Legacy ERP-Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are often the most expensive IT investment for retail and consumer goods organizations. These applications form the digital backbone of those organization and impact all aspects of business from automating and managing day-to-day activities to integrating core systems with customer-facing processes.
But many companies today still struggle with an inflexible ERP system that is not optimized for their business. ERP systems can provide a huge payoff and benefit when enterprises have the ability to convert complex data streams into actionable information in order to optimize business operations and drive better product innovation. Companies must adopt a data management practice that enables a modern and flexible ERP system that rapidly responds to customer needs and new market opportunities.
Overcoming the Data Roadblock
One of the biggest roadblocks to expanding and updating ERP systems is often the manual process of refreshing the mass amounts of data residing within the ERP system and connected front-end technologies, such as point-of-sale systems and ecommerce apps. Manually refreshing those databases for development and end-to-end transaction testing is so onerous that most enterprises only schedule one or two refreshes a year. Consequently, development teams are then constrained to one or two ERP updates a year, or they test with old or fake data sets to increase the frequency of releases, potentially leading to release quality issues and data-related defects.
That’s where a DataOps platform can help to enable fast access to production-quality data and accelerate the frequency and accuracy of ERP updates. Through the combination of data virtualization, self-service access to personal data environments, and automated masking of sensitive information, a DataOps platform reduces the time to refresh data from months to days and provides on-demand access to production-quality data for development and testing.
Take Clorox, a consumer packaged goods titan, as an example. Clorox teams experienced delays in getting full sets of fresh, secure data, which made it difficult to keep up with SAP enhancements and new features. Testers frequently used stale data, which impacted the QA team’s ability to accurately test transactions across SAP and front-end systems, such as its ecommerce platform. Clorox adopted a data platform that allowed them to virtualize the company’s data infrastructure, reducing the time to get data for testing SAP updates and new features from 45 days to just hours. Clorox was ultimately able to accelerate release cycles, enabling IT to the company to react quicker to customer demands and make swift operational adjustments.