3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2010

David Browning is the CEO of thinkASG, with overall responsibility for the vision, direction and execution of its corporate mission statement of “delivering measurable value and integrating technology solutions through our people, process and principles.” Prior to joining thinkASG, Browning worked for more than 20 years in the information technology space.

Q. How might a business be able to benefit from installing an enterprise resource planning system or software?

The goal of installing an enterprise resource planning project is to centralize the core business functions, to minimize the security risks, the data integrity risks and the workflow risks, and to create efficiencies so things aren’t done redundantly, repetitively or incorrectly. And all of these things lead to cost containment. You have the data integrity and you have the efficiency and you have the return on investment of managing a centralized application suite, rather than a disparate set of applications for point requirement.

Q. What are the security concerns, if any, involved with ERP?

Obviously, the more systems you have, the more applications you have, and the more likely you are to have an intrusion risk externally or a malicious risk internally. There are just more options. And when you implement an enterprise application, you centralize these things that make control a lot easier.

The other concern is infrastructure. You have a lot of eggs in one basket. So we have in the industry gone to great lengths to provide the conventional security to protect those systems, things to make sure you don’t lose your data, you don’t lose access to your data and you don’t lose access to your systems.

Q. What else should businesses consider when investing in an ERP system?

One other factor to consider is what that investment does for your business. It will typically help you open up some interesting opportunities for supplier and customer relations. ERP also still carries a financial statement value. If you’re an investor looking at a business, you tend to ask whether the business has a good location, a nice management staff, a good financial history. Investors will also look at the IT. The right investment in ERP actually props up the value of the business.