The importance of having a skilled ERP Administrator

Over the last 2 years I’ve been involved with over 200 separate business that use SYSPRO and what I have noticed over this time, is that those businesses that have invested and understood the need for having a skilled ERP Administrator have thrived, whilst those which have carried on without considering the requirement for a dedicated Skilled ERP resource have struggled. This is because they have failed to identify the need to recruit a conduit that would allow them to embrace the beneficial process and system changes, and adapt to emerging technologies.

The typical historical role of the ERP Administrator used to be much simpler, their responsibility was usually limited to carrying out the occasional client installations, adding users, updated product licences and liaising with their SYSPRO Support Office regarding any system issues. This responsibility was historically left on the shoulders of the finance department, as they were (and still are) perceived as the trust and control centres for most businesses.

As technologies have advanced and the requirement has grown to link the ERP System to other third party products (to improve efficiencies and aid automation), there has been a slow but gradual increase in the skills requirement and responsibilities of the ERP Administrator. This has led to an almost rebirth of the role and reclassification because of its increased importance to businesses.

For businesses that have responded to this requirement, the role is now normally referred to as ‘ERP Facilitator’, ‘Business Analyst’, ‘ERP System Manager’ and ‘IT Systems Manager’ and this role has a lot more expected from it than the historical ERP Administrator. Elsewhere on this blog, this role has also been called the ‘Seeker of Value’.

Today’s ERP Administrator is expected to:

  • Be ‘Business’ literate, commercially aware and appreciate the activities of the Finance function.
  • Understand the Businesses processes, regardless of whether the process falls into Finance, Manufacturing or Distribution.
  • Be technically aware with a good understanding of Microsoft Server and Programing Technologies.
  • Understand the need for Disaster Recovery planning and system testing.
  • Stay up to date and partner with their ERP System provider by attending user days, conferences and taking part in online forums.
  • Understand how to initiate an improvement project and see it through to fruition.
  • Have the documentation and communication skills that allow them to communicate Technical information to non-Technical people.
  • Have the drive and commitment to continue their professional development and train others within the business to impart their ERP knowledge for the future sustainability of the business.

Businesses that operate without a person having this skill set, tend to struggle to identify improvement areas, fail to articulate customer demand changes into a required solution change and have difficultly internally assigning ERP ownership areas. As a result they end up with islands of ERP system users that do not understand how their function interacts with others, they unfortunately also tend to have a reactive relationship with their ERP Provider – rather than a proactive one which stifles improvement projects and can lead to future conflicts due to knowledge dilution and a lack of system and process understanding.

Qualifications or Certificates that help the ERP Administrator in their role:

  • SYSPRO Certification
  • Business Certificate in Accounting (i.e CIMA / CPA)
  • Microsoft Certification (MCTS / MCITP)
  • PRINCE2 Certification

Having a skilled, well-rounded ERP Administrator means that a business can ensure that it is not falling behind other businesses (technologically and competitively), and can guarantee that they are adding value and getting the most from their ERP Solution.

Examples of this kind of person at SYSPRO customers are mentioned here, here, and here.

For more information on the skills requirement or recommended training channels speak to your local ERP Office.

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