An ERP is enterprise resource planning. It’s essentially an integrated management system of a company’s main business processes, through software and technology. Typically, it’s a suite of applications that are integrated or modules that an organization uses to collect, manage, store and use the data for their business activities.
It makes somebody’s life or job easier because it’s designed to track business resources such as cash or materials or production capabilities. And then they balance that out with business commitments. The data from purchase orders, HR, payables and more, is shared across departments, making it a single source of the truth in real-time. This makes all department functions work seamlessly together.
The leadership team must have a willingness to champion the integration, build that organizational support. If employees don’t feel like the leadership team is behind a transformation, they are not going to be either. This is essential for the change management of implementing an ERP or any other system into an organization and have it be successful over the long term.
Before implementing an ERP, companies need to know what the current state of their existing processes is, including how mature they are and how much mature documentation exists around those processes. From a finance perspective, understanding the critical reporting elements and what the information system needs to provide.
Having clean data, and having a good plan in place to be able to migrate the good data into an ERP is critical. The system is only as good as its data. Does the company have the right team and competencies to undertake an integration? What gaps exist? And what mitigation plan is being put in place?
Does the organization have enough capacity to undertake the integration? Do your people have the bandwidth to undertake this (and the necessary training hours that come with it) on top of their existing jobs?
Any system through this pandemic must support increased collaboration. A lot of companies are still on traditional hardware-based ERPs, while some have moved to cloud-based platforms. For those with older systems, when work-from-home orders began in March of 2020, there was a scramble to get new technology integrated to enable remote working. In 2021 and beyond, it is likely that organizations will continue to place more importance on making sure their employee can access everything online.
As mentioned above, one of the benefits of internet-based systems is the accessibility of real-time data and up-to-date software. Any time there is an update or upgrade, it is automatic across the company. This also makes it a lot easier to integrate with other applications. With this, companies will continue to look into what they can integrate together, to make their systems easier to use.
There’s a growing demand for more niche solutions to optimize processes for both businesses and vendors. ERP systems started with the big guys (i.e. Oracle, SAP etc.). Now, companies are looking for ERPS that specifically serve their industry or niche business needs with features and functionalities that companies operating in this niche market would use. It’s no longer a generic software.
Companies are facing an increase in the number of complex and unstructured data that they’re collecting and that they’re having to analyze. Integrating an ERP with some sort of artificial intelligence platform makes it a lot easier to process that information.
Tell me a little about your career path. What made you get into consulting?
“After graduation, I really didn’t have a plan. I started my career in marketing. And then I went into finance. Then I joined a chemical company, in the early 2000s for their SAP implementation. And then I ended up staying there for about 15 years in various roles, and different business units, but primarily staying within the supply chain space. I did everything from contract manufacturing, to inventory planning, warehouse management, and demand planning. And then an opportunity came up a few years ago to set up a global process group in the pharmaceutical field. So I went there, and I stayed there until TPG.
What made me get into consulting was largely timing. I wanted to see what consulting would be like, and at that point in my career and personal life, It just felt like it was the right time to hop into something new. I was attracted to being in more client-facing roles in different industries. I also love the idea of having a concrete start and end to projects, which aligns well with this line of work.”
Is there anything that you’re passionate about outside of your job role?
“Recently, I’ve been trying to grow my own businesses and I do quite a bit of investing in the stock market, which my family has taken an interest in as well.
Beyond that, I love travelling. Post pandemic, I can’t wait to get back into that.”
What drew you to TPG? And what do you like about working here?
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came in and didn’t know the company before I started. I knew that I didn’t want to get into a big consulting firm at this point in my life. The whole competitive nature of those types of firms didn’t appeal to me. So, I liked the fact that it was a small niche firm. I remember coming in that day, and meeting with David. And I just knew right away, from talking to David, that there was something special about the company, something about him as a leader that made me want to take this leap. At the time, I think both of us just had that gut feel that it was going to be a good fit. And having been here now a little over three years, the culture and the people are definitely what keeps me here.”