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Maximizing Return on Investment Using ERP Applications by Frank J. C. Andera, Thomas R. Weirich, Arthur J. Worster

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BUSINESS PROCESS DESIGN

Business process and its relationship to ERP implementation, as well as to business process reengineering in general, have been an enigma for nearly two decades, as described in Chapter 3. We have vacillated back and forth between “pure” reengineering, where IT applications are not considered until the process is designed and, on the other end, the use of recommended business processes (or best business practices) defined by the applications vendors. Often too little attention is given to the fundamental understanding necessary to design an optimal solution. We tend to either defer to current processes or grasp onto new processes as magic bullets. Neither of these approaches works well.

What is required is fundamental knowledge of the relationship between business processes and business performance, as well as knowledge of potential solutions (business practices) in the selected IT application platforms. In an integrated ERP world, we simply don’t have the ability to sort out issues in interface designs. As usual, this starts with business knowledge, which is not startling, in and of itself. When analyzed and laid out, however, the sorting out of issues in interface designs calls for a level of process thinking that may well be both startling and perhaps even threatening to many. A sad aspect of this process is that collectively in an organization, knowledge of these areas exists, but the cultural and political process may seriously hinder the ability to ...

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