Feasibility of an ERP system
In order to assess the feasibility of an ERP system the management of Bandon Group Inc should focus on the following criteria: cost-effectiveness of this project, operational performance, and timelines of implementation (Musaji, 2002, p 2). First, they need to determine whether the expenses that the company will incur could be avoided or justified in any way. It should be noted that the average price of an ERP system is $ 20.000. This application will have all capabilities, required by Bandon Group, namely ad hoc query, web-based invoice system, customer website, electronic purchase interface, and so forth (Sumner, 2005, p 175).
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The management may consider alternative approaches to their IT problems, for example, they may develop separate software solutions. Such a strategy can prove to be less expensive; however, these separate elements will not function as a single entity; more importantly, they will not insure effective data migration among users. This is why we can argue that the costs, associated with this project, are indispensable. If this application speeds up the internal operations of Bandon Group, the purchase of this tool will be quite justified.
The management of this company should also consider the challenges, associated with the implementation of this system. It should be borne in mind that the divisions of Bandon Group Inc. use different software and hardware (Sumner, 2005). This lack of uniformity will present a significant challenge to the designers. Still, this challenge can be overcome because the increasing number of software developers can now produce cross-platform ERP systems (Xu et al, 2007, p 1152).
Finally, one should consider the timelines for implementation. Even if the company chooses to procure an ERP system, they will have to spend at least six months to customize this application. This process will be based on continuous interaction between the designers and the end-users (the employees and customers of Bandon Group Inc.). The key issue is whether the company has this time. If they do, they may consider the implementation of an ERP solution, but they do not, they should purchase or develop separate programs. So, these are the main steps of feasibility analysis that the management should take.
Design of an ERP System
The designers of an ERP system should primarily pay attention to developmental constraints or the requirements set by the customer. First, they need to determine the functionality of this application. It has to contain an invoicing system, and sales prospecting tools. Although these tools are traditionally included in ERP systems, the developers will need to reconfigure or customize them. As has been noted in the previous section, this application has to be made compatible with different operating systems, like Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. At this point, we do not know which of these operating systems Bandon Group will use in the future, and it would be quite prudent to make this ERP system cross-platform.
The second issue is that this system must have several user interfaces. Judging from the case study, we can single out three types of users: 1) top management; 2) employees, and 3) customers. These users will have access to different kinds of information.
When speaking about the user interface, one should not forget about security requirements. This system will incorporate some highly confidential data, for instance, bank accounts, information about the company’s financial performance, names, addresses, and telephone numbers of customers and employees. This information can turn into a powerful weapon against Bandon Group Inc. This is why the designers should make sure that an unauthorized person cannot access or destroy it. These are the key issues that developers of this application should consider prior to starting the project.
Musaji. Y. (2002). Integrated auditing of ERP systems. NY: John Wiley and Sons.
Sumner, M. (2005). Enterprise resource planning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Xu. L. Tjoa A. & Chaudhry S. (2007). Research and Practical Issues of EnterpriseInform ation Systems. Cambridge: Springer.