ERPS – ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SYSTEMS
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ERPS – ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SYSTEMS
ASSIGNMENT: THE BUSINESS & ERP REPORT
1. Assignment Specification
It is a report of 3000 words, excluding the ‘References’ & ‘List of Contents’
This assignment title is:
‘The Business & ERP Report’
To construct a formerly referenced report describing how a company’s IT needs change as it grows, from using simple spreadsheets (when at the start-up or SME stage of its development), to using an enterprise-class ERP system and associated modules, when a company is expanding in size rapidly. In summary, this assignment question asks each student to consider the selection of a suitable IT system by a company to support its operations at each stage of its growth, from a small start-up using spreadsheets alone, through Business Planning Tools and accounting packages, to a larger corporation needing an ERP system to manage its complexity.
The typed report, which MUST be prepared individually by each student, should demonstrate an awareness of the changing I.T. needs of companies as they grow, and illustrate the management of change, including how a system is selected and implemented; but see the ‘Project Brief.’ This work builds on the knowledge that you gained creating the Business Planning Tool in groups, which was a small system designed to advise an individual or small company on a business topic.
To guide you through the research for your report content, you should read the following brief, and then complete the research and reporting stages.
2. The Project Brief
You are the Financial Director of a very fast growing smoothie drinks company. It has recently outgrown spreadsheets as a means to plan and account for business operations and performance, and you need to evaluate alternatives that can centralise all the company’s data into one single system. You may continue to use Business Planning Tools (BPT) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) for analysis of small projects, but your business is now too large to use 0them for the running of day-to-day operations or real time performance analysis.
You have been looking at systems that have been chosen by companies in a similar situation in the past, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. You have seen a video of how a company similar to yours, ‘Nantucket Nectars,’ selected and implemented an Oracle ERP system. However, you are aware there are many ERP software vendors in the market, and so you may need to shortlist three, and decide which one is best of those. Note that you DON’T need to describe or illustrate the process of making smoothies.
You need to decide how you will organise the project, how you will select the chosen software, how it is installed (choosing both software and hardware). To be successful, you need to avoid the project being added to after the project specification is set (a phenomenon known as ‘scope creep’). You are aware that there are ERP implementation case studies of previous projects that succeeded or failed that you can learn from. (This case study will be attached to the order, as can briefings in subjects that are relevant to your analysis). You have been told that a successful installation does not necessarily lead to a successful overall implementation. You will need to consider company culture, project management, and bringing the workforce along with you.
You also need to consider how quickly your chosen system achieves a return on investment that your chosen ERP software should provide – and how extensible it is for the future – so it grows with you. This may restrict your choice of software and/or vendor. You have discovered that the market leader is SAP, but that other vendors have their good points.
You will need to decide if you will buy all computing infrastructure to run the system yourself, or whether you should choose software that runs in the cloud. You’ll need to decide on the merits of both methods. You have agreed with your fellow directors (the Sales & Distribution Director, the Procurement Director, the Production Director, and the HR Director), that whatever software is chosen, it must organise and centralise the data of all those functional areas to deliver efficient business processes that report results in real time.
The Sales & Distribution Director believes that there are software tools that allow the use of social media to gather intelligence about smoothie customers’ buying behaviour, in addition to automating some elements of the sales administration process. The Production Director has indicated that he favours a cloud-based system with a modern tile-based interface that can provide each role with quick access to the data, with easy access to production planning tools. You have told the Board that you favour a system that uses real time data to make forecasting of sales and other activities a simple matter from within board meetings – one where you can also visualise trends and undertake ‘what if?’ analysis on the fly. The Procurement Director has reminded you that some of the best software for buying materials and other resources may be an add-on to a standard package, while the HR Director has stated that there is one stand-out cloud-based package he would like to investigate further. Each of you has agreed to find some successful examples of ERP being used in business, so that you can benchmark what makes them good.
You have done some research on the drivers of the digital economy, and have discovered that if your company can leverage the internet of things (IoT), blockchain, machine learning, analytics, & big data, it can be successful more quickly. You ask for a report that describes, evaluates and selects a suitable system to meet all of these needs, with the aim of buying a modular system.
3. The Project Report
Your report must incorporate the following elements:
- A front cover with title, student number, and student name.
- A formal report format (you can use a template found in software like Microsoft Word)
- A ‘List of Contents’ with page numbers on every page except the cover
- A short abstract describing the report’s findings in summary
- An introduction describing how you researched your report
- The choices of ERP systems you evaluated, with illustrations of each part you recommend
- Your findings, with reasons and description of the chosen system in detail
- Sample images of an ERP system in use, showing business processes being completed* • A list of references to information (either found on Moodle – lectures/cases – or elsewhere).
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