Formal Learning

Case Study #2 Core EIMS Software

Please research and evaluate three EIMS software application packages for each of the three Core enterprise management functions: CRM, ERP, and SCM. Each must be capable of being deployed via Cloud Computing and facilitate the intended uses in terms of their functionality and scope suitable for EIMS implementation. Be sure to write the case study analysis to include a “test drive” description with sufficient detail for potential software package source selection for EIMS solution.

Problem Statement

In order for business to stay competitive they must stay agile and use advancing technology to their advantage. Advancement in cloud, social, mobile, video and big data technology has allowed software development companies to take Enterprise Information Management Systems (EIMS) to the next level (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014). Gartner, a form of cloud computing, defines EIMS as “is an integrative discipline for structuring, describing and governing information assets across organizational and technological boundaries to improve efficiency, promote transparency and enable business insight.” The Bring Your Own Device “BYOD” idea has also allowed cloud software developers to break down the barriers of a single physical infrastructure and provide customers the tools to truly become a global business (Heisterberg & Verma, 2014).

There is no doubt that there is a growing demand for cloud based EIMS software. To respond to the growing demand software developers have worked fast to come up with application packages for fit consumer’s needs. There are hundreds of developers who have entered the EIMS software business ecosystem, some are larger companies that offermany add ons that allows customers to pick a customized package and others are small businesses that only develop programs to fit a specific industry. A business must do extensive research and evaluating prior to purchasing and incorporating and EMIS software. With so many different software applications available in the market place, the question arises, how does a company find an EIMS software package to fit their needs?

Challenges & Opportunities

            The implantation of a new EIMS can be life changing for a business owner; it can allow them the visibility to make better and faster decision for the company. Switching to cloud base EIMS software could start to save business owners money within the first year of integrating it. Selecting the software can be difficult with so many options available. Choosing the best fit is important because switching costs can be high when moving from one cloud service to another and there is always a threat of losing data during the transfer. Data warehouses are important to cloud software being used to its maximum potential. A data warehouse is a logistical collection of information, which is gathered from different sources and held in one place (Baltzan 2015).

A challenge for EIMS cloud software developers is keeping the companies data safe. Security should be one of the priorities when evaluating software options. If a business’s private information gets in the wrong hands it can cause major damage to both the customer and the business. For example in 2013 Target experienced a data breach that exposed customer debit card numbers to hackers. Customers experienced identity theft, leaving target to pay over $20 million to master card (Simmons 2015). The Target case highlights the importance why data safety should always be important when evaluating cloud software.

EIMS are comprised of many different functions, Figure 1 provided by scholarsu.com shows a view of how the system information can flow with in the enterprise. Customer Relations Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) are the three core functions of EIMS.

Figure 1

A well rounded business is able to incorporate cloud based software package for all three core function (CRM,ERP,SCM)  into their business. Management should take the proper time to research and evaluate the core function software before being purchased and deployed.

Business Solutions

Within the subcategories below the case study will I identify and explore three different EIMS software packages for each of the core enterprise management functions. These software packages are currently in the market place used by various businesses across many different business ecosystems.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

            CRM is a tool that manages and analyzes customer interaction with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth (Rouse). Figure 2 shows a CRM customer life cycle.

Figure 2

Saleforce, InfusionSoft, and HubSpot are three cloud based CRM software packages that will be examined in greater detail to find out the benefits of each one (logos show in Figure 3).

Salesforce is a well-known industry leading application package in the CRM software industry (Googey 2013). Salesforce is designed to support businesses that focus on sales and supports. The application is used for all business sizes (small, mid sizes and enterprise). Blow you will find the listed capabilities of Salesforce from Salesforce.com.

– Sales management, marketing automation, partner relationship management and customer service.

– Manage customer accounts, track sales leads, conduct and monitor marketing campaigns and provide service post sale.

-Outlook allows users to synchronize contacts, calendars, emails and tasks in both applications.

Infusionsoft is the next software package to be examined; it is designed for small and some midsize businesses. It is considered to be an all-in sales and marketing software. It is an e-commerce platform with the ability to incorporate automation (Paul 2015).  This is a program designed for companies that need to have sales people always in contact with the customers and helps to generate new leads. Many sales people are always on the road so Infusionsoft can be used on smartphones and tables.

