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Q: enterprise software ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: enterprise software
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: randyluddy-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 09 Nov 2006 10:51 PST
Expires: 09 Dec 2006 10:51 PST
Question ID: 781402
What is the best enterprise software for a manufacturing company on
the market (considering price and quality)?  We are a medium sized
business and need to move to a more sophisticated platform.

Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 09 Nov 2006 11:01 PST
Hi randyluddy-ga,

I believe you're going to have to be a LOT more specific if you have
any hope of getting an answer of any value!

Some questions to get the ball rolling:

1. What type of manufacturing does your business do?

2. What types of functionality do you need included in the new
platform? (ie. logistics, distribution, invoicing, payroll, etc.)

3. What platform(s) are you currently using? 

4. Why are you considering moving to a new system? What are some of
the problems you are experiencing with the current one?

5. Do you have a budget in mind?

6. Do you have in-house expertise that could implement this for you,
or will you need help from a vendor or consulting firm?

7. In which countries does your business have operations?

Do get back to me with responses to the questions above and I will
help narrow down the field for you. This will take some back and forth
but we will try to get you to a point where you are aware of suitable
options based on your company's needs.

Thanks :)


Clarification of Question by randyluddy-ga on 09 Nov 2006 11:20 PST
I am not in IT but we do have an IT department and they are very
skilled...but there is a chance we will need some consulting on "the
new system".

1. What type of manufacturing does your business do?
We design and manufactur ventilation products (Vent Hoods, heaters, Exhaust fans)

2. What types of functionality do you need included in the new
platform? (ie. logistics, distribution, invoicing, payroll, etc.)
All of the above...a system to run the entire enterprise...

3. What platform(s) are you currently using? 
We have some legacy software we built using foxpro then we are
building new apps now with micrsoft.NET.  We have our own data center
and use a sequel server database...

4. Why are you considering moving to a new system? What are some of
the problems you are experiencing with the current one?

the system we have is clunky and old (except for the bew modules we
built)  The systems do not talk well to each other and we are stuck
with either keep building what we need or just go buy somthing more
"off the shelf".  We need better inventory management and order input
and manufacturing control and flexibility....currently when we have
anew product it is very hard to get all the data in the
creates a lot of coding for the IT department.

5. Do you have a budget in mind?

Not really but we want value and somthing good for our business which
is medium sized.

6. Do you have in-house expertise that could implement this for you,
or will you need help from a vendor or consulting firm?

In-house but open for some consulting.

7. In which countries does your business have operations?

North America (Canada, USA, Mexico) but would like to expand more.

Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 09 Nov 2006 12:10 PST
Hello again,

Based on the information you've provided, I can recommend some paths
you could follow in terms of selection of products for running the
enterprise. I will begin on compiling information on this shortly.

While I suspect this would answer you immediate question, there is
more to consider here than simply selecting a product. I would like to
ensure that you gain a clear understanding of not only the options
available from a software standpoint, but also:

1. An analysis of what considerations need to be taken when attempting
to put an enterprise solution in place (from an organizational
perspective). This is the reason why so many IT projects are doomed
before they start.

2. How to transition from your current technical environment to your
chosen environment (whatever that may be).

As I'm sure you can appreciate, the two points above are complex in
their own right. For that reason, I suggest that they be posted as two
additional questions. You can certainly indicate that you would like
me to respond to those questions by indicating that each question. A
similar list price for each seems fair considering the level of effort
and expertise needed to address these types of issues.

What I'm aiming to provide you with is a firm footing when you are
actually working with vendors. Most will present options slanted in
their favour. As an independant third party, I hope to provide you
with a perspective free of influence.

Do let me know your thoughts on the above :)


Clarification of Question by randyluddy-ga on 09 Nov 2006 12:19 PST
I would like an full answer to my original and to the two questions
you just brought up.

How would you like to move forward on this...I would prefer you answer
my first question then we can move into more the specific questions
you posted as a seperate transaction.

Let me know.


Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 09 Nov 2006 13:31 PST
I agree that the other two points should each be seperate questions (a
similar list price is fine for each). Please ensure that you specify
you would like me to answer each question (answerguru-ga) so that
other researchers are aware that we are working on a group of related

At this point I believe I have enough information to begin answering
the original question. While I am working on this, we can open up the
communication on the other two questions, as I anticipate some back
and forth before I can answer either of the follow-up questions. These
will each be seperate transactions.

I will complete this question first, and allow you to respond in case
there is any need for clarification. Once that is complete, I will
move on to the follow-up questions. By that point, we should have the
initial Q&A for these completed, meaning that I can begin on those
without delay.

As you can probably tell, I like to multitask :)

Let me know when the other two questions have been posted.


Clarification of Question by randyluddy-ga on 12 Nov 2006 12:06 PST
Okay answerguru-ga.  I have posted the other 2 questions as on 2
different postings...that means there is 3 total questions I would
like answered in detail about the original question of how to choose
enterprise software.


Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 12 Nov 2006 13:36 PST
Thank you randyluddy - I see all three questions now.

