An enterprise system is a software package designed to support business processes and facilitate information flow among outside and inside stakeholders. Enterprise systems help to simplify and redesign business processes so that they can be automated (Turban et al., 2017). There are four types of enterprise systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, supply chain management (SCM) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and enterprise social platforms (ESP) (Turban et al., 2017).
The type of system is chosen depending on a company’s unique needs and goals. The present report provides recommendations for SugarSquared, Inc., a candy manufacturer operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The paper also provides an overview of the recommended enterprise system, assesses possible challenges, and recommends particular vendors for potential partnerships.
SugarSquared, Inc. is a Riyadh-based company that manufactures and distributes candies throughout the KSA. The company faces the challenge of managing information, as currently, there is no centralized storage, and data is handled separately by various departments using legacy systems. Therefore, the company needs an enterprise system that will unite all the legacy systems to enable data sharing among departments.
Additionally, the company faces the problem of managing human resources in three different locations, which implies that the enterprise system should be available online from any of these locations. Since the company also runs an online retail store, the enterprise system needs to enable the customers to access, pay, and view invoices online. An ideal enterprise system suitable for SugarSquared, Inc. should be able to address all the identified needs.
Proposed Enterprise System
The most appropriate choice for the company is an ERP system due to its central characteristics. According to Labarre (2019), an ERP helps to “implement resource planning by integrating all of the processes needed to run their companies with a single system” (para. 1). In other words, an adequately chosen and tailored ERP is central for data sharing between departments of a large organization (Labarre, 2019).
The primary advantage of an ERP for SugarSquared, Inc. is that it allows the departments to keep using legacy systems while enabling data sharing among different stakeholders. Traditionally, the departments have systems optimized to perform specific tasks. A push to a standardized solution may be associated with a decreased efficiency of the departments and an increased possibility of error (Labarre, 2019). By letting the departments keep the legacy systems, the company will ensure its stable performance. ERP will also help the human resource department to handle data from different locations, as ERPs are usually cloud-based.
An ERP will also be beneficial for SugarSquared, Inc., as it will help outside stakeholders to enter the system using a B2B gateway. In other words, an ERP will not only facilitate internal communication through social collaboration, deployment flexibility, faster response, and accessibility but also will help external information exchange. An ERP will help the organization to become more self-aware by storing all the information in one place, which prevents from creating costly duplicates. In general, an ERP will help SugarSquared to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize resource use thought the departments and locations.
However, it should be considered that an ERP does not address all the current needs of the company. In particular, it will not directly facilitate online sales and management of partners. Therefore, if the company wants to put an increased emphasis on retail sales, a CRM system would be a more appropriate choice. Moreover, since the company operates in almost all parts of the supply chain (production, distribution, retail), it may consider implementing a CSM system, especially if it decides to expand vertically.
The central challenge of implementing an ERP is the cost and complexity of implementation. Most ERP integration projects fail due to cost misrepresentation, unrealistic timeframes, and software license issues (Turban et al., 2018). Therefore, in order to achieve success in the matter, it is vital to have strong program management, thorough executive support, sufficient training, focus on business processes, and realistic expectations (Turban et al., 2018).
At the same time, the company will not be able to keep the legacy systems as is. According to Labarre (2019), an ERP does not guarantee the elimination of inefficiencies after implementation because of reluctance to abandon old working processes that are incompatible with the software. Old software will need to be replaced eventually, as legacy systems are inflexible and costly to maintain (Turban et al., 2018). Therefore, every department will be allowed to have a separate system optimized to perform the specific tasks; however, these systems will need to be compatible with the new ERP.
Choice of Vendors
Currently, many appropriate vendors can be appropriate for SugarSquared, Inc. First, the company may consider Odoo, one of the most successful open-source solutions for businesses of all kinds (B2B News, 2020). It has more than 30 different applications that can be installed on any device, including tablets and smartphones, which can enable stakeholders to be reachable anywhere. The central advantage for SugarSquared, Inc. is that it includes a CRM system to help the company develop direct online sales. Second, the company can use NetSuite ERP by Oracle, which was awarded the Expert Choice 2019 Award by FinanceOnline (B2B News, 2020).
The central advantage of the system is the abundance of features that can be added to the ERP, depending on the needs of the company. Finally, SugarSquared, Inc. may consider using SageIntracct, which is somewhat similar to NetSuite ERP but has more democratic prices than Oracle’s solution. Before making a decision, the company should address several business factors in order to make a determination.
The first factor to consider is that the company has numerous legacy systems that will need to be integrated. Therefore, SugarSquared, Inc. should choose a vendor with sensitive customer support that will help to tune the system. The second factor is that the company is planning to integrate an enterprise system for the first time; therefore, the company may be unsure about its needs. Finally, the company should choose the most optimal pricing system to avoid exceeding the implementation budget.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The integration of an enterprise system is of extreme importance since it helps to simplify and reorganize business processes. The analysis of SugarSquared Inc. revealed that an ERP system is the most appropriate type of enterprise systems for the company. Considering the needs and peculiarities of the company, it is recommended to select Oracle‘s NetSuite ERP. The solution has the most flexible pricing since the company can choose what modules are required. If the needs of SugarSquared Inc. evolve, it will be able to integrate additional modules to the ERP. Moreover, the company has the highest rating of customer support, which is also vital for SugarSquared Inc. However, before starting the implementation of the system, it is recommended to negotiate with Oracle’s staff to plan the integration process carefully.
B2B News. (2020). List of top 20 ERP software companies. Finance Online. Web.
Labarre, O. (2019). Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Investopedia. Web.
Turban, E., Pollard, C., & Wood, G. (2018). IT for management: On-demand strategies for performance, growth, and sustainability (11th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.