some day have ginger, sum day lemon, or some day not both around you in the kitchen. But, then when I found the Tetley tea bags with all these three at a convenience store & was glad! But, this is not where the story ends, this is where it actually starts.  I understood the need of a Enterprise solution that IT offers.

Change is inevitable, and so is I.T. It's everywhere around us, and is making our lives better and easy. We can do all blah blah blahs.  I believe that the importance of I.T. is actually a result of small challenges that we humans cannot actually solve. Like being at your friend's place when it's his Birthday. There were days when we forgot their Birthdays, but now we have so many ways to remember them. I can't buy a NY Times daily in India everyday, but now I can read them. I mean, we all know how I.T. is working for us. 

The importance of Information Technology in organization is thus also very crucial and this situation is rising with the competitions and business climate that keeps changing rapidly.

Whosoever is reading this already knows that an organization is a hierarchy structure of small entities, that is the specific departments, where each and every department is mutually dependent on each other. These all departments actually combine to make a work-flow for an organization.

So, there obviously is a need to have a single base-point where all these entities can meet and operated and monitored from. 

It can be just explained with the help of our human body. We have a central godfather for all the nervous system and that is our Brain. Here, all the nerves  of departments of our body, that have their own different functionality meets. Hands, Ears, Legs blah!

Now, just imagine if our body didn't have had this common ground called Brain.  How will our body actually work, with no organ actually knowing what the other departments are doing.  They would also not be connected and work mutually. How would we look? 

That's as similar to any business organization that works. A small organization can however, claim that they have an easy communication channel between various of it's departments. But what if you have to grow? What if you have to have branch offices apart from where you actually started? Who doesn't wants to grow, and develop, whether small or big or mid! This is where my green tea bag story comes live again. 

Isn't it good to have all the ginger, lemon green-tea in one small capsule bag? 

 In huge multi-stationed, sometimes multi-lingual industries, this demand, for a single platform for monitoring different branches and departments is high.

This is how I.T , gave birth to the idea of ERP, or the Enterprise Resource Planning. It explains the need of ERP, which is as important for an organization as it is for you or me to have extra nutrients and stuffs to keep yourself fit and going.  ERP is a gift from the ever-happening I.T. world to any business organization from any field. This gift from I.T. is even more precious than it's gift to you and your relations and social circles, where you can actually see, compliment, smile share pains, with you friends living far away from where you're. 

ERP gives organizations much flexibility and scalability. 

I shortly worked as a Product Analyst for an e-Discovery tool making U.S. software firm, where processing data for their clients from the litigation world was a very essential feature. I could notice almost everyday that the increasing market dynamics and high competitiveness presses you to demand faster result, more precise reactions leading to a higher demand of both quality and quantity.

We had legal cases running on our software, where reviewers and lawyers would review loads of data, may be millions and billions for a single case, to fight a legal battle. 

These data would be anything from a simple email to large PDF documents, or even an audio file, and we all know how a single piece of paper or data can be so very essential to turn a case in your favor. Now, a single particular document fail to show up to the reviewer as this obviously there would be millions and billions of documents in for a single case, and how in such a large chunk of data, one cannot rule out a single piece going wild.

A reviewer would obviously not love to see that particular file making him hang for long. So, the process of escalating the issue always had to be very fast and precise for us. 

It was just a small example, but these such very examples exists on large in every organization in any domain or field. So, there obviously needs to be something in the organization system that may possibly recognize, report and correct(if possible).  

Another reason which makes these ERPs more important for organizations is the number of takeovers and economic mergers that has been on a rise since the mid-1990s era, from when the local economies in different part of the earth started going global. (Thanks to the I.T. world again! )
This has led to the constant changes in the corporate structures. Well, we are still in the midst of many acquisition & merger news in India and globe, for example, there was a time few years back when Anil Agrawal led Vedanta group was looking ahead to acquire Cairns India, which may have made Anil Agrawal the Richest Indian entrepreneur, beating Mukesh Ambani's Reliance group. 

This tells us how the global economic arena is shrinking so rapidly. Honestly, I didn't ever know or could realize while crossing the HZL plant while going to the Udaipur airport, that this Vedanta Group may suddenly pop-out and make news. I probably didn't know Agrawal's first name then, or de-facto, a large number of Indian youths still don't know who he is in India

The global economic changes are rapid and are shrinking faster. One organization sitting in India may suddenly grasp a Japanese client, or a Brazilian one.  But then, it is obviously not possible for any organization to hire professionals knowing their job along with Japanese language or Tokyo's economy well. It's impractical.

 So, many many organizations. now need a system which is multi-lingual and which understands multi-currency capabilities.

And, last important factor that makes these ERPS a boon and an essential to boost their  growth and throttle success story is knowing the organization work-flow well. 
Understanding an organization from outside or over viewing it's complete work-flow is always better than seeing it as being a part from within.  That makes us understands the organization's smoothness of work-flow. 

Obviously, I or You cannot really learn or describe and feel how the Earth rotates when I'm myself a very very small part of it from within. Do you realize you and your physical body is actually rotating from the time you where born? Or which side you rotating? East to west or west to east? Do you? It's every single second happening to you. 

But, however, you and me can actually see how the planet rotates when we see it from outside. Then is when I and you can clearly define the Earth's rotation!
(Ahh!! imaginations sometimes help me so much to understand these complex business structures, Isn't it? :)) 

So, having a system where you can see the complete work-flow and functions of an organization. This will naturally help in assisting in building strategies to win this mad mad market race, which is getting big day by day. 

I received a message recently from a close friend on my cell phone where reminded me of Abraham Lincoln( a former US President and a well known personality) stating once ' Work SMART, not hard'. 

Obviously, Now, many won't really be comfortable when I put this along while defining organization, because they all are known to make you work hard out of your skin, but I better put it this way when it comes to the corporate organizations:
 'Work hard, BUT smart , such that Every BIT of your hard work is noticed and doesn't goes wasted,' because you obviously have put in your efforts and no one would love to see his/her energy flooding out to waste.

If we can think that for us individuals, just imagine how important it becomes for organizations as the competition is always there and they don't wanna waste a single work they did!


AMIT said...

Good Thought and Act.

Atul said...

arey dude,., didnt know you write that well...

Brilliant piece of work... keep on writing.....

Shashi Shekhar Vyas said...

@ Amit: Thank you for your valuable remark.

@ Atul: Gosh! But,Yeah, Thanks.. I'm glad you liked it.

Chanda said...

u got a special knack for writing...Impressive !!!

Anonymous said...

I never thought you could write as only seen you loitering around friends!!!