By Mark Wilson
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a transformative technology for any company. Properly chosen ERP software can help you to organise, automate and improve your business. Unfortunately, choosing such kind of software randomly, you risk wasting money without boosting your business.
ERP software allows organisations to become more flexible and efficient by making data-based decisions. They combine business processes in a hub from where you can easily manage your entire business. However, ERP adoption and implementation can have a wide range of outcomes, which is why there are many misconceptions, truths and myths around this business software.
There are many misconceptions that some organisations have. They think that their business is not complex enough to warrant an entire ERP to be made just for them. It’s not the case since there is no such thing as a simple business. Each has enough complex processes to streamline and improve.
Another misconception that ERP software is suitable only for large organisations or organisations within resource intense industries, such as manufacturing, food & beverage or distribution. The truth is that even small and medium businesses can benefit from using ERP solution, and even more if it has been customised for their organisation.
Myth: An ERP needs to be implemented all at once
Gartner has coined the term “postmodern ERP” which is the next logical step in the evolution of this technology. This means that different modules these systems have can be replaced as they become outdated or redundant. This option allows improving the used business processes without spending resources on development and deployment of an entirely new software solution. Instead of that, you can add new modules to the application that is already in use and carry out concomitant customisation if needed.
Customisation has long been a feature of ERP deployments, which is perfectly aligned to the flexibility and agility expected of these software solutions. Typically, as businesses embark on the ERP implementation journey, they realise that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the best answer to their needs. Such systems have a modular architecture and can be modified as business changes, following the increasing complexity.
By adding key business functions or support capabilities, they begin to customise the ERP platform to reflect and meet their unique business needs – which, naturally, will not be the same as those of any other business. Even the sequence of implementation will be unique and create a unique offering.
Myth: ERP must always fit existing business processes
The truth is that organisations often rush into automating previous processes often out of habit but more often due to poor planning. Organisation should be thinking about their ERP implementation as an opportunity to conduct a full review of their business processes – and be open to changes. The importance of this review cannot be underestimated. Many companies skip this step and wonder why they end up with an ERP that seems to simply replicate what they were doing in the past.
An ERP can be implemented in stages to ensure that you can comfortably and efficiently use all the tools and processes. This configuration is not about changing your business processes and workflows, but rather, it’s about adapting your chosen ERP solution to your organisation so that your organisation continues to work in the same way – only faster, leaner and smarter. Such solution can help to increase the efficiency of analysis, improve reporting, and allow making better business decisions without interrupting any business processes.
All businesses look for growth. With a custom solution, you won’t outgrow your software. Instead, it serves as a foundation with extra features developed when you start to need them. You can always reconfigure it down the line.
A custom ERP development solves numerous business problems. They suit your specific industry and fit the workflow of your company. This technology overhauls the internal processes and makes them measurably more efficient if not completely automated.
(Mark Wilson is the CEO, SYSPRO EMEA&I).