"As you wander on through life, whatever may be your goal,
keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole."
Deborah Osgood, Chief Architect and Cofounder of BUZGate.org
I recently came across a good article on ITtoolbox Blogs entitled Building a "SAP Support Model". The author, Bob White, outlines a step by step approach for building an ERP support model. This article was SAP-centric. This model also aims to support and solve the technical issues that you would find. Great if you are looking to only support your IT investment.
The question is, having made such a great investment in your system, and then this ongoing cost of supporting your application, how can you sweat this asset to drive real business benefit and continuous business improvement?
The answer lies in understanding the Continuous Business Improvement cycle for ERP systems. This cycle of
- Adopting (the ERP system);
- Sustaining (customizing, implementing and supporting the ERP system); and
- Exploiting (driving business benefit from your ERP system)
How does System Support help drive continuous improvement?
- Great support data gathered from users that will point to improvement opportunities.
- Issues identified by System Support are related directly to the ERP system. Any changes to address these issues will exploit the system capabilities - 'sweat the asset'.
- System Support team are often well positioned between Solution Managers who understand the system capabilities; the users who identify opportunities for improvement; and the deployment teams who can make the changes happen.
How can you apply this to smaller businesses? Look into the capabilities of your current applications and the needs of your users to identify opportunities to drive productivity and improvement via automation in your business. No need to reinvent the wheel. Use what you have.Keep your eye on the doughnut around and not on the hole ...