Enterprise Applications – Where Will Our Future Take Us?

Drawing idea board of business strategy process of which Enterprise Applications is a crucial partIt is hard to believe that TeraThink is approaching its 14th year as an organization.  It all started for some of us in 2003, when two Enterprise Resource Planning experts decided to build a company based on SAP, and its rapid growth in the Federal Government.  Fast forward to 2013, a core capability was our SAP expertise and rapid growth into the Momentum Financials arena.  Now, as 2017 begins, our Enterprise Applications solution area is at a crossroads. We are excited about the new direction it is taking us.

How Did We Get Here?

Recently, the Federal Government has gone through a period of aggressive Administrative Functions Transformation, including Financial and Logistics modernization efforts.  Those transformation efforts have helped move generally customized mainframe systems to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.

As part of these efforts, we transformed the Financial Management capabilities and business processes of multiple Federal cabinet level agencies through  ERP modernization. In addition, we streamlined the ability to manage logistics, master data, and audit readiness for the Military branches leveraging enterprise application solutions.

A common strategy in deploying ERP has been following the waterfall method. Over the years, we have witnessed first-hand the successes and failures associated with this approach. To date, we witnessed significant cost over-runs, on-going engagements that never truly end, and an operations and maintenance model that is inefficient and ineffective.

Where Are We Today?

As the government has recognized these realities, the general mindset shifted to one of iterative development. In moving in this direction, cost containment has been the critical factor in re-competing ERP related contracts.  Rationale showed the lowest cost provider can complete the same activities as the higher-priced traditional system integrator, who contributed to cost over-runs through an ineffective requirements management process.  TeraThink, as an emerging large business, has watched ERP contracts be driven to small business, or Agency specific vehicles. A competitive price market that has shown a 30-50% reduction in costs through labor category standardization and reduced convenience travel.

To mitigate this reality, we have begun to explore transformative solutions. These solutions will help build on our strong ERP capabilities and help our clients lower their Total Cost of Ownership. The goal is to reduce upgrade time, streamline external systems integration, and develop an automated business process solution to minimize help desk ticket management. By continuing to provide fewer strong term resources that offset the need for more “bodies”.  We are seeing success in this approach, and thus…

Where Are We Going?

To reduce upgrade time for ERP, particularly SAP, our people are helping our clients transition to the cloud, build more user-friendly interfaces, and lead the way with HANA and Personas.  Over the past year, TeraThink helped implement Sidecar and the accelerators in their entirety for a Federal customer.  We also prototyped Personas and are currently working on a Personas project, with the objective of improving the user experience. We actively speak on both subjects for government clients and in the annual SAP Tech Ed event.

To lower the external systems integration process, we are leading the transition to MuleSoft at several our clients. MuleSoft provides integration software for connecting applications, data sources, and APIs, in the cloud or on-premises.  In our first two Mulesoft projects, while deploying our agile methodology, we reduced development to implementation time over 50%. This lowered the total implementation cost of a single interface from the seven-figure to six-figure dollar range and delivered working software within the first month.

To introduce and streamline a more robust help desk management solution, TeraThink has introduced an agile, velocity based model that takes advantage of the ServiceNow Enterprise Application Platform.  We will roll this offering out to all our clients over the course of 2017. We believe that this will be the wave of the future as we continue to streamline and lower O&M costs through automated capabilities.

Charting the Course

None of this would be possible without our ERP experts. TeraThink is fortunate to hire the best and brightest in our ERP solution area.  We possess a wide range of expertise across the ERP platforms.  As a result, our clients rely on us to solve difficult business problems.  Our goal is always to enable our clients’ ability to take over their Enterprise Application solutions independently. This has allowed us to do more with less.  Our clients appreciate our willingness to perform short term projects with a specific goal. As illustrated above, we focus on streamlining your operations through strong resources that reduce upgrade time, external systems integration, and minimizing business processes.

Intrigued by where we are going in the Enterprise Application space?  If you would like to learn more, be on the lookout for details in the future breaking out these capabilities. Until then, you can reach out to us to learn more.  We are here to help move your organization into the future.

[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the blog of Dominion Consulting. On November 1, 2017, Dominion Consulting merged with TeraThink and are now operating jointly as TeraThink. All blog posts migrated from the Dominion Consulting website have been updated to refer to ourselves as TeraThink.]