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The ERP system

Introduction

The report defines what data warehousing is and explains in details the importance of data warehousing in an organization. It also describes the SAP warehousing solution considering it as an example of ERP its structure and how it executes its function. Further more the report gives examples of companies which have implemented this solution to enhance their productivity and growth. Finally, a conclusion is drawn.

Data Warehousing

Data warehousing is a consolidated view or an approach to electronic data storage in an organization. Data warehousing basically consists of electronic data management by way of storage, retrieval and distribution. In this process, the optimized data for reporting and analysis is filed in an electronic system. The stored is aggregated and summarized so as to facilitate easy management and retrieval of the same.

Benefits of Data Warehousing

Data warehousing is very advantageous to an organization. First and foremost, it enables the organization to safely gather and store the information in a safe place (Khan, 2005, 44). The warehoused data comes in handy incase other records are destroyed e.g. in case other storage facilities are destroyed say by fire.

The second benefit accruing from data warehousing is enhanced access to data and information (Kelly, 1996, p.65). Data warehouses have better end user access to the business information because the storage facility is optimized to facilitate easy access. In the modern competitive corporate world, ability to easily access, retrieve and analyze information is vital to the survival of a company and its overall success (Kelly, 1996, p.69).

Another benefit associated with the data warehousing is the ease in creation of reports (Khan, 2005, 23). With the use of the data warehousing technology, companies can easily create reports of all kind, for example sales reports. Due to availability of well summarized segmented historical data that can easily be accessed, it is easy for managers, e.g. sales manager, to create sales reports and forecasts showing trends and variations over time. These reports are important because they aid in day to day decision making in the company (Kelly, 1996, p.78). Data warehousing allows for fast retrieval of data without incurring the costs of slowing down the operations of the system, hence improving productivity.

SAP's Data warehousing solution

The SAP solution follows a simple design process of executing its functions. The design is composed of a continuous flow of data in a warehousing environment (Roze, 2002, p.116). This warehousing solution is based on the principle of three layer structure. The design and the language in use by the SAP is Application Link Enabling and Business Application Programming Interface which is used to link SAP solution systems and non- SAP platforms (Roze, 2002, p.118). It is this platform that facilitates a SAP system to link with other systems prompting information sharing.

SAP is an example of ERP solution. It is an Industry term which outlines a broad set of activities that helps to shape and redefine businesses in the management of vital parts of its core business (Roze, 2002, p.134). The Structure and the information that is accrued from the ERP systems facilitate key performance that is required for attaining business corporate goals. The ERP which means Enterprise Resource Planning is where businesses are integrated with modern technology and business management practices. this integration has been transforming businesses to operate in modern information age discarding the traditional way of conducting management, this has been important to many organization because it has enhanced service with a touch embracing the technology (Roze, 2002, p.143).. The SAP enterprise is composed of three aspects; the information technology, specific business goals and business management practices. Due to its capability, SAP is designed to provide much needed facility to geographically dispersed businesses across a multi platform with its functional units. This has been viewed as important to support itinerant management executives to have much needed details to support their decision making at the management level.

SAP architecture has evolved overtime to enhance a variety of services housed in its individual unit programs with elaborate database, this unit's work in unison under a single umbrella (Becker, 2002, p.167). For utmost output to accrue, the SAP should be integrated with a facility which allows flexibility, reliability and posses a global focus.

Integration is vital aspect of SAP solution, because it brings more benefits and shapes the communication and distribution of information (Becker, 2002, p.170). This consequently increases production and performance in the business.

SAP assist businesses merge their processes from all departments within the organization and consolidate it in a central database (Kelly, 1996, p.96). This is achieved without incurring more costs and time hence making it easy for accessibility and smooth flow of work (Kelly, 1996, p.102).

Company Profiles

Lenovo

Lenovo is a personal computer giant manufacturer based in the United States. It has adopted the use of SAP in its operations. Prior to that, Lenovo had business challenges in its operations. They had to form a tax department from scratch. Due to dispersed and scattered client base in more than 65 countries, it was a challenge of establishing business strategy to meet its business objective. In order facilitate sound management at all level and reach out to its international community, an elaborate system was to be instituted. This initiative was critical for Lenovo and especially its tax department. The objective of the new system was to create centralized global tax solutions and integrate it with software from SAP and third party database.

The implementation of the SAP in Lenovo has brought more benefits to the Company. Some of the benefits include; rapid rate adjustment, accuracy and reduced workload of the tax department. The system has propelled the company to thing big for example merging the SAP Customer Relationship Management application to provide a platform which enables web based communication. This has been seen as useful so that its customers can easily purchases goods using credit cards. This solution has been beneficial to Lenovo because it has reduced the costs of IT support in the company.

System Implementation at Lenovo was done in multiple phases. It was first rolled out in India, followed by Canada. KPMG was contracted to assist with the initial setup and configuration. It was important to contract KPMG so that they could establish the process to produce country specific tax calculation modes to meet Lenovo's needs. Lenovo engaged a standard pattern to make use of methodologies that are currently practiced in the industry; this was done to reduce customizations of its IT systems and lower down the costs.

Pentland

The Pentland Group Plc is headquartered in London. It produces Speedo and other sports, outdoor and fashion branded products. The major challenge that was facing Pentland group was how to consolidate disparate systems of its 11 brands globally to a centralized solution covering all the brands. There was also a challenge of automating of manual tasks so as to streamline IT and business processes to fulfill service level agreements. The adoption of the SAP solution has helped improve general efficiency and effectiveness in Pentland global operations. The implementation of the SAP Solution began in November 2005

Profine GmbH

It is a company based in Germany and deals with Mill Products. The SAP system has brought diverse benefits to the company. First, it has facilitated order tracking in real time, which has added value and efficiency in price calculations and availability checks in online shop. Second, it has enabled forward looking portal technology for flexible and efficient integration of new web services. This has reduced customer service related workload thus giving the company's staff more time for individual customer consultations. Third, it has increased customer retention through faster quotations and ease of use. There is fast and simple order creation, complete real-time information and full transparency along sales and production processes. The Implementation of the system at Profine GmbH was completed in a period of six months.

Conclusion

To establish a proper Data warehousing facility, an organization has to assess various types of software's that are available in the market place. The management has to determine the reliability, ease of use and the benefits that should accrue from the software. Based on the analysis of the SAP Solution and its benefits for organizations that have adopted it, it is a reliable solution. However, its implementation requires engagement of a party that can customize it to given organizational characteristics.

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