The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a software solution that incorporates the information within the organization on to a single system which is shared by a company. The ERP has its roots in the manufacturing and production industries and were used as planning systems. It was in the 1990s when the ERP transformed to other functions like human resources, accounts, and production planning (Umble, Haft & Umble, 2003). The major objective of the implementation of an ERP is to increase the efficiency of the organization by improving the processes and planning required performing business operations. The ERP provides a standard for the operating procedures in the organization. The other function of the ERP is to provide streamlining of the information between various departments of the organization. These features of the ERP system enable the organization to establish good management activities, development of the new information and reduce the cost required to maintain the information. There are numerous challenges in the implementation of the ERP systems in the organizations which are based on their profit oriented environments (Umble et.al, 2003). The non-profit organizations like schools, on the other hand, have seen a number of benefits from the implementation of the EPR systems in the recent years. There has been an international call for the schools to improve their efficiency and performance by the governments. The ever increasing expectations from the stakeholders, governments and competitive environments along with the decreasing support from the governments have enforced the educational institutes to look for the means of improving their strategies and performances (Umble et.al, 2003).
Plan for Modell Charter School
The implementation of the ERP is not a risk-free task and it has some costs. According to a research there are certain business owners who think that the implementation of the ERP system is hurtful for the business. It is required to study and analyze the factors before the implementation of the ERP and to pre-determine the successfulness of the transition. There are number of factors analyzed by the researchers and few of them are explained below:
2.1) Clear Understanding of Strategic Goals
Modell Charter School has been on the market for 100 years and its strategic goals are clear. The first step in the successful implementation of an ERP system is the clear understanding of the strategic goals of the organization. There should be a clear understanding of the School mission before the implementation of the plan. ERP implementation needs the understanding of the key people in the entire organization to have a clear and compelling vision of the operations of the organization. They should have a clear understanding of the ways to satisfy the customers, employees, suppliers and stakeholders (Umble et.al, 2003). The end customers in the case of the school are the students which require the state of art education, the employees are the general staff and the faculty of the school, suppliers are the services providers and stakeholders are the partners in the school. There should be a clear definition of the goals of the transition. The goals of the transition at the Modell Charter School are the providence of the advanced access to the students and faculty members along with the improvement of the troubled HR and payroll system.
2.2) Commitment by the Management
The report provided by the consultant shows that the stakeholders and the management of the school are fully committed towards the improvement of the infrastructure and services at the facility. The successful execution of the ERP system requires strong leadership skills and participation at the top level. There should be a management committee at the school which oversees all the planning and the implementation process. The transition should be handled by a highly efficient member of the management (Umble et.al, 2003).
2.3) Project Management
As I am the project manager appointed at the school there is a significant responsibility on the project management team. The implementation of the ERP system will require the project management to execute excellent management skills. The team has the responsibility to develop the entire project plan and carefully keep track of the developments made during the project (Umble et.al, 2003). The first step at the Modell Charter School is to assess the current technology and its compatibility with the ERP system to be installed at the facility. According to the plan made by the stakeholders and management at the School, there is no support for up gradation of the ERP system later. The plan is to find a cost-effective ERP package and analyze its compatibility with the infrastructure present at the Modell Charter School.
2.4 Organizational Change Management
According to the report of the consultant hired by the Modell Charter School, there is a lack of knowledge causing discrepancies in the decision making and accountability management at the facility. There are several instances when the organizations staff and resource are not knowledgeable or competent enough to cope up with the implementation of the ERP system. ERP implementation can cause a major change in the organizational culture. The employees can deny the changes, resist it and sometimes result in the chaos (Umble et.al, 2003). According to the consultants report, there is a bit of political hierarchy going on at the Modell Charter School so a proper change management is required. The School should be prepared to accept the information provided by the ERP system and it will improve the chaos created by the implementation.
2.5) Information Accuracy
One of the major reasons for the failure of the ERP systems is the input of the inaccurate data by the employees in the system. If someone enters the wrong data it can have a negative impact on the entire operation of the organization. It is necessary for the management to ensure the users enter the correct and accurate data in order to ensure the efficient working of the system (Umble et.al, 2003). At the Modell Charter School, the main problem in this regard is coming up in the shape of mistakes in the payrolls. On the successful implementation of the ERP system, the management should ensure the accuracy of the information in order to avoid any inconveniences in the future.
2.6) Education and Training
It is the most critical factor in the successful implementation of the ERP system. The execution of the system requires significant skills in order to solve the problems within the determinants of the installed system. If the staff is uneducated than they look for other means of executing the operations which cause problems. Most of the times, the employees are expected to operate the system just through education but it requires significant training and monitoring. Moreover, it is best to learn under the normal operating conditions. The designer and the person in charge of the ERP system should be able to have continuous contact and monitor all of the users in the system (Umble et.al, 2003). It is a post-implementation practice but in the case of Modell Charter School the administration not only has to educate the employees about the system but the students, faculty and stakeholders too.
Selection and Costs
The Modell Charter School must identify the needs of the system, desires and the functionalities of the system it is interested in. There are two common methods to execute the proper selection of the system. The first one includes the implementation of the overall operational requirements while focusing on the already installed information technology infrastructure. The other method is to identify the specific operations required by the organization. The Modell Charter School should adopt the second method as it requires specific operations to be performed by the ERP system (Harrison, 2004). The consulting costs of the system can reach the 50% of the total budget dedicated to the installation of the ERP system. Education and training generally take 10 to 20% of the total budget required for the operation. There are some costs associated with the testing and design procedures too (Harrison, 2004).
Harrison, J. (2004). Motivations for ERP System Implementation in Public Sector and Private Sector Organizations (Masters). University of Central Florida.
Umble, E., Haft, R., & Umble, M. (2003). Enterprise resource planning: Implementation procedures and critical success factors. European Journal Of Operational Research, 146(2), 241-257. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0377-2217(02)00547-7
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