Un­lock­ing ERP: the past, present and the fu­ture

the past, the present and the fu­ture

Business First - - CONTENTS - By David Jack­man

To­day, busi­ness di­rec­tors need to work hand in hand with their CIOs and IT teams to de­velop busi­ness-fo­cused strate­gies that em­brace tech­nol­ogy that de­liv­ers com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage. All too of­ten, I come across busi­ness lead­ers who lack un­der­stand­ing in the soft­ware and IT in­fra­struc­ture be­ing utilised or avail­able to their or­gan­i­sa­tions, leav­ing this part of the busi­ness for CFOs, CIOs and IT man­agers to lead the charge writes David Jack­man.

Acore tech­nol­ogy for businesses across in­dus­try sec­tors is En­ter­prise Re­source Plan­ning (ERP) soft­ware, one that has been fa­cil­i­tat­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions for decades and un­der­gone sig­nif­i­cant trans­for­ma­tion in re­cent years. ERP has evolved from be­ing viewed as a purely back of­fice ap­pli­ca­tion to now op­er­at­ing as a strate­gic busi­ness man­age­ment plat­form that en­com­passes all ar­eas of an or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In this piece, I’ll pull back the cur­tain of­ten draped over ERP and break down the bones of its core func­tion­al­ity, as well as ex­plore its trans­for­ma­tion over time, and pre­dict where this re­mark­able plat­form is head­ing.

Break­ing down ERP

In or­der to best un­der­stand how ERP so­lu­tions can ben­e­fit and en­hance a busi­ness, an un­der­stand­ing of how ERP works is cru­cial. First of all, step back and think about all the var­i­ous pro­cesses that make up the ta­pes­try of your busi­ness op­er­a­tions and what in­for­ma­tion you need to make de­ci­sions.

Daily pro­cesses are var­ied pend­ing in­dus­try fo­cus, for in­stance, from pay­roll, pur­chase or­ders and in­ven­tory man­age­ment to point of sale, CRM, and fore­cast­ing. Broadly speak­ing, ERP soft­ware ties var­i­ous busi­ness

func­tions and ap­pli­ca­tions into a seam­less sys­tem that helps fos­ter more ef­fec­tive­ness by stream­lin­ing op­er­a­tions and en­hanc­ing ef­fi­ciency across the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In essence, I see three clear busi­ness ben­e­fits when it comes to im­ple­ment­ing mod­ern busi­ness man­age­ment soft­ware: Pro­duc­tiv­ity gains through au­to­ma­tion: By au­tomat­ing pro­cesses that are com­monly time in­ten­sive and repet­i­tive, and do not re­quire manda­tory man­ual labour, ERP al­lows staff to be more ef­fi­cient, ac­cu­rate and spend their time on tasks that truly re­quire their ex­per­tise. It also elim­i­nates any dou­ble-han­dling of tasks, driv­ing more ef­fec­tive use of re­sources across the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion. Real-time vis­i­bil­ity into the busi­ness: A su­pe­rior ERP sys­tem moves be­yond just the in­ter­nal op­er­a­tions of a busi­ness, but ex­tends out­side an or­gan­i­sa­tion to in­te­grate with sup­plier and cus­tomer sys­tems and re­veal real-time in­sights. En­abling third party in­te­gra­tion: Seam­less con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions has be­come crit­i­cal, es­pe­cially for or­gan­i­sa­tions with a mo­bile work­force. There is strong de­mand for core busi­ness man­age­ment soft­ware to in­te­grate with and ex­tend any other web-en­abled soft­ware.

In­creas­ing trans­parency into op­er­a­tions

The trans­for­ma­tion of ERP has been dra­matic and now deeply in­ter­twined with Busi­ness In­tel­li­gence (BI). We are see­ing our clients ex­pe­ri­ence sig­nif­i­cant gains by in­creas­ing trans­parency into op­er­a­tions through their busi­ness man­age­ment so­lu­tion. ERP in­te­grated with BI means that the reams of data be­ing ac­cu­mu­lated daily from all cor­ners of an or­gan­i­sa­tion, can be di­gested into some­thing mean­ing­ful for people to take ac­tion.

Tra­di­tion­ally, BI has only been made avail­able to a few people in a busi­ness, with only se­nior man­agers and key people at higher lev­els of an en­ter­prise able to ac­cess and an­a­lyse the data. At Pronto Soft­ware we are see­ing de­mand from many businesses to pro­vide staff at all lev­els with full ac­cess to BI and to be able to ex­tract and an­a­lyse in­for­ma­tion to help them make smart de­ci­sions, max­imis­ing busi­ness suc­cess.

