Is Your ERP System All That It Can Be?
By Daniel M. Horton, CIO, Sallyport Global
The main purpose of an ERP system is to offer an all-encompassing solution that increases productivity by improving the flow of processes and communication between internal functions. This provides a single source of truth to ensure everyone is reading from the same sheet of music instead of having conflicting data produced from disparate systems. The right (or wrong) solution will have a direct impact on tracking and achieving corporate goals. Each one of you has your own unique requirements from an ERP system, but without integrating your functions and implementing process workflow automation, you are essentially manually inputting information into an expensive database. Your ERP system needs to be working for you rather than you accommodating for its limitations. These limitations could range from the lack of functionality available, to improper configuration of the system. Whatever the case may be, modernizing your ERP offering should be considered a top priority.
The marketplace is saturated with exceptional products and solutions that are configurable and can integrate with any platform. The key to identifying the right solution is to stay focused on the problems you want to solve. Do not feel the pressure to only use the modules that your provider has available to offer, unless they happen to meet all your requirements.
The main purpose of an ERP system is to offer an all-encompassing solution that increases productivity by improving the flow of processes and communication between internal functions
Whether you already have a solution in place or not, there are several key features that you should be utilizing if you want to maximize on your investment and provide the most value to your organization. To keep a competitive edge, you should be looking for a system that contributes to increasing operational productivity, provides analytics through business intelligence, automates processes, and integrates your business functions.
A friendly and easy to use interface will improve adoption levels from your system users and minimize training time. This will encourage usage from all levels within your organization so everyone can experience the functionality of the system. A web and mobile interface should be considered a must have. Keeping information available at your employee’s fingertips lead to faster and more effective decision making. Customizable dashboards will allow leadership to monitor performance in real-time and identify automated alerts for trend analysis.
These are just a few examples of features that allow you to truly take advantage of the benefits of a modern ERP platform that is working for you, while you are focused on running a business. This allows your employees to work smarter, better, and faster.
So where does your company rate on the scale of a modern ERP solution? If you have a solution in place that is not enabling productivity and simplifying or fully automating business processes, it is time to reevaluate your situation. Your system should be continuously evolving and staying fluid with the growth and changes of your business. If the proper upkeep and attention has not been provided, that might mean you are due for a top to bottom overhaul or in some circumstances it might be time to see what else is on the market. What may have been a good fit decades ago, may not be the right solution for your business anymore.
Do not get caught in the trap of throwing more money at a product that isn’t returning value. ERP systems should be able to validate their worth by demonstrating increased operational productivity, efficiencies and integrated business processes. If this is not being achieved, bring in an impartial outside advisor to evaluate your situation and provide a recommended path forward. Their specialized background along with wide range exposure will provide you greater insight into what is available on the market and best practices followed by industry leaders. Having the support of the right advisor coupled with the knowledge of your internal business team will increase your success factor.