4 examples of how to best use ERP configuration tools

It should be understood at the outset that there are differences between ERP configuration and customization. In the former case, configuration tools typically apply to the “form” management of user experience, where customization elements apply to the granular creation of “functional” sub-systems that directly impact system processes.

While it is accepted these internal components generally operate in concert, when considering how best to utilize ERP configuration, context is important. This is particularly true when trying to finalize the best configuration, since if one doesn’t understand differences between “form” and “function” elements, it is likely that other necessary management requirements can be missed.

1. Requirement assessment

Requirement tools establish and describe various ERP system rules that accrue to “how” a platform behaves, depending on overall business requirements and constraints. Some assessed elements apply to behaviors associated with enterprise business goals; others apply to overall administrative goal-sets; financial management and cash management, or when a platform is designed to consolidate or accommodate a complex of divisional interests. An example of this in practice would be the definition of production rules for automated financial reports.

Recommended reading: ERP implementation: 11 steps to success

2. Environment

ERP configurations for a particular “environment” represent the central control point for a system’s technical processes. This toolset operates in parallel with a system’s requirement assessment level, and is frequently seen to be a “customization”, however, as a matter of practicality, it isn’t. This mid-level configuration supports the preceding requirement level directly, by setting overall operating priorities, and consequent processing qualities. Sticking with our financial example, an environment configuration may involved the definition of permitted currencies within financial reports at specific company locations.

3. Configuration enhancement

In the case of configuration enhancement, the optimization of even lower-level processes applies. These include elements such as how internal/external databases interact; how a system behaves when working with various integrated modules; how standards are to be applied; what system “rules” apply when validating quality assurance, or what/when automated maintenance schedules trigger.

4. Data import

Import tools are just that; the configuration and management of system rules associated with how and when raw data is pulled from the outside world, filtered internally, and subsequently delivered to variously targeted databases or reporting modules.

Together, these ERP configuration elements serve as an efficient complex of administrative and operating doctrines that establish and ultimately control the overarching behavior of an ERP platform in real-time. For example, if various business pressures call for an enterprise to alter its market or operating focus, configuration tools exist as an overarching set of management values, that speed changes holistically and with a minimum of effort and cost. Therefore, they exist as the “brains of the operation” and as such are critical to the efficiency of any ERP platform.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton