Discover the advantages and benefits of implementing an ERP software system
Organisations across virtually every industry leverage the features and benefits of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. There are ERP systems that cater to different industries as well as to different sizes/scale of company.
Investing in enterprise software is a huge decision. While the sheer level of investment in both your team's time and monetary cost can be daunting, the competitive edge earned by implementing the right ERP system is one worth fighting for. To help you make a business case for how ERP can help your organisation thrive in our hyper-paced, ever changing world, we’ve put together a succinct list of 10 key benefits of upgrading to an ERP system.
Like any big technology investment, the ERP selection process involves introspective thinking, planning and business goal setting, but ultimately, an ERP system will deliver huge positive impact to any business when deployed and managed effectively.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems centralise all company data and core business processes. This enables real time insight across all business operations and presents opportunities to simplify and automate business processes.
ERP systems typically have the potential to contain the functionality necessary to support the many varied processes and nuances of businesses. Therefore, they are highly customisable and can often be the full-time job of a person or team to manage, maintain and optimise performance. Usually, third party support is required or recommended by the ERP vendor to ensure the customer reaps the full potential of the system.
What benefits can I expect for my business when adopting an ERP?
The benefits of an ERP system for your business spans finance and reporting, IT, compliance, operations, employee productivity, customer service and more. From the initial benefits such as time saved by automating repetitive tasks, to the ripple effect that has across the business, it’s easy to see why so many companies invest in an ERP. Read on to learn our top benefits of ERP systems.
1. Data accessibility and reliability
The implementation of a best in class ERP system provides its users with the ability for full oversight of all company processes and enables easy access to live company data. When leveraging the functionality of a class-leading ERP system, users across the business can access the data they need in real time and see how it relates to other areas of the business, from inventory levels to global supply chains.
The reliability and integrity of your data improves as it is not crossing back and forth between different systems and your ERP is typically well managed and maintained by a dedicated central team. This evades compliance issues as you can set your ERP system to meet your industry standards and have full oversight of this across the business.
2. Improved visibility and planning ability
With all company data at their fingertips, users have unprecedented visibility across their own department and the wider business. ERP enables businesses to pull highly customised reports that arm users with data to predict and forecast sales, costs and resource requirements. Business-wide and department-level planning suddenly has a rock solid foundation and greater access to insight which enables quicker, better-informed decision making.
3. Standardised business process
Business Process Automation (BPA) is a key feature of ERPs as they provide a set of standard process programmes suitable for various industries. Businesses must standardise their business processes and map these to the ERP system, which enables automation and efficiencies across the business. The best way to capitalise on the BPA power of an ERP is by automating the monotonous daily tasks that actually don't really add any great value across the wider business. This will free up your team's time for more "value-add" work all the while eliminating needless human error. What’s more, the automation is in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week which can massively boost output and customer satisfaction.
4. Enhanced data and cloud security
One of the most popular features of ERP systems is the enhanced security they offer. ERP vendors include a multitude of security features including advanced data encryption, multi-factor authentication and password policies. The benefits of data access and visibility of course brings with it vulnerabilities, but most ERP vendors counter this with role-based user controls meaning people are only given the access required to perform their duties.
Furthermore, cloud-based ERP systems have the advantage of centralised security measures. Most cloud ERP vendors have round-the-clock security teams who respond to any threat alerts thrown up by in-house continuous monitoring systems.
5. Streamlined compliance
Compliance is an ongoing headache for many businesses as regulations change and financial records fall short. A huge benefit of a best in class ERP system is that they are designed to handle an increasingly complex regulatory compliance environment. Your ERP can be configured for optimal regulatory compliance and can even automatically generate the reports you need. Depending on the vendor, your ERP system may also be able to provide real time assessments on your regulation compliance and provide warning notifications or improvement suggestions.
6. Minimised risk
ERP helps to minimise risk both in operational and forecasting activities. By reducing errors and having greater visibility across company processes, ERP users have greater control over operations and are less likely to experience unexpected issues. More reliable forecasting ensures maximised resource capacity management and supply chain management for both surges and dips in operations.
ERP systems create an added layer of control for businesses as they accumulate the relevant data in custom reports and dashboards to run automated risk assessments and predict and resolve future issues. Furthermore, most ERP systems have built in tools to ensure your business remains inline with compliance regulations and help you avoid fines or penalties that can incur.
7. Improved efficiency and productivity
The overarching operational advantage of ERP systems is the efficiency it instils across the business. With manual data entry now being a thing of the past, automated tasks and workflows can revolutionise your staff’s day-to-day allowing for a lot more "value-add" work to get done. All this comes without adding to your headcount and with far fewer errors. The data insight presents opportunities to spot cost-saving or streamlining activities and really maximise efficiency across departments.
More specifically, the time saved can be drastic. With reliable data and a single source of truth across the business, closing the books at month-end becomes far simpler and quicker—a huge relief for the finance team.
8. Improved collaboration
Enterprise collaboration can reach new heights with ERP. As teams are all aligned to the same system, everyone is always up to date, there are far less miscommunication issues, needless errors, and misinformation. The elimination of information silos makes company-wide or cross-department projects run much more smoothly and efficiently.
9. Cost savings
Despite initial investment, the streamlining of assets and centralising of data ultimately leads to reduced overhead as there are fewer mistakes, duplicates, unnecessary expenditure or headcount, and teams are empowered to work more effectively and productively. Ultimately, ERP should enable all personnel to focus on higher-value, strategic tasks that improve and grow the business, rather than cumbersome, repetitive tasks. That’s a big shift in workplace mindset.
Centralising to a single source of truth may also reduce your overall IT spend as ERP can replace many other systems that may be in use and users only need to be trained in and master one system rather than many.
10. Improved customer service
Centralised information on the customer enables your sales team to deliver much higher quality customer service with ERP. Even more so than with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, sales people or account managers have access to every datapoint concerning that customer so it’s much quicker to respond to queries. By connecting with sales and marketing, ERP data can inform and boost customer acquisition activities and automate key parts of the customer journey to speed up the process.
Ultimately, the cumulative benefit of ERP is the competitive advantage it delivers
Though the costs of change and upfront capital can be daunting for many companies, the initial investment of implementing an ERP system is well worth it when your business can move forwards and grow while reaping the benefits described above. As we know following several years of global disruption, the ability to be agile and adapt to change is absolutely crucial to survive. Ultimately, a well deployed ERP system can boost your operational intelligence to heights that puts you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition, making you ready to take on any scenario the world throws at you.