Feeds

Expanding the footprint of enterprise apps

Who’s being left out in your organisation?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Workshop Many organisations originally invested in ERP and CRM suites to deal with specific problems they were focused on at the time. Whether it was automating or fixing certain processes, or simply replacing existing obsolete systems, the job at hand was clear, and bad things happened if the immediate objectives weren’t met.

Sure, the software could often do much more, but who in their right mind would get distracted when the deadline for ‘go live’ was fixed in stone to fit in with an accounting period changeover, a critical reorganisation, or some compelling regulatory event – particularly when careers were made or broken by the success or failure of such projects.

Wind the clock forward, and the limited scope of those original implementation projects of yesteryear means a lot of packaged applications in place today represent under-utilised assets.

Firstly and most obviously, there is all that functionality embedded within applications that was not enabled during initial implementation but could be activated to deliver incremental value. Whether it is whole new areas of processing, or more horizontal functionality such as reporting and analysis, it is not uncommon for organisations to be paying for capability which could be of benefit but isn't actually being exploited.

Reviewing the scope of packages in use within your organisation and comparing this with the functional scope of the actual installation could open up opportunities to drive out further return on investment.

Beyond unused functionality, there is then the question of the application footprint. Many of the benefits of enterprise applications are dependent on allowing key participants in business processes to interact with the system directly.

Such direct access reduces the need for off-line paper chases and person-to-person communication, which in turn minimises administrative costs, process execution delays, and the occurrence of human error. Yet the limited scope of initial implementations means that many involved in operational activity are still not hooked into systems.

How many employees in your organisation, for example, still receive instructions on paper, fill out forms with information that someone else will ‘process’ later, or rely on phone calls with dispatchers, or other colleagues with direct systems access to get their jobs done? And when other people are in the loop, shuffling pieces of paper, entering data, or conveying instructions back and forth, are they really adding value to the whole process or are they just ‘people buffers’?

The reality is that if you look across many businesses, you will see examples of the inefficiencies we are referring to here in every department and function, from sales and marketing, through manufacturing and logistics, to customer service and support. And it’s not just within the organisation that paper chases and other forms of wasteful off-line activity are evident; a lot of interaction with customers, partners and suppliers is equally clunky, time-consuming and resource squandering.

To be fair, however, there have been some practical constraints that have stood in the way of broader access. The way in which software licensing works has often been an impediment, particularly with casual or occasional users, who, unlike their core transaction processing colleagues, are not using the system frequently enough to justify a full licence fee. Providing access to professional workers to enter timesheet or expense information, for example, or to middle managers to deal with basic reviews and approvals, has often been cost prohibitive.

In addition to licensing constraints, there have then been practical issues to extending access such as having to deploy proprietary software onto users’ desktops, and train them to navigate through sometimes complex and unfriendly user interfaces and menu structures.

The good news is that the work of software vendors, and indeed industry developments in general, means many of the traditional barriers to broader access have been lowered, or even removed. More flexible role-based or web-based licensing has gone a long way towards dealing with the commercial blocker, and being able to surface application functionality within a familiar portal or desktop office environment has helped to overcome training and motivation issues with casual and occasional users.

Advances in communications have helped too. The widespread availability of broadband, together with secure remote access techniques, has made home working a very practical option. This is one less thing to worry about for organisations having to deal with flexible working regulation, but also allows businesses to tap into otherwise inaccessible talent groups who have difficulty coping with normal 9-to-5 office based working.

If we add modern mobile communications and devices into the mix, flexible working with direct access to systems is now possible across large parts of the workforce; a good win/win for both the business and the employee.

But what's your experience of all this? Is access to core business systems still very restricted in your organisation? If so, why, and how are software vendors and other suppliers helping or hindering? Or maybe you have ‘been there, done that’, and have successfully enabled non-traditional user access, home working, mobile working, and so on, in which case do you have any tips or tricks to pass on to the rest of us?

Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Freeform Dynamics Ltd

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.