Every company, regardless of its size or the industry, has a number of departments. They all manage different day-to-day business activities and process large amounts of data, however their goal is the same: to drive the company forward. In order to do so, a constant and flawless cooperation between all of the departments is required. They need to communicate easily and exchange information quickly to be able to make accurate business decisions within minutes. With modern technologies on board, they can enjoy the automation which follows implementing ERP software solutions.
What is an ERP
An ERP, which stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, is a system equipped with powerful tools enabling your company to improve its communication flow. An ERP software integrates various vital aspects of your business operations, such as estimation, production, human resources, sales and accounting, into one comprehensive system which serves as a central source of information. No matter how many departments form your organisation, they all gain real-time access to the same data as others, which enables them to make more accurate and data-driven business decisions in a shorter period of time.
Nowadays, there are two types of ERP systems available on the market. The first and at the same time the older one is called on-premises ERP and it is installed directly on your hardware and managed locally by your IT department. The other type is cloud-based, which does not require local installation and allows you to access the system from anywhere at any time, the only thing you need is an Internet connection. Additionally, cloud-based software is maintained by its vendor and not by your organisation.
It is also important to note that the word enterprise does not limit the number and types of companies which can enjoy the benefits that come from implementing ERP software. Small and mid-sized businesses can use these solutions as well.
How to tell you need an ERP
Since every business is different and faces different challenges, it is often hard to determine what the cause is and whether a software solution can solve it. However, there are typical business obstacles which ERP software handles and these are:
- Your employees spend too much time on repetitive tasks which could be automated,
- Your departments find it hard and time-consuming to cooperate with each other,
- It takes too much time to exchange information between the departments,
- Your company uses various software solutions but none of them are integrated with each other,
- You make wrong business decisions and miss business opportunities because your data is not automatically updated.
If you have answered yes to at least one of the questions, you could easily handle business challenges and thus beat your competition by implementing ERP software which automatically increases data visibility across all of the departments.
Key features of an ERP
When buying off-the-shelf software, there often is a compromise your company needs to make when it comes to the features included in the solution as there are either too many or too little of them. The greatest benefit of implementing bespoke software is that it can be customised to meet all of your needs so that you receive exactly what you require. No matter what the nature of your business is, there are basic features which will suit all companies of all industries and these are:
- Finance management – where you can store and manage the incomes and expenses of your company, as well as various accounting transactions. It is easier to control the finances of your business when you can easily generate comprehensive financial reports.
- CRM – which is vital if you want to know your customers better. The feature allows you to access all personal details and purchase history of any customer with a single click and you can thus improve the customer experience. You can read more on CRM solutions here.
- Sales management – enables you to turn inquiries and quotes into purchase orders. You can easily store and manage all sales orders and automate generating sales invoices to speed up the sales process even more.
- HRM – which serves as a database for employee records and simplifies time tracking. Storing job profiles and skills matrices allows you to improve the productivity of your company, while a payroll system streamlines managing wages.
- Business intelligence feature – is a key part of any ERP software solution. It creates a visual representation for all the data gathered from all the departments for you to better analyse it. It can also include forecasting which allows you to make more accurate long-term business decisions.
Benefits of an ERP
No matter what business tasks your company handles on a daily basis or how many employees require constant and immediate access to the data, every business benefits from implementing an ERP solution. With such software on board, your organisation can easily achieve the following:
- Increase efficiency – automating repetitive tasks, such as manually filling out spreadsheets and then generating reports, can save your employees hours of work which they now can spend on more challenging operations,
- Improve collaboration – gaining a clear insight into the business data integrates all of the departments and allows them to collaborate and communicate inside the platform and share information much faster,
- Make accurate decisions – the system gathers all relevant information concerning your company, which simplifies decision making processes in your company. You no longer need to “listen to your gut”, as data provides you with more accurate answers,
- Lower operational costs – when your incomes and expenses are closely and carefully monitored, it is easier to spot cost saving opportunities. Also, since you no longer make bad business decisions, you constantly gain profit and thus keep operational costs within budget.
TO SUM UP
Whether you run a small local business or a large worldwide enterprise, an Enterprise Resource Planning software solution is for you. When having the software designed and developed especially for your company, you can adjust its size and choose only the features you actually need. If you are not sure what those are, business analysts are always there to help you. The only thing you need to do is to choose the right bespoke software development company.