Custom ERP Software Development: Is It Worth It?

Most business organizations today are quickly adopting the use of custom ERP software solutions because as opposed to the common use of manual procedures and legacy applications, ERP programs are cost-effective and efficient. The Enterprise Resource Planning program is a system of integrated applications that are designed to automate different department/office operations (product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing) to a single database.Nevertheless, not all ERP software will meet to every requirement of your organization. Therefore, when deciding on the ERP software to adopt, you need to choose the most reliable one as far as your business needs and processes are concerned. In turn, here are the two types of ERP systems:Off-the-shelfThese are systems easy to implement due to the fact that they are developed out of the experience of other organizations (user groups) other than yours. From the discussions on how each of those companies’ best use the system, you acquire information on how best to adopt the system for your business.Custom ERP softwareWith custom ERP, the system is developed based on your company’s experience. A programmer gets to design the ERP system in accordance what exactly you want the software to be able to do and ideally, the process it should follow in order to do perform and facilitate your operations.WY COMPANIES CHOOSE CUSTOM ERP SOFTWARE
There is a greater chance of a company meeting its user requirements when it goes for custom-built ERP software other than a generic system solution. This is so despite the high upfront costs and time consumption to get the system started. You can always start small and add the essential layers as you go by and in the end meet, the target software for your business. Plus, it is also a way to spreading the initial expenses throughout.Custom ERP software is also designed to fit your business processes instead of the business fitting into it, this is somehow relieving since as far as training of the company’s staff is concerned, there will be less of it. All they have to do is make little adjustments to coordinate with the system.A good example of such approach is Tesla, who carefully evaluated all pros, cons, and risks and decided to build custom ERP solution having above mentioned benefits in mind. Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan calculated the costs of SAP implementation in “millions of dollars” and a year to perform all the required integrations. Tesla managed to achieve same functionality within 4 month and much lower budget with custom built ERP. As the result, they’ve got independence from third-party vendor and Enterprise Resource Planning System that is tailor-made for their established internal business and manufacturing processes.HOW MUCH IT WOULD COST TO BUILD CUSTOM ERP SOFTWARE
It is obvious that the cost of custom ERP software development would depend on what you require, the number users and its complexity. For instance, if you are going for a sophisticated custom ERP system, you might not find complete designs that fulfill your needs. Therefore, you will have to incur extra cost for complimentary products to ensure the software fully functions.Nevertheless, the general cost of the ERP system will range between $25k to 75k. The extra incurring costs for future modules or top-up services and tools would go for $5k to 25k.RISKS OF DEVELOPING CUSTOM ERP SOFTWARE
The solutions and services that custom ERP software development is meant to provide, is usually not in box therefore, it requires a lot of time and finances to initialize the design resulting to high upfront fee.Since development of a custom ERP software is on basis of your requirements, to get a high-quality system that maneuvers around future changes easily despite it being a first-time project, you require a developer with experience. Such resources are hard to come by as you are outsourcing.In addition, your contact with the developer who initialed the system needs to be consistent. This is because they would understand the system better during the development cycle: design, testing, QA/ testing, and training. This may be hard to do especially if the developer is not reliable.Despite that, custom ERP software helps to save an enormous amount of money in long-term perspective. You may ask how is that possible. Each company counts on continued growth, including the number of employees, field force, and offices. In many cases, a bigger number of users means the continually growing expenses for the licensed ERP solution. Enterprise support packages are often sold as extra services and are way more expensive than support from the custom software development provider whose support is often included in the contract. Also, it is worth to mention that your organization will be the only one supported for the product which means better and faster communication.So, the expenses for the existing user licenses, new licenses, and support of the off-the-shelf solution is growing exponentially and completely overlap custom ERP software development costs in a couple of years. In its turn, custom ERP software will justify its high upfront costs, because your enterprise won’t be locked to the provider, will own the solution and all the data stored in the cloud as the result, and won’t pay for licenses when new user accounts will be needed.CUSTOM ERP SOLUTIONS EXAMPLES IN DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES
From the advantages of the existence of a software that can meet your business requirements and solutions, most companies have been seen heading to custom ERP system development for the management of their operations. Below are a few of such companies:Oil and Gas Companies
Oil and gas companies have a great plus with custom ERP software development but, it is usually a tragedy if the system does not support the operations efficiently. Therefore, when going for a tailored system for such a massive company more considerations are put in place other than the obvious; meeting the user needs.Custom ERP software for gas and oil companies should most importantly have applications to handling the environment safety. Energy companies are known to be hazardous to their environment and if not taken care of it would cause damage and to some extent shutting down of the organization. Therefore, the system should be able to provide data to the technicians as warnings in case of any threat so that they can mitigate the risks.Also, other than facilitating the operations of the company, a custom ERP software development should be able to open up opportunities for high profit returns investments for the business. That is, it should have a cost management application too.Finally, oil and gas fields are known to be really massive and some are usually in dense remote areas but since it’s business, every asset should be accounted for. In turn, a custom ERP software with good networking is essential to integrating and managing all the company’s operations regardless of the location. Such location difficulties are curbed with high-tech optimization tools to managing all labor and resources throughout.Manufacturing companies
With manufacturing firms, custom ERP system are saviors when it comes to saving costs, eliminating office paperwork, tracking business performance and improving customer experience. This is made possible by integrated custom applications platforms for management of its operations.Nevertheless, managing a national or to some extent international business operations can be a challenging task. A centralized custom ERP software can however, bring light to all your businesses processes as it enables management of creation of product, marketing and availing of the product across all the decentralized outlets. In addition, it integrates all that data thus incorporating workflow and control automatically.Education (schools)
Schools that are going for complete computerization of their functions and processes have custom ERP system development to opt for. A great number of schools have been seen heading to this direction with use of highly tailor-made programs to handle the school management and they are known to be very successful.Whether it is nursery/ kindergarten, high school or colleges, custom ERP systems have proven to provide efficient management of the institutions.WHAT ADVANTAGES WILL YOU GET IF DECIDE TO DEVELOP CUSTOM ERP
A custom ERP software is more of a prototype system whereby you can start designing the most basic and important features and function that you have in mind then later, during testing and maintenance, you can add other essentials bringing you to a very efficient software.