HubSpot is the last of the CRM’s software to be examined. HubSpot can be used for businesses of all sizes but is optimal for businesses that use B2B or B2C transactions, examples of these businesses would be accounting, construction, retail, and real state. Hubspot fully utilizes the clouds capabilities by allowing users to have real time view of sales transactions. Hubspot allows marketing emails to automatically be sending to customers, it also records performance metrics on that email (i.e. how many were opened), to help strengthen the marketing department of a business.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP is software that allows a business to use a system of integrated applications to manage the back office of a business. Figure 4 shows how ERP interacts with several departments.

Figure 4 (http://www.onepointhosting.co.za/enterprise-resource-planning/)

There are many cloud ERP software providers that can support all sizes of businesses. Below is a graph from Gartner.com (Figure 5) showing how they rated each company using Capability vs Value. SAP ERP, Sage 300 ERP, and NetSuite will be the three clouds based examined in this case.

Figure 5

SAP ERP was developed in the early 1990’s and has continued to develop to fit customers’ needs as technology grows. SAP.com reports that their system is used by over 50,000 customers worldwide across multiple industries such as retail, insurance, oil and gas, utilities, media and platform maintains. A midsize to large business looking to streamline process across business areas would benefit most from using the SAP ERP.

Sage 300 best supports small and midsize businesses. Sage.com reports that the software can support its financials, inventory, projects, payments, sales order and customer management. The back operations are fully covered, Figure 6 a detailed view of how Sage 300 supports multiple departments.

Figure 6

NetSuite system is very similar to the SAP system but costs a lot less. NetSuite offers many different services under its umbrella of programs. This program works best when the company is a single legal entity. Companies that have adopted NetSuite include wholesale distribution, e-commerce, software, and software service (Foydel 2011). The goal of the application is to create an integrated end-to end solution business looking to leverage cloud technology.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply Chain Management is used to track the flow of goods and services from raw material to the consumer. Cleo, Halo, and Intelex are three cloud based software applications available in the market place.  Below in Figure 7 you will find a side by side comparison of the different features each company offers, the table has been provided by capterra.com.

Figure 7

Cleo can be integrated into any size company with the ability to work on mobile devices. Cleo.com reports that over 7,000 uses are currently on using the program, its specializing on transferring data fast and accurately with in a company. Cleo understands the importance of moving data from all areas of the company from internal applications, big data, and cloud, partner and customer communities. Cleo currently has a customer renewal rate of 99%.

Halo is a supply chain intelligence solution that works with companies worldwide, to improve their process and transformation of data. Halo offers a complete package with features to cover everything from demand planning, order management to supplier management. The software has been created to be flexible and work with many other EIMS applications like Oracle, SalesForce, and SAP. Halo has over 10,000 companies using their system.

Intelex is a larger software company with over a million customers using their system, but the Intelex Supplier Management System is made to fit the needs of a small business. The software is focuses heavily on demand planning and supplier management. This software would not be a good fit for users looking of an end to end supply chain management system.

Lessons Learned/Business Case

The research provided in this case highlights how difficult it can be to implement an EIMS software application package, due to the many options available in the market place. Managers must allow time to research and evaluate all posable options. When selecting a package it is important to find a solution that will work best for the business. It should also be compatible to work with the together with the three core functions of enterprise management CRM, ERP, and SCM.

Having synergy between the CRM, ERP, and SCM software packages can reduce waste and increase employee work flow. Providing employees the right tools for the right job it gives them a chance to grow and become more efficient. If a company is considering a new cloud based software package it is should evaluated by multiple departments and a trail version should be implements as a test before converting the whole company over.

Why I Care

Over all having a core EIMS software package that is capable of cloud computing can help a business stay agile. It can also allow a company to grow and leverage new technology as it become available.  Once a cloud based software application is implemented the switching costs can be high, so managers should always be looking at the long term software solution prior to purchasing a new system. By completing the case study it allowed me to add new tools to my PLE, by better understanding the core enterprise management functions, CRM, ERP, and SCM. Also gained the ability to research and evaluate different EIMS software packages at basic level.

 

References

Baltzan, P. (2015). Business driven technology (SIXTH edition. ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Foydel, T. (2011). Netsuite oneworld implementation 2011 r2. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Gartner- http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/enterprise-information-management-eim

Goodey, P. (2013). Salesforce crm admin cookbook. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Heisterberg, R., & Verma, A. (2014). Creating business agility : How convergence of cloud, social, mobile, video, and big data enables competitive advantage. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons

Paul, S. (2015). Infusionsoft cookbook. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Rouse, M. (n.d.). What is customer relationship management (CRM) ? – Definition from WhatIs.com. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/definition/CRM

Simmons, K. (2015, February 4). Rippleshot Blog. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from http://info.rippleshot.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-target-data-breach-lawsuits

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