By Jim Miller, Vice President of Managed Services, CSS International, Inc.
As users of JD Edwards Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems already know, JD Edwards can seamlessly integrate business functions—from financial to human capital, and from project management to procurement, supply chain management and more. Data entry in the system has some rules, and there are lists of valid values for different data fields (order types, category codes, statuses, vendors, customers, addresses, etc.). However, certain record types (order types, item types, etc), will also have further logical business restrictions on valid combinations of data elements that are much more complex. Or they may require matching of complementary records in other application areas of the system, with additional logical business rules on that data. Errors in this arena may be classified as inconsistent, incongruent, or just plain missing!
So, what happens when we have data errors due to human errors or system processing errors or failures? Because of the way JD Edwards integrates information across the enterprise, each error can significantly compromise the integrity of information used to make business decisions (both operational and strategic), which can seriously damage the efficiency, value, and reliability of the applications. Some processes may not run, or not update the desired batch of records (orders, payrolls, inventory, invoices, etc), and this can hamper the business.
Errors in payroll, for example, can become a major headache for Human Resources & Payroll Departments and employees, alike. For customers that deal with the manufacturing and distribution of products, missing or invalid data can cause significant problems for valuable customers. Areas where this can occur include sales fulfillment and shipping, invoicing and receiving, forecasting and manufacturing, preventive maintenance processes, and more.
Think about credits, write-offs, long DSO, and other challenges associated with late or disrupted shipping. Imagine what would happen to your cash flow management if invoicing was delayed because of errors. What would happen with your carefully cultivated relationships with customers if invoices were inaccurate; even worse, if they were inaccurate and the problem couldn’t quickly be identified and remedied?
Here’s another example: Let’s say your holiday season forecasting was off because of data entry errors. On one hand, this could lead to warehouses full of unwanted products. On the other hand, forecasting errors could lead to a significant shortage of products, right when your customers were ready to buy. What would that do to your relationships with customers? What happens when both types of forecasting errors were made (over and under)?
If any of these issues could have been proactively and systematically analyzed, identified, and addressed, it would have been highly valuable to your business. That’s where Managed Services Application Monitoring comes into play.
Managed Services Application Monitoring (MSAM)
MSAM is a tool that comprehensively monitors data, and analyzes that data for fields that are inconsistent, incongruent, or missing. MSAM finds data that’s mismatching or out of your range of tolerance, and finds places where key data is missing completely. MSAM flags that information, and classifies the type of error condition. MSAM does not automatically change an enterprise’s data; rather, it calls it to your attention. MSAM creates internal dispatch lists for the appropriate people and/or departments to address the data, and also uses automated messaging to notify people of issues.
MSAM diagnoses the error, quickly and efficiently, pinpointing the root of the problem so that the right employees within the company can remedy the situation and keep things flowing. Original source documents and help documents can also be easily accessed, allowing users to quickly drill down and resolve the issues. Corrective actions are also recommended and prioritized for resolution as they are tasked out.
All of this takes place using native JD Edwards tools. MSAM also monitors how often each issue occurs, and costs to the organization, providing vital information for enterprise-level continuous improvement initiatives. Additional performance issues can be identified through trend analysis over a designated period. Conducting an ROI analysis of MSAM statistics for the most costly problems also leads to additional improvements and rules to further implement.
Real world data entry problems are more smartly resolved with MSAM. The clear business benefits are a great added layer of protection to your JD Edwards application.