With a custom-tailored system, you are likely to achieve the solutions or attain the services you are going for from a software seamlessly.

The staff is usually at an advantage of comprehending how the system works easily because it was designed in accordance to the business practices and language. In turn they have little to adjust on their side.

Custom ERP systems are usually flexible in terms of future technological or even business changes. There is always a capacity for incorporating any developing trends.

Unlike the offshore system, you get to own the custom ERP system and its design is made specifically to meet your needs. Therefore, you need not to wait for feature requests and enhancements as you are in complete control of the system.
In summary, the basic things you need in hand while planning to adopt custom ERP system is you have to budget for high upfront fees. You will require a team of tech-experts from programmers, quality controllers, database engineers to designers and probably more. Then there is patience needed too, developing software that uniquely fits your business, just like Rome cannot be built in a day. It will require a lot of work which will consume time months or even year.In addition, you need to be fully aware of the company you have set your eyes on to work with because that would be a tragic decision as well as a blessing even before you start. The expertise, as well as a software development company’s stability, is very essential to check while assessing them. Have they done this before? Do they understand your business needs? Are the type of questions you should have answered before moving forward with them.

Do You Know How to Be an Engaging and Highly Effective Educator?

Anyone can teach. We teach each other every day. For example, we give instructions to each other for such things as cooking, putting together furniture, and completing household other tasks. However, teaching someone is different than the process of educating someone. Consider the difference between informal learning and formal learning. An example of informal learning would be following a recipe to learn how to cook. In contrast, formal learning occurs within a classroom and usually is accompanied by evaluation and assessment. It may seem that teaching and educating are the same thing; however, the difference has to do with the place or context for learning.This is the same distinction can be made for teaching informally (giving instructions) and teaching students in a formal classroom environment. A person enters the field of education as a profession – either full time in traditional academic institutions or as an adjunct (or part time) instructor. The reasons vary for why someone would choose to be in the classroom. A traditional full time professor may likely be responsible for conducting research, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach in a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When someone teaches students in higher education he or she may be called a facilitator, instructor, or professor. This is important as there isn’t a job with the word educator in the title.The questions I would like to answer include: What then does it mean to be an educator? Does it signify something different than the assigned job title? What I have learned through my work in higher education is that becoming an educator is not an automatic process. Everyone who is teaching adult students is not functioning as an engaging and highly effective educator. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and that requires making a commitment to the profession.What Does It Mean to Teach?Consider teaching as part of the system of traditional, primary education. Those classes are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is considered to be the expert and directs the learning process. A teacher is someone who is highly trained and works to engage the minds of his or her students. This style of teacher-led instructional continues into higher education, specifically traditional college classrooms. The teacher still stands at the front and center of the class delivering information, and students are used to this format because of their experience in primary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge through a lecture and students study to pass the required examinations or complete other required learning activities.Within higher education, teachers may be called instructors and they are hired as subject matter experts with advanced content knowledge. The job requirements usually include holding a specific number of degree hours in the subject being taught. Teachers may also be called professors in traditional college classes, and those positions require a terminal degree with additional research requirements. For all of these roles, teaching is meant to signify someone who is guiding the learning process by directing, telling, and instructing students. The instructor or professor is in charge, and the students must comply and follow as directed. Here is something to consider: If that is the essence of teaching, is there a difference between that and educating students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an educator?What Does It Mean to be an Educator?Consider some basic definitions to begin with as a means of understanding the role of an educator. The word “education” refers to giving instruction; “educator” refers to the person who provides instruction and is someone who is skilled in teaching; and teaching is aligned with providing explanations. I have expanded upon these definitions so that the word “educator” includes someone who is skilled with instruction, possesses highly developed academic skills, and holds both subject matter knowledge and knowledge of adult education principles.Skilled with Instruction: An educator is someone who should be skilled in the art of classroom instruction, knowing what instructional strategies are effective and the areas of facilitation that need further development. An experienced educator develops methods that will bring course materials to life by adding relevant context and prompting students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all of the interactions held with students, including all forms of communication, as every interaction provides an opportunity for teaching.Highly Developed Academic Skills: An educator must also have strong academic skills and at the top of that list are writing skills. This requires strong attention to detail on the part of the educator and in all forms of messages communicated, including anything written, presented, and sent via email. The ability to demonstrate strong academic skills is especially important for anyone who is teaching online classes as words represent the instructor.The use of proper formatting guidelines, according to the style prescribed by the school, is also included in the list of critical academic skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA formatting guidelines as the standard for formatting papers and working with sources. An educator cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style has not been mastered.Strong Knowledge Base: An educator needs to develop a knowledge base that contains subject matter expertise, as related to the course or courses they are teaching, along with knowledge of adult education principles. I know of many educators who have the required credit hours on their degree transcripts, yet they may not have extensive experience in the field they teach. This will still allow these educators to teach the course, provided that they take time to read the course textbook and find methods of applying it to current practices within the field.Many schools hire adjuncts with extensive work experience as the primary criteria, rather than knowledge of adult learning principles. Those instructors I have worked with who do have a strong adult education knowledge base generally acquired it through ongoing professional development. That was my goal, when I decided on a major for my doctoral degree, to understand how adults learn so that I could transform from an instructor to an educator.Becoming an Engaging and Highly Effective EducatorI do not believe that many instructors intentionally consider the need to make a transformation from working as an instructor to functioning as an educator. When someone is hired to teach a class, someone other than a traditional college professor, they often learn through practice and time what works well in the classroom. There will likely be classroom audits and recommendations made for ongoing professional development. Gradually the typical instructor will become an educator as they seek out resources to help improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many adjunct online instructors who rely on their subject matter expertise alone and do not believe there is a reason to grow as an educator. For anyone who would like to make the transformation and become an engaging and highly effective educator, there are steps that can be taken and practices that can be implemented.Step One: Continue to Develop Your Instructional PracticeWhile any educator can learn through time on the job, it is possible to become intentional about this growth. There are numerous online resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups that would allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that allow for the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of educators.You can also utilize self-reflection as a means of gauging your effectiveness. I have found that the best time to review my instructional practice occurs immediately after a class concludes. That is a time when I can assess the strategies I have used and determine if those methods were effective. Even reviewing end of course student surveys may provide insight into the perspective of my students.Step Two: Continue to Develop Your Academic SkillsI know from my work with online faculty development that this is an area of development that many educators could use. However, it is often viewed as a low priority – until it is noted in classroom audits. If an educator has weak academic writing skills, it will interfere with their ability to provide comprehensive feedback for students. For online instructors, that has an even greater impact when posted messages contain errors with spelling, grammar, and formatting. The development of academic skills can be done through the use of online resources or workshops. Many online schools I have worked for offer faculty workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.Step Three: Continue to Develop Your Subject Matter ExpertiseEvery educator has subject matter expertise that they can draw upon. However, the challenge is keeping that knowledge current as you continue to teach for several years. The best advice I can offer is to find resources that allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and best practices in your chosen field. This is essential to your instructional practice as students can ascertain whether you appear to be current in your knowledge, or outdated and seemingly out of touch. Even the use of required textbooks does not ensure that you are utilizing the most current information as knowledge evolves quickly in many fields.Step Four: Continue to Develop Your Knowledge of Adult LearningThe last step or strategy that I can recommend is to gain knowledge about adult learning theories, principles, and practices. If you are not familiar with the basics there are concepts you can research and include critical thinking, andragogy, self-directed learning, transformational learning, learning styles, motivation, and cognition. My suggestion is to find and read online sources related to higher education and then find a subject that interests you to research further. I have found that the more I read about topics I enjoy, the more I am cultivating my interest in ongoing professional development. What you will likely find is that what you learn will have a positive influence on your work as an educator and will enhance all areas of your instructional practice.Working as an educator, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn, starts with a commitment to make this a career rather than a job. I have developed a vision related to how I want to be involved in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy for you. You may find it useful to develop teaching goals for your career and link your classroom performance to those goals. For example, do you want to complete the required facilitation tasks or would you rather put in the additional time necessary to create nurturing class conditions?After developing a vision and teaching goals, you can create a professional development plan to prompt your learning and growth in all of the areas I have addressed above. While this strategy may require an investment of time, it is helpful to remember that we always make time for whatever we believe is most important. Being an educator is not sustaining a focus on job functions, rather it is cultivating a love of what you do and learning how to excel for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and highly effective educator occurs when you decide that teaching students is only part of the learning process, and you work to transform who you are and how you function, while working and interacting with your students.

The Health Care Evolution – Ten Trends That Can Revitalize Nursing

Nurses are at the forefront of an evolutionary wave in health care. Whether we take leadership or not will determine nursing’s future.These ten trends can revitalize nursing if nurses break free from the confines of the medical model and use their education and skills to become wave riders.1. Aging Boomers
Boomers are living longer. Quantity of life is driving a desire for better quality of life. This generation wants to learn how to stay vital, mobile, healthy and productive. They are looking for guidance in health promotion and wellness, not only disease prevention and treatment.2. A 2nd Boom
Boomers Grandchildren are driving a huge demand for family health information and support for new and working moms. From birthing to family health education and sick child care, family systems need and want professional advice and innovative strategies to raise a brighter, stronger next generation.3. Information explosion
Internet access provides health consumers with tons of information, but not the knowledge or wisdom to know how to use it without getting confused. They need knowledgeable health professionals as gatekeepers, trusted advisors, or health system navigators.4. Holism
People are increasingly spending out of pocket dollars for alternative and complementary health care. Nursing education focuses on systems, whole person, life cycle perspectives that can guide in selecting appropriate options along a continuum of care.5. Consumer driven health care
As consumers rely less on employer health coverage and more on personal health spending, they are seeking innovative and home based solutions for care including advanced home monitoring, telephone consultation, personalized care, and individualized treatment.6. High Tech – High Touch
The need for personal connection, listening, and caring has never been higher. Nurses consistently rank first in every consumer poll for most trusted professional.7. Shortages and Cost Containment
Professional shortages and a drive to contain costs, creates a push to use mid-level and low-level providers for technical care. Nurses will continue to be driven away from the institutional bed side. With decreasing numbers of people in institutional care, face to face professional health care will be delivered in the home and community.8. Accessibility
Health information and care will be delivered on a global, mobile, remote, phone and internet basis. Nursing phone advice lines are increasingly popular with consumers.9. Back to Basics
With increased interest in information and coaching on proper food and nutrition, supplements, stretching, meditation, simplicity, life balance, joy in work, and relationships wellness and health coaching is a growing field.10. Self-Care/Self-Responsibility
People are realizing that doctors, medication and illness care are not going to keep them well. Employers, third party payers and common sense are driving consumers to take health care into their own hands. This trend will continue to drive an increase in self care information and reduction in in-patient and long term care.Tomorrow’s nurses are not working under a doctor’s direction, or in an institution. To remain viable, nursing will have to think beyond the institutional medical care box.Consumers are desperate for professional nurses to fill the need for proactive community
and home based health care.Tomorrow’s nurses will be innovative community health leaders, who develop and deliver services directly meeting the changing needs of health consumers.Progressive, professional nurses will form cooperatives, and creative health delivery systems that support families throughout the life span. They will provide continuity of health information and care while supporting people to navigate an ever more specialized and complex techno-medical system.Grab A Board – Surfs Up!© Aila Accad, RN