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ERP: A necessary risk

Zafar Anjum | Oct. 18, 2012
The need for ERP is no longer in doubt and is accepted as the “backbone” of any company. But the implementation of such systems still poses considerable risk, says Voon Ngee Yiew, managing director of ABeam Singapore.

The need for ERP is no longer in doubt and is accepted as the “backbone” of any company. But the implementation of such systems still poses considerable risk, says Voon Ngee Yiew, managing director of ABeam Singapore.

Tell us about your experience of implementing ERP projects in the Asia Pacific region.

ABeam Consulting is a Japan-headquartered IT consultancy firm that helps companies with ERP deployments and specialising in SAP implementations. We have a 30-year history in serving our clients globally, with an extensive network of more than 4,000 consultants. In Southeast Asia alone, we have more than 250 consultants that we can call upon to support our clients. In addition, we have multiple Global Development Centres in China and Malaysia for major offshore development work as well as global 24 X 7 Application Management Outsourcing services for continued support to our customers after the implementations are done.

Apart from our consultants, ABeam has developed specialised Industry Framework templates for specific industries such as Food & Beverage, Railway, High Tech, etc. based on the many years of experience gained from real project implementations. This framework when utilised together with our Local Requirements Template for Asian Countries, helps to minimise risk and provides a strong foundation for companies embarking on their ERP rollouts. This way, we are starting out with a baseline set of best practices, specifically targeted towards a particular industry as well as a set of pre-defined legal and statutory requirements for many countries in Asia. 

Especially in Singapore, where most companies are already into their third or fourth generation IT systems, there is tremendous pressure to reduce the timeline and costs for each project. Having such solutions, combined with experienced, certified consultants are essential to meeting this challenge.

What prompts companies to opt for ERP systems, and has that changed over the years?

The need for ERP is no longer in doubt and is accepted as the "backbone" of any company. But while it is common, the implementation of such systems still poses considerable risk and takes up significant investment, not to mention the time and effort of the people involved. This should not be surprising as ERP, by its very definition, will have major impact throughout most departments in a company including Finance, Sales, Production, Procurement, Human Resources and even Quality and Audit.

Over the years, ERP has evolved from automating manual processes, reducing errors and improving security to what it is today, a core component in the company's competitive landscape, serving key data and analysis to help companies understand their operations better and identifying areas to optimise and be more competitive.

And with the current trend on social media and mobility, employees including top management are so used to getting up-to-date information on their smartphones and tablets instantly. This in turn, is driving innovation in ERP such as In-Memory Computing and mobility applications to cater for such needs. 

 

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