If you are a new business owner, or maybe you’re starting off your career and could do with some business-related knowledge, you have to learn more about Enterprise Resources Planning or ERP. ERP is a business tool that is used to plan all of the business activities in a way that would make it easier for managers to make data-driven decisions.
ERP allowed employees in accounting, human resources, and sales to access a unified database to acquire the information they need to do their jobs with maximum efficiency. ERP software operates as a single-source of knowledge which means that there will never be any data duplication and the integrity of the information will always be protected. This sophisticated tool has multiple value-adding features that business professionals rely on to run their companies successfully. If you are interested to know more, below you will find everything you need to know about ERP:
History of ERP
Manufacturing companies in the early 1900s had been using a production system to help them plan and schedule their operations. This system which was known as the Economic Order Quantity remained a model for reference for decades. Fast forward to the 80s when computer technology was fast-evolving, multiple resource planning systems were developed to shift the exclusive focus from manufacturing to include other functions like finance, HR, etc. In 1990, technology experts agreed to call the latest version of then-new resource planning systems the ERP as we know them today.
Successful Implementation of ERP is Key
As previously mentioned, ERP has become an integral business tool that all companies regardless of their size can benefit from. However, these systems don’t come cheap and as a small business owner, you have to do some research before you can decide to implement ERP software. Starting with asking your potential partner these essential questions will increase your chances of finding the right implementation partner. As they perform a seamless implementation for your business you will then be able to reap the full rewards of ERP:
How Much Experience Does this Partner Have?
At this point, all ERP implementation potential partners are all the same as far as you are concerned. However, what will make you favor one over the other is the kind and depth of experience that partner has in ERP implementation for other similar companies that you can relate to.
What is the Feedback Like from Previous Customers
Like any kind of research, you have to collect some feedback from previous customers to understand more about the possible flaws of your potential implementation partner. ERP implementation experts understand that theirs is a complicated job, so they usually like to share success stories on their company’s website and include them in their sales pitch presentation.
Is this Partner Available to Provide Post-Sales Support?
Only a few inhouse IT professionals in small enterprises have the required skill set to implement and maintain the successful running of an ERP tool. Your ideal partner should have the resources needed to provide you with post-implementation support and troubleshooting to ensure your ERP is fully-functioning at all times.
This is a very important requirement in a potential ERP implementation partner and should be enough to make you favor one partner over the other. Also bear in mind that as your business grows, your operations will become more demanding that you will need to upgrade your existing ERP tool to catch up. The best way to go is to partner with an implementation company that understands your growth potential and is looking to build a long-lasting business relationship.
Using cloud technology, ERP has become even more efficient as it runs on external servers, lifting the burdens of maintaining a dedicated servers’ room from small businesses. Cloud-based ERP also allows for several annual updates unlike the expensive 5 to 10 year one as is the case with regular ERP tools.
Cloud-based ERP tools today support mobiles, analytics, and the latest technologies to support the continuous advancement of companies. All of these features will help companies drive down their operating expenses to be able to afford to invest in further research and development and eventually become more profitable.
As you have read above, this article was but a glimpse of the expansive world of ERP and the indispensable values it brings to any company. There is no one-size-fits-all, you have to do your due diligence to figure out what exactly do you need the most when planning to introduce ERP to your small business. Mind your budget and the tips shared through this piece to help you make the right decision and push your business forward.