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Review, publications

Information Technology for Enterprises

CONTENTS:
  • 1. Review.
  • 2. Integrated and non-integrated systems.

1. Review

 Economic trends of the last decades, apparently, result in enterprise resource consolidation. It allows them to improve the Enterprise Management System, to lower the costs of production, to get more complete and operative information on services and departments. Exactly the information technologies (IT) are primarily involved in this business. In addition, this consolidation can significantly reduce the overall cost of implementing the information technology solutions.
  The main factor of IT-systems implementation is top management informative support for to allow them making important decisions in a company-wide. As a rule, after an IT system has been installed and made accessible to the users, the company or holding company may make decisions based on objective, timely and exact information. Other results of an IT system implementation depends on decided tasks. The following are some common problems solved by IT systems for manufacturing companies and firms:
   1. Market analysis, demand and supply management, sales and price management of these and other similar products.
   2. Forecasting and demand planning, sales planning.
   3. Production planning and preparation, scheduling (of production processes), material and inventory control, warehouse inventory management.
   4. Tasks of managing commodity markets, staffing and billing.
   5. Procurement planning, distribution and transportation logistics.
   6. Financial management, financial and operating planning.
   7. Accounting, creation of various financial and other management reports.
   8. Personnel management, personnel planning, calculation of salary.
   9. Customer relationship management, contractor work planning, storage and handling of information on contractors and the history of the relationship.
   10. Taking into account all items of equipment and planning of their repair (maintenance).
   11. Master Data Management. Processing and classification of necessary information and documents in database. Database includes information about the normative documents and standards, the catalogues, the trade supplier’s documents, the warehouse resource information, and others. Verification of the database.
   12. Effective search, transform and output the text and other information from databases, and transfer it to other convenient formats.
   13. Informational support the customer throughout the lifecycle of high-tech products.


Each company chooses one or another IT system, as a rule – integrated system. Let’s consider a shortlist of IT systems for these tasks:
  •  For a task 1, i.e. for market research, market analysis, as well as for raw material purchasing, and in some cases for sale promotion – the SCM-Systems are used.
  •  For a task 2 – the CRM- systems are used, such as Oracle CRM developed by Oracle®.
To solve the set of tasks from 3 to 10, and also partially 11 – the integrated ERP-system are commonly used.
 The advantages of integrated systems are obvious, because that allow us to solve any complex problems of management. Among them, there are widespread popularity systems of world's largest software companies like ”SAP®” ( SAP ERP , formerly - SAP R/3), ”Oracle®” ( Oracle ERP ), ”Microsoft®” ( Microsoft Dynamics AX ), and others. For example ”SAP NW MDM” developed by ”SAP®” has the functionality to perform basic tasks on central server, which can to connect with clients by means of ”NetWeaver” processes (SAP NetWeaver Process Integration), using data files with XML-format.
 An important part of this list of tasks is occupied by master data management tasks [1], for controlling of all material and technical resources. These tasks can be solved successfully by Master Data Management systems, such as ” IBM WebSphere® ” developed by IBM®.
 At the same time, there are PIM-systems for managing master data [3]. For example, ” IBM InfoSphere MDM® ”. Such systems allow companies to create a single repository of relevant information about products to support their import and export. It may include information about the products themselves, their category, classification and location of suppliers and consumers, and other information to create data models. These models enable the integration of MDM system into existing business processes.
  •  For a task 3 – it may be required to use advanced control in warehouse inventory. This problem was successfully solved, for example, with ” Oracle Retail Advanced Inventory Planning ”, developed by Oracle®.
  •  For a task 9, as well as 2 – the CRM-systems can be used (for example, ”Oracle CRM”). If it is necessary to work with a large customer database, it can be used a CDI-system in addition. For example, CDI- systems developed by DQGlobal® are focused primarily to perform a lot of tasks with a large client base ( to search for duplicates in this, etc.).
  •  For a task 11 – the programs: ”MEXSY MDM” , ”MEXSY Info” and others was developed by MetaFormula® for classification and testing records in a database.
  •  For a task 12 – the ECM systems, for example, OpenText® Document Management developed by eDocs®.
  •  For a task 13 – the CALS-systems [3], that can be a part of PLM-systems.

2. Integrated and non-integrated systems

 Undoubtedly, the future belongs to the integrated management systems. Integrated ERP-systems will be complemented by new features, new technologies, transforming in PLM-systems. PLM-systems included the functions of analysis, preproduction, engineering tasks, tasks of control and life cycle management of high-tech products. Now, in some cases, company-users prefer to choose not only integrated systems. Why not? There are at least two reasons:
    1. All components of integrated ERP-systems (such as SAP ERP) are OLTP-applications. This ensures proper capability and functionality of the system as a whole, but, to some extent, limits the ability to analyze and compare data (master data), in contrast to the OLAP-systems, which have much more such opportunities.
    2. The main source of information for the system is the Master Data. Any complex integrated system can to work quickly and reliably only if the master data contains the minimum number of errors. The analysis shows, that their number should not exceed a few percent. With the accumulation of errors, the problems start.
 Let's suppose that any Department of Materials services must quickly enter a few records about new materials in Master Data, for to organize and track their purchases. They have a limited time, and there is no possibility to use special software to control data input. This is the main cause of errors called ”human factor”. The most common errors can arise during a tender campaign and bulk purchase. The consequences of errors, as a rule, show up not immediately. But it will happen, if we do not try to correct them. It is obvious that when we have the large volumes of records, and we need searches related to verifying errors, it is preferably using a separate server with a separate copy of the master data, or to do this remotely, using outsourcing model. This ensures reliable operation of the main server, which operates the main ERP-system.
 A simplified interaction scheme with the ERP-system and separate testing system is shown in Figure 1. As can be seen, it is one of SOA variant for data processing.



 Figure 1. Scheme of interaction between the ERP-system and Testing system.

 The Administrator shall make a copy of the Master Data for the experts. The experts shall carry out verification of the newly added records and other information on this copy. According to these results, the administrator shall update all those records in master data, where experts have discovered errors, if that were not removed or altered by users during the test. This informative exchange, taking place between experts and administrator, comes true by means of XML- files, through Web- interface, or differently, it provides sufficient security of transactions and reliable data storage.
 Experts use special software tools for to facilitate and to improve testing and verification productivity. These programs, in particular the above-mentioned ”MEXSY MDM” or ”MEXSY Info”, implemented special algorithms for searching any normative documents, standards, catalogues, special templates, the trade supplier’s documents, etc. That makes it easier to find errors or incompleteness names and trade marks, the wrong classification codes, presence of duplicates with a similar names, etc. In addition, experts can performing refinement the classifiers, special templates, so they keeping classifiers up to date with the current content. In addition, they can to complement existing databases of normative documents and other documents. Users, obviously, also have access to these documents.

  References

   1. The Spare Parts World and What It Could Be (URL http://www.dataforge.com/wpblog/index.php/industry-news/the-spare-parts-world-and-what-it-could-be);
   3. Product Information Management (PIM). (URL https://www.informatica.com/products/master-data-management/product-information-management.html).


 The Continuation follows. We invite users to participate in discussion about the articles and to send us your articles and comments.




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