In the meantime, please keep an eye on the other two questions as I
will be need to ask you some questions to help focus my answers on
those. These should be posted by sometime this evening.

Subject: Re: enterprise software
Answered By: answerguru-ga on 14 Nov 2006 00:44 PST
Hello randyluddy-ga,

I have compiled information on some enterprise software packages which
I believe to be well-suited solutions given the information you have
provided regarding your company and what you are looking to achieve.

I have also outlined a methodology for looking at products critically
and determining how well they suit your business. This is intended to
be a starting point which you can expand upon when going through your
actual selection process. This is where the assistance of external
consultants can be valuable ? they should be able to come into your
company and perform interviews with staff to pull out red herrings.


The first stage of the analysis is to compile a set of selection
criteria, which will be used to compare alternatives against one
another. Each alternative will eventually be ranked against each
selective criterion using a numeric value (between 1 and 5). The
highest value indicates that the alternative fully satisfies the
specified criterion. Using these values, each alternative will be
given a score (the sum of the values for the given alternative). The
alternatives can then be ranked by score in descending order. Note
that there will be some criteria for which scores cannot be obtained
at this point due to lack of information, but these can be
incorporated at a later point if desired.

It should also be mentioned that it is more valuable to have 5-7
criteria that have a wide reach rather than 30-40 criteria that call
out very granular requirements. Take the time to consolidate you
criteria if you do end up with a sizeable number.

The next step will be to perform research and identify a set of
enterprise solutions (the alternatives). This will be done using a
combination my own personal experience and Internet research. A basic
overview of each option, obtained through public sources, will
highlight product features and factors that differentiate a given
product from its competitors.

Finally, each product should be evaluated against the selection
criteria and assigned an overall score. The products with the highest
scores will have the greatest likelihood of fitting with your
organizational needs.

Note that such a process should be undertaken at a much greater level
of depth, with far more specific criteria. Vendors should be called
upon to demonstrate or explain how their product(s) satisfy specific
criteria and requirements. This will ensure that all stakeholders of
your project will be satisfied with the ultimate selection.


1. Initial Cost Outlay ? to be honest, most choices often come down to
this. It should be a factor, but not necessarily THE factor. Rather
then specifying a dollar figure, I would be more inclined to use a
metric that reflects true value.

2. Degree of Modularity ? considering the desire to start fresh in
terms of software, this one is key to implementation. Products that
cannot be built upon one module at a time will cause severe problems,
such as data integration and downtime complexities.

3. Flexible to Organizational Direction ? the ability of a system to
be reconfigured or redeployed in a new external environment. This
could include operations in a new country (think currencies,
languages, time zones), as well as corporate structures (public vs.
private, reporting requirements, etc.)

4. Functional Completeness ? for every system you are looking to
replace, is there module or modules that can be a sufficient

5. Ease of use ? you came up with this one yourself, and it is
critical. With moderate training, is this a system that your company
can easily learn, accept, and become proficient with?

6. Performance ? a technical criterion that looks at potential
bottlenecks and considers how the system is likely reacts. Issues to
consider here are concurrent users, peak times, minimum levels of
service (response time), and so forth.

7. Ability to leverage existing resources ? this includes technical
personnel, facilities (ie. data center), and hardware.

This is likely to get you thinking about other criteria, and it
should. This is by no means fully-formed, however as you see you
revised list getting lengthy, evaluation will prove simpler if similar
and related items are consolidated.


This section is meant to act as a short-list of vendor products that
could be appropriate. What this essentially means is that from the
surface, their software has been presented as capable of solving many
of the issues you have listed as reasons for wanting a new enterprise
solution. At this point, no deep analysis has been done on any of the
products in this list. To draw a parallel to the process of hiring a
new employee, the alternatives in this list are much like the people
you have called in for a first interview.

That being said, here are a few packages I feel are worthy of a
further investigation.

1. Company: SAP
   Product: mySAP All-In-One
   Solution Brief:

2. Company: Oracle
   Product: Peoplesoft Enterprise Applications
   Web (product home):
   Web (Supply Chain home):

3. Company: Oracle
   Product: JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
   Web (product home):

4. Company: Microsoft
   Products: Dynamics AX, Dynamics NAV
   Web (Dynamics for manufacturing):
   Web (AX for manufacturing):
   Web (NAV for manufacturing):

If you are interested in a more exhaustive list of enterprise solution
vendors, here is one that includes company and website links. Note
that many of these companies don?t fit well with your exact scenario,
but they are part of the same space in the software industry:

In addition, I believe this link effectively touches on how to use
vendor presentations (which you will ultimately endure) in your
favour, rather than letting them become sales pitches that don?t
address your specific needs:

I hope the above information has provided you with a starting point in
the selection process of an enterprise software solution. Although
there is considerable work ahead in making a final selection,
utilizing a well-defined evaluative process is always a good start.

If you have any comments or are unclear on any of the information
above, please do post a clarification and I will respond promptly.

Thank you for using Google Answers :)


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