IntroductionThe main objective of the project is to redesign a new ERP system for Cephei Unlimited. It is also a goal to have a system that is cost-efficient and can grow with the business. Specifically, it is a desire to improve the company’s inventory management, customer satisfaction, procurement and sales order management. An ERP system will bring together business information and processes (Kumar & Van Hillegersberg, 2000; p. 23). In this phase, a methodology based on the SDLC will be conducted. Throughout the process, reference to the Gantt chart will be used via Microsoft Project.
It will also help with staying on track with the company’s investments since the redesign needs to be cost-efficient. Reference to a detailed schedule also makes sure that the presentation of facts (of the project) is in relation of time (Clark, W., 1922). In the previous phase, a business plan, charter information and a clear vision from the personnel was involved in order to help make sure that the company is operating progressively, and customer satisfaction is a priority.
It was also determined that the new ERP system will help by inputting orders and updating inventory. The methodology of the new ERP system will be explained in phase 2 of this project. Methodologies are comprehensive, multiple-step approaches to systems development that will guide your work and influence the quality of your final product (Hoffer, George, & Valacich, 2014, p. 4). Possible roadblocks that may arise while implementing this system will also be discussed. Detailing hardware and software determinants will be explained in relation to the realistic goal and risks that may be involved. Purchasing software can help minimize risks such as attempting to produce a system with inadequate technology or personnel (Sherer, S. A., 1993). As mentioned, this will be explained in depth within this phase. Cephei Unlimited’s IT personnel and the project manager are hoping to achieve positive, desired results and with minimal technical problems in the implementation of the ERP system. Background and SignificanceCephei Unlimited is a small, online business that sells gymnastics, cheer and dance merchandise. Previously, Cephei Unlimited used Excel to observe and update inventory as well as other information tasks. IT personnel has decided to implement a new ERP system in order to replace an antiquated data management system that Cephei Unlimited once had. Using Excel proved to be not scalable. It is also time-consuming, error-prone, lacks audit reporting, not real-time results driven and limited in user accessibility. With just using Microsoft Excel’s spreadsheets, there is a big chance of miscalculation and inaccurate data (Tait, A., & Richardson, K. A., 2013).The new system is meant to provide a better way to view real-time results of the company. In addition, it will provide efficient inventory management, customer satisfaction, procurement and sales order management. Providing the ERP system will overall provide significance in the company as well as intangible benefits such as internal improvement, foresight and adaptability (Murphy, K. E., & Simon, S. J., 2002).MethodologyWithin the system, there must be new implementations so that usability requirements can be tested in capacity and speed in order to determine hardware. Once the system has been integrated with new hardware configurations, software determinants in their applications and compatibility will be evaluated. Emerging technologies are imminent when implementing this ERP system. It will provide customer service by allowing customers to provide feedback. ERP systems have implemented CRM (customer relationship management) within their systems to improve business processes (Maleki, M., & Anand, D., 2008). The first action that needs to occur is the hiring of personnel. Training and hiring appropriate personnel whether costly or not, is very important in the implementation process because it prevents or limits the chance of failures. Even after implementation of the new system, IT personnel and project managers must still be knowledgeable. They must also stay up-to-date so that issues that could possibly arise. Staying updated, is a continuous process and periodic training should be present. Within this stage, a project plan should be created. This defines the concise activities that needs to occur for completion of the project. Time and patience are of the essence with the new ERP system for Cephei Unlimited. The chosen ERP system is Kechie ERP, which is a cloud-based, integrated solution. The efficiency of cloud computing will be better as opposed to the old system because it is real-time information and automated. When deciding about hardware infrastructure, using web technologies to determine the best solutions will assist IT personnel. With the new system, speed will be increased within the RAM because more RAM will be implemented. This will make the power more dynamic. With the old system, because inventory management and ordering were done through Excel, this was unthought of. An increase of fifty-seven percent will occur. The amount of cache memory has a big consequence on computer speed (Skillings, J., 1990). Cleaning its memory will also occur in order to make its speed run more effective on an updated enterprise solution application. In addition, within the new ERP system, a hard drive that is updated will be installed for large amounts of data to be stored and saved. At least 4GB of RAM is needed within the new system. This will be useful because it is expected that more data will be managed as sales will increase. Windows 10 is used in the new system as well. Prior to this, an older version was used. With Windows 10, extra security and adaptability will be occur with the new ERP system. Breaking into Windows through an OS vulnerability is harder than it was even a few years ago (Rashid, F. Y., 2016). The old system already possessed the basic mouse, monitor touch screen devices. With the new system, those same hardware components will remain. As the company grows, more of the same components will be implemented. The transference of data is also considered. If data is transferred to another PC, the ERP system will run at about 155 kilobytes per second. Currently, Cephei Unlimited uses Lenovo, HP and Acer PC’s, desktops, tablets and laptops because of the cost and universal ease of use. The internet is used in both the new and old system. It is used to market and attract customers.The universality a PC is favorable over MAC. This is because of Windows 10 needing to be used and because PC provides cost efficiency. It is usually easier to use, and more software