9 Keys to Effective ERP Workload Management

*Start Early: By involving IT operations staff at the earliest stages of the ERP planning process, you ensure that they understand the business processes envisioned by the ERP development team and have identified all the jobs that will be required. They can then plan schedules, identify interfaces, define dependencies and assign priorities based on business goals, rather than mere expediency.

*Stress integration: The workload management solution you choose should integrate well not only with your ERP application, but also with your chosen systems management framework and other complementary systems management applications.

*Build In Recoverability: Job schedulers can be set up to monitor jobs, identify failures and automatically take steps to ensure jobs run as scheduled. These steps should include scripts for automated recovery, where appropriate, and operators should be given clear instructions on what to do when a fault occurs. Ideally, the job scheduler will be integrated with a problem management system, enabling automatic paging of the appropriate person (a database administrator, a network manager, etc.) depending on the point of failure.

*Define Jobs at a High Level of Detail: Workload management tools can monitor the progress of jobs on a step-by-step basis; the more steps you can define for a particular job, the greater accuracy IT staff will have in identifying the point of failure and the less they’ll have to back up before restarting the job.

*Test Scheduling Changes: Before they are put into production, any changes to the schedule should be run in a test environment to determine their effects on the rest of the business processing.

*Centralize Control of Scheduling: Scheduling should be planned and implemented by central IT for the entire operating environment, if possible, eliminating potential conflicts that might occur if scheduling is handled at the departmental level. These may be technical conflicts, or conflicting business priorities that result in competition for system resources. Where separate scheduling exists on the mainframe, it should be closely coordinated with ERP scheduling.

*Employ Change Management Procedures: Effective change management will ensure that events that may affect the scheduling of jobs (such as routine maintenance or a user testing a huge new application) will be known in advance and planned for by IT.

*Know Your Business: In the end, the key to effective workload management lies with knowing the desired outcome. If, for example, a key business requirement is efficient invoicing, IT can then work backwards to ensure that all of the processes that lead up to the generation of invoices are scheduled and prioritized to run at optimal efficiency.

*Deploy a Workload Management Tool: Effective workload management cannot be achieved on an ad hoc basis. A tool from a reputable, third-party vendor will provide cross-platform, centralized control of workload management and will come already tested. Some workload management tools are also optimized to work with particular ERP applications.

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