The legacy of enterprise management systems used by parastatals and State Owned Enterprises (SOE) is renowned for its exorbitant software development and implementation costs as a result of inadequate IT requirement scoping and current legacy solutions pricing structures.
The high running costs and recurring expenses for ongoing changes and upgrades is normally the reason for the poor return on investment.
One Channel CEO Bernard Ford says the lack of standardisation and myriad of bolt-on, as well as bespoke components that typically make up the current systems, are open to error. “They are difficult to maintain, they have high running costs and even worse, security breaches lead to inefficiencies and lack of information.”
He says post-modern ERP systems cater for the global realities of this changing landscape. “A system that allows for the standardisation of legislative governance rules around procurement, budgeting, workflow approvals, notifications and audit should be implemented,” he adds.
The decision to consolidate and adapt a Hybrid Centralised Governance (HCG) model, which effectively classifies all public enterprise organisations into either commercial, non-commercial or financial, opens the possibility of adopting a post-modern, cloud-based ERP suite with all the functional tools required by such organisations. The HCG has the ability and capacity to offer multi-tenant application thus providing ring-fenced SOE-specific solutions but with the ability of consolidation.
“Post-modern, cloud-based ERP suite offers a low cost of ownership that also allows for in-country Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and on-demand provision of systems,” says Ford.
The importance of having access to systems that are designed to fit the functional requirement of the organisation is paramount for the successful deployment of the centralised SOE infrastructure. They must be Web-based, 100% secure and easy-to-use.
“In the same breath, it must be emphasised that such a system, although based on standards and shared data such as approved vendors, tender processes, procurement rules and localisation, must appear to be discrete and separate as far as the user at the SOE level is concerned,” he adds.
Early government ERP solutions were dominated by heavy customisation. The next phase in the evolution was characterised by a move toward standardisation with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology and more requirements built into baseline software.
This phase was followed by growing use of managed services, starting slowly with the application service provider (ASP) model and progressing rapidly with the advent of browser-based and cloud-enabled services.
Over time, technology has become exponentially more complex and costly to manage. Each transition from mainframe to client-server to web-based technologies has occurred twice as fast as the one before.
The number of technologies required in each phase also has more than doubled. This rapid rate of change presents growing risks for governments that manage their own ERP systems. Based on these trends, CGI believes the next wave in this evolution is the Agile Cloud-Enabled Services (ACES) ecosystem.
A growing number of SOEs are turning to secure post-modern cloud-based ERP software so they can stay focused on their mission and spend less time managing technology. These systems are sometimes referred to as Agile Cloud Enabled Services (ACES).
This integrated ecosystem features flexible use of three delivery models:
* Government-owned private cloud – where the government provides the infrastructure on which the software provider deploys and manages the solution.
* Community cloud – where the software provider owns, operates and maintains the entire infrastructure and application “stack,” including the operating system and database, and is responsible for security, disaster recovery and backups.
* Software as a Service (SaaS) – where the software provider owns, operates and maintains the entire infrastructure and application “stack” as in the community cloud, but deploys and manages a single instance of the software across multiple clients.
Acumatica is one of the new breed of so-called ‘post-modern’ ERP systems, defined by Gartner as a technology strategy that automates and links administrative and operational business capabilities (such as finance, HR, purchasing, manufacturing and distribution) with appropriate levels of integration that balance the benefits of vendor-delivered integration against business flexibility and agility.
Consulting firm CGI says Governments are moving away aggressively from highly customised, on-premises solutions toward shared platforms and cloud-enabled managed services. It says traditional ERP deployment models are giving way to more efficient, managed services that are supported by cloud-enabled technology.
Acumatica was designed and built from the ground up for the modern era, unlike legacy ERP applications that have been or are being adapted for the modern cloud infrastructures such as MS Dynamics, Syspro, SAP B1, Sage 300 and Sage X3. Acumatica is a post-modern, cloud-ready, integrated ERP and Project Centric Management system comprising a suite of built-for-purpose components.
Ford agrees with CGI that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is a thing of the past. “ERP software and delivery strategies must converge to address the growing demand for flexible deployment options by function, even when part of an integrated ERP suite.”
CGI believes the time is right for an Agile Cloud-Enabled Services ecosystem that gives government the versatility to balance control, customisation and cost when deploying modern ERP functions without locking them into a single deployment model.