and applications can be found within PCs. Pentium III and Intel processors usually operate at about 730 MHz. In the evolution of improved project management solutions many software programs were produced and made available to project managers. Recently, as many as fifty project management software packages were offered for sale to companies or individuals (McCollum, 2015, p. 243). Component-based development is similar to object-oriented development in the focus is on creating general purpose pieces of software that can be used interchangeably in many different programs. Components can be as small as objects or as large as pieces of software that handle single business functions, such as currency conversion (Hoffer, George, & Valacich, 2014, p. 41). As far as the ERP itself, Kechie ERP will be chosen as the primary ERP system to be implemented. Kechie ERP is a cloud-based solution that offers CRM, procurement, customization, helps with sales and warehouse management. This ERP was deliberately chosen because it can grow with the company. As of now, the company is small, but will eventually benefit from the qualities of Kechie ERP. Lack of proper analysis of requirements will lead to non-availability of certain essential functionalities. These are certain generic challenges while implementing ERP solutions. Depending on the sector in which the company operates in, the extent of complications may vary (Ramco, 2016, para. 8). Thus, it is impertinent for the proper team to be hired to institute the ERP system.With Kechie ERP, a mobile application has been implemented on the system through service providers like T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless along with a stable WI-FI Internet connection. This is beneficial for project managers and IT personnel. This will help with controlling and monitoring the system through their smart phones. Also, the mobile application will allow personnel to test wireless capabilities and configurations to check for workability. With the old system, Excel was accessible, but it was harder to control and customize. Microsoft Project will be the main component used to conduct some daily tasks. The team views the project schedule during meetings conducted by the project manager and IT team. Microsoft Project provides the opportunity to organize project’s activities according to their complexity (Micu, A., Micu, A. et al.., 2009). Programming languages such as Java and C++ are being used to execute and integrate software programs. These programs are object-oriented and provides robustness (Van Hoff, A., 1997). They also allow for improvement in process efficiencies. It will be highly important for the team to work together during the analysis stage of the SDLC. Cyber threats can be imminent at this point. Security accountability is primary with architectural decision-making. Thus, collaboration is of high priority to prevent these vulnerabilities (Aljawarneh, S. et al., 2017). IT infrastructure investment is crucial during ERP implementation. There are risks involved. The risk of lacking proper control for Cephei Unlimited’s IT team exists because of the changes in information technology. Adding an ERP system will present many changes within the organization. This means that IT personnel must be ready, aware and knowledgeable of how to take care of this. The quantifiable results in redesigning this system are improving Cephei Unlimited’s competitive position through inventory management and to meet customers’ expectation by providing support and organization of purchasing through its advanced software management systems. Attracting more customers through social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will also serve as a business strategy of Cephei Unlimited desires to be competitive with other companies that provide similar products. Measuring success is an important part of examining how well each component is performing and meeting the project goals. To reiterate, skilled personnel should be hired for the project to eliminate the chances of failure. Like any project, there will be challenges. Challenges should be approached with diligence and awareness. The cost analysis should be considered. If the cost is too high, the project may be delayed due to lack of financial resources. Everyone must be on board with the implementation process. To not work as one, will only lead to frustrations thus causing a roadblock in the process. Data gathering is important because it will allow IT personnel to view how the usability and efficiency of the system. If positive results are displayed, then the system will prove to be successful. Making sure that the process is broken down into smaller, workable components is of prominence because confusion will be eradicated. Attracting more customers through social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will also serve as a business strategy of Cephei Unlimited desires to be competitive with other companies that provide similar products. Measuring success is an important part of examining how well each component is performing and meeting the project goals. To reiterate, skilled personnel should be hired for the project to eliminate the chances of failure. Like any project, there will be challenges. Challenges should be approached with diligence and awareness. The cost analysis should be considered. If the cost is too high, the project may be delayed due to lack of financial resources. Everyone must be on board with the implementation process. To not work as one, will only lead to frustrations thus causing a roadblock or delay in the process. In addition, data gathering is important because it will allow IT personnel to view how the usability and efficiency of the system. Data should be gathered throughout the implementation. Making sure that the process is broken down into smaller, workable components is of prominence because confusion will be eradicated. If positive results are displayed, then the system will prove to be successful. Upgrades and MaintenanceMaintenance and support are important for the system to stay effective. They both should be carried out in order to clean and delete any memory. Maintenance also helps with the security of the system and thus, viruses should be eradicated. Proper upgrades should be installed continuously by IT personnel. Keeping the system updated, allows for the system to function properly. Upgrading, includes downloading any new versions of Kechie ERP that arise. Because Microsoft operating systems are introduced, they should also be introduced to the new system in the future. As of now, Microsoft Windows 10 is the best option for this system.