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Best Practices in Enterprise Resource Management

Technology has completely changed the way we make business decisions. It used to be that the only person who dealt with technology in an enterprise was the IT department. That’s not the case anymore. Business goals and technology have become so intertwined that it’s impossible to be successful if you don’t understand the basics of both.

One major part of that is understanding how your enterprise manages its resources. For a large company, with a lot of sites to manage, customer relationships to consider and digital assets to handle, the process of deploying, maintaining and sharing these resources wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for resource management systems. Some terms you might hear as part of resource management include;

  • Content management systems (CMS)
  • Digital asset management (DAM)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Cross functional information systems

Despite how different the goals of these systems might be, their best practices are pretty static.

Best practice #1: Selecting a system that is right for you.

Before you even start looking at the hundreds of choices available, you need to make one big decision. Will you be using a single platform, or will you be teaming several Best of Breed (B.O.B) options? Before you can decide, you need to understand what they are and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

B.O.B is best explained by looking at the word ‘breed.” In biology, a breed is a small segment of a larger species. In technology, it’s relatively the same. With B.O.B options, you might have different systems for managing customer relations, web content and more. The benefits that a B.O.B will offer include;

  • The option to improve processes for individual departments
  • More flexibility in choice of vendors and systems
  • The ability to segment maintenance to reduce downtime

There are some disadvantages as well. Some to consider include;

  • Difficulty in managing multiple systems, databases and vendors
  • End user training is more extensive
  • It will generally cost more to implement and maintain multiple systems

On the other hand, a single platform is just what it sounds like. All segments are integrated into one main system. Website content will be managed by the same platform that manages customer relationships, digital assets and so on. With a single platform, some advantages might be;

  • Consistent processes and a consistent data model through the entire enterprise
  • Costs are easily estimated for the life of the system
  • Easier training for end users
  • Dealing with one vendor for any issues that may arise

The disadvantages to a single platform include;

  • The vendor’s technology might become obsolete, resulting in outdated and ineffective databases and processes for the entire enterprise
  • Less flexibility in customizing a system to meet your enterprise’s specific needs

The importance of selecting a system isn’t about picking the system that everyone else is using. It’s involves knowing enough about your business to understand your own specific needs. That might include using a single platform, or it might include selecting several B.O.B options.

Best Practice #2: Properly implementing systems

Implementing new systems includes alignment between the business and the IT sides of an enterprise. You need to make sure all potential users have the training they need and know what is expected of them. Your goal is to create a system that people use consistently and easily. Just a list of requirements is not the right way to go. Instead, you need to plan for changes and ensure you’re scaling back as necessary. If you use too much technology, then the adoption rate will drop and all your efforts will have been wasted.

Best Practice #3: Gaining executive support

People at the executive level in your company will know not just where the company is now, but where it is heading. If your company is thinking about putting a heavier focus on blogging in the future, you need a CMS that supports that. If the focus is going to move to individualizing the customer experience, then you might need to look at more extensive CRM systems instead. Only the people handling the big picture decisions at your enterprise will be able to give you the information you need.

Best Practice #4: Setting the right KPIs or success events.

How do you know if you’re successful? Are the signs of success internal and based on user adoption? Or is it something external like customer conversion? KPIs should be based on the early goals laid out in the project. Most important, you need to remember that there is no one KPI that will determine success or failure. It’s important to track multiple KPIs, usually around 8 to 10, in order to get a well-rounded view of your success.

There are a lot of moving parts to consider in our new digital world, especially for enterprises. While the way we all do business has changed a lot over the past few decades, how we make that business a success remains the same. Consistency across departments, clear goals, guidelines and involvement with executive level management are essential. When managed properly, all of these can take a lot of the complexity out of a complex system.

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