For in­stance, if you’re a re­tailer and can see the real-time daily sales, you can bet­ter pre­dict and en­sure the ap­pro­pri­ate stock is in each store. Al­ter­na­tively, if a par­tic­u­lar item is prompt­ing a high num­ber of re­pair re­quire­ments, se­nior man­age­ment can make an in­formed de­ci­sion as to whether the item should be taken from shelves, to avoid fur­ther cus­tomer com­plaints.

As pow­er­ful as BI is for de­liv­er­ing im­me­di­ate in­sight into busi­ness per­for­mance, it re­lies on the level of in­te­gra­tion of the BI and ERP sys­tems. Some sys­tems, like Pronto Xi, come with the ERP data for BI us­age, out-of-the-box.

This means that you can start build­ing your re­ports, dash­boards and an­a­lyt­ics in­stantly with­out hav­ing to un­der­stand the ERP data­base struc­ture. This is an enor­mous time and money saver as the high­est cost in a BI im­ple­men­ta­tion is the map­ping of the data, usu­ally done by con­sul­tants, and the on­go­ing cost of in­ter­fac­ing two sys­tems with dif­fer­ent up­grade cy­cles.

Mo­bile ac­cess, any­where

Most in­di­vid­u­als have be­come ac­cus­tomed to con­sum­ing in­for­ma­tion such as email, news and so­cial net­works on their mo­bile de­vices. Now, de­ci­sion mak­ers are de­mand­ing their busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions and data sets are just as ac­ces­si­ble.

Re­cent re­search by IDC found 74% of com­pa­nies are in­creas­ing their spend on mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­ploy­ments, plat­forms and ap­pli­ca­tion life­cy­cle strate­gies in 2014. It’s a trend that tran­scends in­dus­tries, from the trav­el­ling sales­per­son ac­cess­ing or­ders and sales data from the road, to ware­house man­agers up­dat­ing in­ven­tory num­bers on the floor. The key is pro­vid­ing in­stant ac­cess to crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion no mat­ter the lo­ca­tion.

Cloud busi­ness man­age­ment

Cen­tral to op­er­at­ing in a mo­bile busi­ness world is a re­liance on Cloud tech­nol­ogy. Cloud has been a tech­nol­ogy buzz­word for sev­eral years now, and while it’s not a new term, its im­pact on the world of ERP is sig­nif­i­cant.

Most com­pa­nies own and man­age their ERP im­ple­men­ta­tion on-premise but ERP can also be de­liv­ered via the cloud for those look­ing for a lower up­front in­vest­ment. Cloud ERP lets the ven­dor man­age the soft­ware and in­fra­struc­ture re­motely, which is a huge ben­e­fit to those with­out an in-house IT team.

By se­lect­ing a so­lu­tion that of­fers flex­i­bil­ity in de­liv­ery, in­clud­ing on-premise, cloud or hosted, users have the op­por­tu­nity to im­ple­ment and ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on the plat­form of their choice.

The fu­ture of ERP

The in­te­gra­tion of ERP and BI has evolved to be­come an in­tu­itive plat­form that en­ables real-time ac­cess to fos­ter faster, in­formed de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Through flex­i­ble and tai­lored so­lu­tions such as Pronto, businesses can now cre­ate a be­spoke sys­tem, cus­tomised to the spe­cific needs of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. With the rise of mo­bil­ity, born from a re­liance on smart­phones and tablet de­vices, and an in­creas­ing fo­cus on cost-sav­ing and ef­fi­ciency, the fu­ture of ERP is dy­namic and ex­cit­ing.

Af­ter all, gone are the days of rigid sys­tems where the busi­ness was forced to com­ply with the way a so­lu­tion was built. To­day, the con­sumeri­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy has changed the way em­ploy­ees en­gage with IT in the workplace and our clients are de­mand­ing flex­i­ble, ag­ile so­lu­tions to meet these needs. In­creas­ingly, mo­bile de­vices and cloud tech­nol­ogy will be fron­tier plat­forms for the way businesses ac­cess and in­ter­act with ERP and BI sys­tems.

David has more than 30 years busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy ex­pe­ri­ence span­ning C-level roles, recog­nised as an ex­pert in gen­er­at­ing busi­ness value from IT in­vest­ments. Since join­ing Pronto Soft­ware in 2000, David has dou­bled the com­pany’s prof­its and ex­panded the busi­ness into new, in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in­clud­ing the US, Canada and PNG. www.pronto.net.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.