Everyone knows that ERP systems are large and costly. They take years to implement then constrain business processes for years to come. The sheer scale of the applications means that it is impossible to justify the investment for all but the most joined up and revolutionary business process overhauls.

ERP systems are incredibly complex applications and ERP vendors are designed to provide solutions to large scale problems faced by big clients. All of this big thinking leaves departmental leaders with innovative ideas somewhat under-whelmed when their small, elegant solution to a pressing problem means dedicating three months to putting together a business case and presenting to a board of directors, in the hope of securing a place on the capital expenditure budget for three years from now.

For small, elegant solutions to large problems another approach is needed: an approach that allows revenue budgets to be applied in a low financial risk profile, with tightly focussed iterative roll-outs that allow early return on investment; clear and frequent stop points that allow current investment to be retained; and no need to commit to a seven figure change programme.

This is not the domain of the traditional large ERP vendor. It requires a different approach to business and technical analysis, project management, quality control and, of course, software customisation. Such a solutions provider must of course be an ERP aware outfit. Leveraging ERP in an agile, cost effective way cannot be accomplished without strong awareness of large scale ERP and business process modelling.

All modern ERP systems allow powerful integration interfaces for other applications. This is necessary as ERP owners often leverage the ERP system to create better inter-departmental links or improve communication throughout the supply-chain. In these environments, an ERP vendor cannot assume homogeneity, so must open the application to access from other systems.

While many software development houses specialise in agile software development, and most ERP vendors have first class software customisation capabilities, there are far fewer who bridge the gap between the two.

Open Plus Ltd are a specialist open source ERP business who bring together agile software methodology experts, schooled in early ROI analysis and implementation techniques, with ERP specialists from large scale implementation and integration backgrounds. Open Plus has developed a unique set of tools and processes aimed at addressing just the kind of small, elegant solutions that are usually overlooked by the traditional ERP vendors.

This powerful combination of agile methodology and in-depth ERP knowledge brings ERP leverage to innovative departmental leaders, freeing them from the constraints of large-scale corporate strategy.

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