Who Owns Your ERP System?

Position:DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: RESEARCH
 
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Many businesses neglect ownership of their IT systems, to their detriment. Brian King, Sage X3 product manager at Cpio.

Imagine you've invested a great sum of money in leasing a Ferrari from a dealership. After the first drive, would you then call your dealer to ask them to park it for you or adjust your mirrors? It sounds preposterous, but it's comparable to what many business executives and IT managers do with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, as Brian King, Sage X3 product manager at CPiO, explains.

The concept of ownership is one that few people contest in many aspects of life. Whether it's clothing and cosmetics or vehicles and electronics, most people understand that when they purchase a device or system, it is theirs to do with as they wish. It's their responsibility to maintain it, rather than that of the retailer or the delivery company.

However, many chief executives and IT managers of SMEs around the UK do not translate this idea to their business IT systems or software. Instead, there is often the belief that the supplier is accountable for maintaining the system, resolving minor IT issues and consulting staff in their use of the system.

To an extent, this may be true. Many suppliers do provide support packages as an ongoing service, but this is often a separate service to the initial purchase. The trouble is, the IT industry is currently being reshaped by the concept of software as a service (SaaS), which leads many executives to believe ongoing service is a part of the purchase.

SaaS is effectively software and system rental that ensures the provider is liable for resolving issues, maintaining system uptime and helping staff get the most value from their investment. While most suppliers of purchased ERP systems will offer to help in setting up the system or even training staff initially, IT managers and executives must take ownership to truly benefit from their systems.

For example, modern ERP systems for medium to large businesses, such as Sage X3, can provide effective...

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