By Derrick Vikiru
The Managing Director of DSLSystems and Solutions Limited Bernard Kiplagat, elucidates the value of investing in quality when seeking Enterprise Resource Planning solutions
The marketplace for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms is fast maturing, getting more and more crowded with excellent software tools for a variety of uses. ERP solutions are currently in high demand by both manufacturing and service organisations because they provide a tightly integrated solution to an organisation’s information system needs. With June issue of Management Magazine geared towards technology, we feel it is time to reflect upon the Enterprise Resource Planning market for enterprises. We sat down with the market leader of ERP in Kenya, DSL Systems and Solutions Limited’s managing director Bernard Kiplagat. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, consulting and making sales within the ERP space, Kiplagat has directed the development and marketing of several software products that have had a ‘game changing’ effect on the businesses and the market.
“Enterprises at times find ERP confusing, complex, and expensive. Part of our job here is to demystify ERP and make selecting the right solution easier for our clients,” says Kiplagat. “Our ERP solutions standardises, streamlines and integrates business processes across finance, human resources, higher education, procurement, distribution and other sectors,” he adds.
Traditional ERP providers continue to offer solutions such as Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that have remained staples to the market since adoption of ERP software began almost a decade ago. But currently, the market looks to automate other business processes and improve their efficiency in service delivery to their customers. Kiplagat posits that if you are thinking about implementing an ERP solution you need a partner who will consider your needs and understand your business to give a clear roadmap for the implementation process.
“Correct implementation is key. Nothing has a more significant impact on the long-term success or failure of your ERP system than the quality of its implementation,” he avers, adding that, “if done well clients are more likely to experience a greater Return on Investment within a short time owing to convenience”.
With so much of company processes riding on the ERP implementation and use, it is paramount for organisations to optimise the process. “That means taking on the implementation with a clear understanding of what you need to do, when you need to do it and why,” insists Kiplagat. “This basically forms the core of DSL’s day to day activities”.
Moving ERP to the cloud
Kiplagat emphasises the importance of cloud solutions further elaborating that moving your ERP to the cloud is a promise of low up-front costs, hands-off maintenance, automatic updates, and faster start-up times for rented software delivered through the Internet. This explains why software vendors today do not want to be stuck with an on-premises-only product portfolio.
“Instead of paying an upfront hardware cost and annual licensing fees, cloud users pay subscription fees according to their uses, which makes it much cheaper for them,” says Kiplagat. However, different quarters of the market have cast a wary eye on the security threats posed by moving their volumes of data stored for years on end to a cloud ERP. Kiplagat is however quick to note that modern cloud ERP software is now more robust as vendors have addressed earlier security fears and added capabilities for users. In the same breadth, he observes that many companies are stepping gingerly, having adopted a hybrid approach in which they move some ERP functions to the cloud but keep those that store proprietary data on premises; whereas others think the most sensitive data is actually safer in the cloud. But before a company opts for cloud solution, they will want to understand the financial ramifications of switching.
“Big corporates have heavily invested in installing ERP hardware at their premises. It’s hard for such a company with years of investment sunk into an on-premises ERP system to make a move to a cloud-based solution,” says Kiplagat.
Kiplagat is certain that more opportunities will rise with the onset of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT). As more devices and products become connected to the internet, more data can be automatically funnelled into the ERP system, and that is too valuable an advantage to ignore. “Companies should thus ensure they have functional ERP systems that will automate most of the processes that will correspond with the advanced technology,” he advises. DSL on its part is looking to scale across East Africa and eventually the continent.
Derrick Vikiru is the sub-editor Management Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org