The Fallacy of a Single “Best Practice Model” - Enterprise Structure Design (1)

Is there a  reliable "Best Practice" model for ERP enterprise structures?  This is often announced with great pride and certainty.  However, my answer is NO.  Many business leaders and many consulting companies may wish for this type of certainty, unfortunately it never works.  We need to go through the work of fact finding and prioritization first, and apply our knowledge of the application functionality in order to arrive at the a reasonable configuration for each situation. .  

Fact Finding will determine the type of company, the legal, geographic, and management structure, the company culture and willingness to change, and the various existing or planned operational and financial systems.  

Project Priority Decisions are most difficult.  Here the project sponsors and executives truly need to have their say - what is and what is not the priority?  Corporate finance or supply chain visibility? Operational effectiveness and shares services or local compliance?  We cannot not drop any of these, but where are we putting the focus.  

Application Functionality - what are the standard options available, what impact does one decision have on the other areas and modules? This is our expertise to stay on top of changing functionality and future  development paths.  Our application knowledge informs our professional assessment and proposals. 

We have discussed these issues for more than 20 years, at Celantra Systems, in the Oracle user community, and within the Multi-National SIG Group.  As the application functionality has improved some of our suggestions have changed.  Even more importantly, our suggestions have changed due to our project experiences and input from client and colleagues.  I will be trying to share my approach and learning curve by reviewing some of my multi-national project implementations. 

Let's start with "How to Ask the Questions?"  

Two years ago Seamus Moran, Rene Roembell, David Norris,. and I put together a set of parameters that define the ecosystem around our enterprise application projects, the business, legal, and management environment where we need to operate.  We then built decision models and - to test our models - applied the results to actual past and current client implementation projects.  In this and the following blogs I want to show you the results and would love your input.  We divided the assessment into four general areas: 

A- Current State Business / Broad Strokes
B-Project & Goals
C-Operations Culture & Management Style
D-System & Support

Here ae the specific questions and possible answers

In my next blog I will describe how we then attempted to assign a enterprise structure direction to the type of answers we would get.  Did the answer point to a more centralized structure versus locally controlled with lots of variations? Or did the answer direct us to follow a very standardized approach or could we suggest some new approaches.  We also assign a weight to the questions and answers 

Then finally we went through ca. 25 different projects, past and current clients and tried to determine whether our decision tree would have worked for those projects and clients.  

Please let me know your thoughts? 

Hans Kolbe 



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Thursday, 23 May 2024
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