It is a commonly held myth that to achieve complete integration of systems one needs to take on one of the leading Enterprise solutions – one solution to run all key aspects of the business.
This is absolutely untrue because no one package of solutions has strengths in every area that a business requires. Also where one finds solutions that claim to cover a wide range of requirements almost invariably when one scratches the surface one will find that they were developed by different providers with expertise in different areas, a positive aspect, but actually their fit together and the way that they work lacks consistency.
So if your business software solution works well in most key areas but just lacks a few important solutions for some key business aspects do not completely replace it but attempt to see if those extra requirements can be met by integration to other software, already in existence or that can easily be developed.
The VALE Support Services Team are used to configuring software so that it provides a best fit, as standard, but that is rarely enough except for very simple businesses.
The real trick is to understand the process requirements of the business, streamline them and make them manageable and adapt them so that software and processes are an even closer fit.
A further step might be to build add on modules and facilities to tune the fit so that it is optimised and then to publish in simple form each process so that changes of staff require minimal training in order to do the job properly.
They say that actions are louder than words – well, giving some examples of successful Projects delivered by the team at VALE Support Services might clarify what we mean by the above comments.
A Multi National Company needed to implement Oracle Financials around the World in order to provide consistent financial control of the business. However Oracle could not run some business critical functions satisfactorily such as telesales, service management and contractual billing which were being run very successfully by legacy systems.
Solution – Implement Oracle Ledgers and Stock Control and connect these to the legacy systems so that records are processed real time as the business requires and Oracle and the legacy systems are kept in line.
A fast growing British business had good financial and operational systems well established that worked well for the business but completely lacked effective systems for their substantial sales force. The sales force needed to be able to see information on the operational systems and the sales management needed information about sales activity.
Solution – Implement a leading sales solution and connect it to the operational systems and implement a two way feed of data that was both secure and discrete.
An International Company had implemented SAP to run its main central functions but could not implement a joined up sales order taking system for its dealers around the World.
Solution – Produce a Windows re-order and order sub-system for dealers to use and set up a facility so that the current correct price lists can be uploaded automatically into the sub-system which in turn sends the orders back to SOP.
The team who now work for VALE Support Services have implemented many integration projects including to and from Oracle Financials of various types, SAP, SUN Financials, Sage and Access Dimensions and many sales systems including SALESFORCE.COM, SALESLink, Goldmine and Infor CRM, formerly Saleslogix.
Imports to and from applications like Excel, Microsoft Access, MAPPoint and Word are very common implementation tasks carried out by the team as well as integration to customer or supplier websites.
A UK Leasing Company sought a solution to their contractual and billing requirements when one of the leading solutions for the industry had been shown to have some significant failings.
Solution – The Enterprise Software that VALE supports could be employed for most of the requirement as it deals specifically with contracts and the items under contract. However it was necessary to add an integrated Fixed Asset module which was programmed to hold the details of each lease asset and to automatically post the depreciation to the General Ledger. Processes based around the administration of the lease documentation were designed so that the key data could be entered onto the system as early as possible so that the paperwork could then be filed without the need to revert to it except very exceptionally.
An International Company that had purchased two major complimentary businesses of significant size compared to itself needed to roll them into their existing business model.
Solution – The VALE team became part of a business progress team incorporating key people from the three businesses concerned. That team designed processes for all key areas of the business. The Enterprise software running the business that had acquired the two companies was then modified to match the processes precisely and this way the two acquired businesses were rolled in so that they worked in a standard way.