Understanding the Technology Behind Your ERP Processes

Bill Onion

We’ve mentioned the importance and the benefits of a Business Process Review, but also of note is the Technical Business Process Review.

What It Is and Why We Do It

While a BPR focuses on understanding and improving the business as a whole, the Tech BPR focuses on the company’s technology infrastructure.

The Technical BPR focuses on understanding the technology so that you can then improve the functionality of the business.

While the BPR is often company-wide and used before a large project like an ERP upgrade or integration, a Tech BPR is used to gain understanding of the primary business process so that a clear software development life cycle (SDLC) can be outlined and documented.

SDLCs are critical to a company as they serve as a roadmap for business processes and reasonings. They allow for an easy transfer of resources and can alleviate the workload of development teams. Yet we often find that companies don’t have SDLCs or if they do, they aren’t well-defined or are outdated.

How We Do It

When performing TBPRs, our tech team starts by meeting together with your tech team to discuss and identify the primary business processes currently being used in specific functions, like the Order to Cash process, for example. In a TBPR, we'll work to peel back the tech layers associated with the process including identifying which major programs and files are being used and which third party apps are at play. Using a white board as a tabula rasa, we’ll map out how the process integrates to other systems, both internally and externally, as well as its relationship to the development, test, and production environment.

Usually a 2-4 day on-site project we schedule sessions with various teams in 1-3 hour blocks of time so no one’s day is overly consumed. This is the “getting to know you” part.

Once we’ve outlined the programs, we discuss subsequent topics like how you do your environment and how you protect source code. At the end of our session, we aggregate the data into a comprehensive deliverable of clear documentation, including process flowcharts and graphs.

What Comes Next

Utilizing these deliverables, you will have a foundation for system documentation which can be added to whenever necessary. Through this review the company will also have identified pain points, bottlenecks, and issues within the technology processes which can then be prioritized and tackled to create further efficiency for the business.

While we most often do this specifically for IBM i and JD Edwards, the process translates well to various ERP software packages and across all areas of business and is a great starting point for further process improvements. 

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