ECCMA disses ‘mega ERP’ as flunking ROI test

Material master data quality is key to ERP success.

A position paper on the Eccma* website by data validation specialist Daryl Crockett (Validus) reports a ‘marked decline’ in new SAP and Oracle Financial implementations. While larger organizations have migrated to the ‘promised land’ of mega ERP, many are suffering from a post-implementation hangover with the realization that these highly disruptive and costly deployments fail to bring the expected return on investment. Crockett attributes the lacklustre performance to one ‘spectacularly under-emphasized’ risk, poor data. ‘The road to success is littered with the bodies of senior managers and executives who realized too late that they had a data problem.’

The concept of data as an asset is relatively new in the business world and the majority of ERP adopters are unprepared for the responsibilities of data ownership. Companies that rely on IT-led technology initiatives suffer especially as after systems are designed and implemented, the data will be around ‘long after the consultants have collected their frequent flyer miles and moved on to the next job!’

Crockett advocates getting a handle on data quality before embarking on an ERP implementation. The best place to start is with a master data quality and governance program. Even this can be tricky as suppliers like to make their products seem unique so that buyers can’t shop around. Items in a material master are often poorly described or entered as free text. Would-be master data cleansers will find free white papers, presentations and data dictionaries on

* Electronic commerce code management association.

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