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TurtleSpice ERP! (Week 6)

Written By: David Clark
Published On: August 14 2008

Welcome to TurtleSpice ERP! We’re following one company’s software selection process, from beginning to end—with a twist: It’s up to you to make sure comptroller Mike Chelonia stays on track and selects the right ERP system for the company. Cast your vote at the bottom of this post, and next week I’ll move the scenario forward based on the winning answer.

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The story so far: Mike Chelonia, TurtleSpice’s comptroller, has been tasked to select an ERP system by his CFO. Facing pressure from his VP Wade Sharkey to short-circuit the selection process and select Big Gun Software, Mike gets a reprieve when Wade Sharkey is over-ruled by the CEO. When supply issues threatened to derail the entire ERP selection project, Mike pushed ahead anyway with his goal of documenting business requirements for software selection.

Last week, the CEO was temporarily incommunicado, leaving Mike with no executive backing whatsoever—and also giving Wade Sharkey some breathing room to hatch his nefarious plots. We don’t quite know what he’s up to, but we do know the lucrative Wal-Nut contract has been cancelled. You’d expect Sharkey to be devastated—but is he?

Also last week, the TurtleSpice CIO attempted to shoulder her way into the selection process by offering to build ERP functionality into TurtleSpice’s existing systems. When we asked you how you would handle this dilemma in Mike’s shoes, you voted to pursue the business process modeling (BPM) process.

That was a savvy decision—not only does it keep the selection project on track, but documenting your business processes is also an ideal way to resolve the “build vs. buy” question.

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The CEO returns from vacation with a bang. When he finds out the Wal-Nut contract has been cancelled, he calls Wade Sharkey into his office.

“So you couldn’t keep Wal-Nut on board.”

“We couldn’t meet our commitments. You know about our supply issues.”

“Oh, yes,” says the CEO, “I know about those. But I also know you, Wade. There was a time when you could’ve salvaged that. I’m going to leave it at that for now.”

Sharkey gets up to leave, but the CEO waves him back down into his chair.

“One more thing,” says the CEO. “BigGun Software. I’m trusting Mike to make the right decision, regardless of your enthusiasm for the product. Whatever line you’re treading, Wade, tread it very carefully.”

So BigGun ERP remains on the list for now.

Another thing, Sharkey reflects, is that the CEO knows more than he’s saying. Which means he’ll have to be very careful indeed.

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The BPM process is slow (meetings), painful (more meetings), and tedious (meetings to discuss the meetings), but Mike pulls it all together without the usual TurtleSpice project implosion. The consultants help Mike’s team identify all business processes, sub-processes, and activities.

Besides identifying current processes, Mike finds that BPM accomplishes several things:

  • identifies unnecessary processes

  • organizes business processes into manageable portions

  • helps process automation

  • predicts the impact of planned changes

  • plans for future processes and capabilities


At the same time, the consultants steer TurtleSpice away from the following common mistakes:

  • They keep their project focused on what ERP represents.

  • They do not report unrelated processes.

  • They do not report complaints about processes.

  • They do not try to fix processes that are not broken.

  • They do not try to express to-be processes without first assessing the as-is state.


For TurtleSpice to document its to-be state, they need to answer the following questions:

  • Is this activity necessary, or can it be eliminated?

  • Can this activity be combined with another or others?

  • Is this the proper sequence of activities, or should the sequence be changed?

  • Can this activity be improved?

  • Does the owner of the activity have the proper training to perform the activity?

  • Are there alternative technologies that can be used to generate higher return on investment to the company?


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At the end of the process, Mike and the selection team make the decision to buy an ERP system, rather than build one, based on the reasoning that their requirements are simply too complex for their interior IT resources alone to handle.

The selection team retains the services of the consultants to help them map their processes onto a list of functional requirements for ERP software (see generic example below).

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After publishing an open call to tender and consulting online directories of vendors, TurtleSpice sends its RFI to a long list that includes the vendors below, with a one-month deadline:

TEC-certified Vendors (see TEC’s process ERP solution showcase)

SSI (Tropos)
Ramco Systems (Ramco Enterprise Process Manufacturing)
Microsoft (Dynamics AX)
BatchMaster Software Inc (BatchMaster Enterprise)
SAP (mySAP ERP)
Thoughtful Inc (Thoughtful/erp)
CDC Software (Ross Enterprise)
IFS (IFS Applications)
3i Infotech (Orion)

Uncertified Vendors
QAD (QAD Enterprise Application)
Oracle (JD Edwards EnterpriseOne)
IQMS (EnterpriseIQ)
Evolucion e Inovacion Empresarial SC (Kepler)
Intélisis (Intélisis ERP)
BigGun (BigGun ERP)

Note: this list was derived from TEC’s eBestMatch tool, and corresponds to requirements as defined in TurtleSpice ERP, Week 1.

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Two days before the deadline, with most RFI responses received, one vendor asks for an extension. The vendor product has a very solid reputation and good market share in the food and beverage industry. What do you do?

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Voting is now closed for this episode. Find out what happened next!

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Note: This scenario has been created for informational purposes only. Any resemblance to actual food and beverage companies and products is purely coincidental. Data and outcomes backed up by our expert analyst and project delivery teams, scenario created by our writing team. Special thanks to TEC project manager Nasser Tehrani for his input.
 
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