ERP software: A detailed guide
Running a business is hard. You have to plan, budget, hire, fire, assess, and do a bunch of other things. These days, organisations have become so structurally complex that it is hard for any one person – or even a group of people – to carry out all the tasks necessary to run a business. Technology has come to our rescue. ERP software (ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning) can help you keep track of where your resources are, and how they are performing. This, in turn, will help you make your business operations more effective and efficient.
Here are some key features of ERP software:
This is the most important function of any ERP software. Instead of having all your data divided up and managed by separate teams, an ERP system will give you a centralised view of all your business data, be it organisational or financial. It will also make it easier for you to communicate with and share data across different departments in real-time. This will make it easier for everyone to do their jobs, without having to constantly go back and forth to get the data that they need. For example, if you are an executive, having all of your organisation’s data available to you at the click of a button will help you streamline your processes. If you work on the sales team, you have easy access to inventory data.
Data analysis is a natural next step to the integration of data. Being able to look at large amounts of data is completely useless if you cannot use it to take actionable steps to improve your organisation. The data analysis function of ERP software combs through all of your data and presents it to you in the form of graphs and charts that will better help you see trends and patterns. This can give you real-time insights that will make it easier for you to understand things like consumer preference.
Reporting is similar to data analysis but focuses less on patterns and trends, and more on giving you a snapshot of the performance of specific daily operations. Reports from your ERP software will be able to tell you what is happening in your organisation, while data analytics can help you understand the why of it. Some examples of reports that you will have to generate include market reports, financial reports, and accounting reports.
ERP software was originally created to help manufacturing companies streamline their processes through automation. This function of ERP has stayed with us and can now help your employees become more efficient, regardless of what industry you operate in. Several companies offer ERP software services that use machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) to perform tasks that have to be repeated again and again. Examples of these tasks are invoicing, payroll management, order processing, and even IVR (inbound voice recognition). This reduces the time that your employees have to spend on these tasks, freeing them up to do work that will add more value to the organisation.
This feature of ERP systems uses integration to help you track and analyse past financial data. It also uses the reporting function of ERP systems to generate accounting reports that allow you to see, at a glance, financial data such as your accounts payable and your accounts receivable.
While accounting focuses on past transactions, financial management helps you plan and forecast for the future. That being said, the two go hand in hand, and you need a solid accounting system to help you manage your funds for the future. You also need to look at financial data from all departments to ensure that you make the best decisions regarding things like cash management, funding sources, and any capital projects you might have.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Having customer information available at the click of a button can really help you improve your relationships with your customers. Having access to contact information and order history will make life infinitely easier for your customer service team, by giving them more context to the choices and preferences of your customers. A CRM system can also analyse and sort out your most promising leads, making it beneficial to your salespeople.
CRM software exists outside of ERP systems as well, but you get a massive benefit when your customer data is integrated with your other business data. For example, when a customer requests a certain product, if you have access to your organisation’s inventory data, you can tell the customer, without delay, whether or not that product is available.
Supply Chain Management (SCM)
An ERP software will give you an insight into your logistical data, by tracking your demand and inventory, as well as your manufacturing and distribution processes. Your ERP software’s automation can help you make your supply chain processes more robust. For example, it can place orders for you when you are low on inventory, or even send invoices to your customers once they place an order. In addition to freeing up time for your employees to engage in more valuable tasks, it also ensures that there is no human error that slows down your supply chain.
Human Resources (HR)
This component of an ERP system will help you streamline all of your personnel management. Everything from hiring to firing to onboarding can be taken care of by this system. It can give you data on the skills your organisation needs, which will help you put in place a more robust recruitment process. It can also monitor employee performance, and help you track the progress of each of your employees in your organisation.
It is, of course, important to keep in mind that ERP software created by different companies will be different. Some will be better in one domain than another, and you will also find a range of ERP software prices. Make sure you do your research before you invest!
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iTrobes is a leading ERP software company that will work closely with your organisation to build a system that will be most beneficial to you. Contact us today to get started!