23 January 2006

CU - ITSC Visit

The ITSC visit was to learn about how the Chinese University employed ERP.

Although the presentation lasted for about half day, I did not really understand how the Chinese University benefits from the use of ERP. I am not interested in the implementation process, because execution is only practice, and practice usually makes perfect under evaluation. More importantly, execution cannot be planned ahead, because it is easily affected by the environment. I am more interested in seeing the before-and-after impact, which could help explain the importance of ERP in today’s business world, if ERP is really that important.

ERP is definitely nothing new, but what is it all about. Is it about saving costs? Is it about improving operational efficiency? Is it about maximizing return on investment?

Everything should have a reason to exist, so what is the reason for ERP?

ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resources Planning. If we play around with the words, it is simply to plan enterprise resources.

By its name, it is simply a planning process. Planning itself does not guarantee optimization.

And how about enterprise resources? How to define enterprise resources? Basically, they include everything, from production to sales and marketing, from human resources to finance. Can an enterprise really rely the resources planning on a system? Can a rigid system really help the enterprise to achieve optimal allocation of resources, if optimal should be the ultimate result? And can the system help identify the optimal allocation?

I am always curious. In the old days where technology did not even exist, how did those companies survive?

The influence of technology cannot be undermined, but it cannot be overstated.

After all, what is the value of technology? Making everything faster? More efficient? More effective?

Who really cares?

Customers?

Really? Do nowadays’ customers care about which systems an enterprise adopts? They are more concerned about what value an enterprise can deliver to them.

If technology does not help an enterprise deliver convenience and value, then who cares if it really means anything.

And for ERP, if what it does is only about planning, and that planning process does not even guarantee value to the market, then why should an enterprise make huge investment in systems that promise mostly on concepts but seldom in practice?

And even if ERP can really help an enterprise save costs, would that cost saving results benefit customers?

I doubt it, as most enterprises only care about profits, so will those profit-making enterprises share the benefits earned from ERP with the market? Not a chance.

If the implementation of ERP does not benefit the market in the end, then why still ERP?

And why CRM?

And also SCM?

And all those other TLAs…?

ERP?

When will the TLA be put to an end?

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