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Businesses: What can ERP do for you?

In response to the Feb. 28 Perspectives column by Charles Cooper, "Enterprise software: The last dot-com victim?":

While I generally agree with the article, I want to point out a few things the business does wrong. I think it's not only one party's fault.

Businesses should treat a new ERP/CRM system as if it were a new organization. In other words, when businesses put in the new system they do a big reorganization to accommodate the new organization. If they don't do that and succeed, they should consider themselves incredibly lucky.

Businesses have to overcome the 20th century paradigm of asking what they can do with a system, and instead ask what the system can do for them. This goes up from every single employee's desktop to the ERP system. But it also requires a new thinking about interfaces, since GUIs (graphical user interfaces) are normally not built for automation.

Businesses also have to overcome the belief that software engineering is art. Most programmers not involved with architecture can be replaced by a $100K cluster system roughly capable of building a solution out of 1 million concepts in a day--which far exceeds most programmers' capabilities.

Ronald Kuetemeier
Golden, Colo.