Not all ERP implementations are easy, of course. Finding and working with partners who have deep industry knowledge and experience is key. "When we started in 2006 [to build our ERP system], we had two options," said Vilzig Ofir, CFO, Gold Star Line, a leading shipping line. "We could either buy a very good system in use by a major Hong Kong shipping company, or we could develop our own system from an ERP vendor. We decided to build our own, and we bought the tools from SAP and used somebody else to do the system integration. But after two years we changed vendors. And we exceeded our budget by 300 percent. Now our system is working and we are gradually improving it, focusing on the reports and aspects such as BI tools and the KPIs."
Ofir's tale is not uncommon. ERP solutions take years if not months to bake, and if the architecture or scope is ill-defined, disaster happens. Lau of Nam Tai painted a happier picture, commenting that his ERP projects were well executed within expectations.
In fairness, few corporate applications have improved so much as ERPs in recent years. "We have an interest in customers adopting our solutions, and part of that is to make sure that our partners have all the skills necessary for project management and implementation work," said McKinnon. "So we are not focused on ourselves but on our partners. As our next generation solutions come to market we constantly have to ensure that our partners have the necessary skills to keep customers' implementation on-track."
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