Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have been around for a long time, but as an independent ERP consultant we can see that many businesses are already setting off on a journey that will transform the way we look at these systems. This journey will take many years, but will ultimately transform them from the data storage units many firms use them as today into critical information providers for agile companies. These companies will be able to offer real-time responses to customer enquiries and market conditions, as well as gaining access to the analytics they need in order to discover and capitalise on long-term trends in their market.
This new phase in ERP is data led and is being driven by the need for companies to be able to react to market changes more quickly. All businesses nowadays need to be more agile in order to survive, and one of the biggest blocks to agility is timely access to information.
As you can see, for a business to be agile it has to have easy access to information from all areas of the business. This sounds easy, but from experience, we know that the advent of cloud computing has meant that businesses are more clued up about the fact that buying a pre-integrated solution from one vendor may not be the best option for them, now they have access to better specific solutions from a much broader range of vendors. Company-wide, timely access to information becomes more of a challenge if the solution is not pre-integrated.
So, how can you ensure your new ERP system will allow your business to become more agile?
Research Information Needs
When researching and evaluating possible solutions – single pre-integrated ERP systems or several specialist applications – make sure you consider the information needs of all departments, at all levels of the business, as well as your customers and suppliers. Explore trends in your sector and explore what information requirements you may have in the future.
Make sure potential solutions will be capable of providing everyone with the information they will need going forward. Consider what data is captured, how it will be accessed, used, reported on and analysed.
When considering ERP solutions made up of several specialist applications, don’t overlook the fact that you are likely to need the applications integrated in some way in order to share data. This can be a challenge so, before choosing your ERP solution, make sure you are clear what integration would be required, as well as understanding what would be involved and how much it is likely to cost.
Prepare for Change
The market is changing so rapidly, and we can expect that the way everyone uses their ERP systems will change over time, especially with the advance of use of cloud computing and so you should plan to be able to address your employees changing information needs.
It is an exciting time for ERP systems. To discuss our services and how we can help make sure your new ERP system leads to a more agile business, just give us a call on: 0843 523 5360 or send us an email to [email protected]