Are you a manager or owner of a business? For sure you want to know about ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning. If fifty plus collaborators don’t know how to communicate well, without a tool that can help, everything can go to chaos in no time. Imagine when your business grows from small to medium and more!
Managing every area of a company is challenging. Planning, production, delivery, accounting, inventory, human resources, customer service, etc. How to efficient processes and communication among all?
Lack of efficiency can cost a lot to a business. Now is the time to improve the way you are running a company with an ERP!
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a type of software that incorporates in a single system the key functions needed to run a business. It supplies a suite of applications for managing, connecting, and automating business processes. It exists to improve all of them and to make information accessible for the different players to do their part.
Daily, companies work on different tasks, and that could mean software to accomplish each. The ERP is a system that already includes the different collaborative, cross-platform applications they require. ERP simplify tasks, automate others, reduce human errors, and improve productivity.
Nowadays, there are many ERP choices. It’s vital to pick the one that best suits your business needs. The tasks vary based on the industry, the type, and the size of your company. Software applications supplied by ERP providers can vary based on such factors.
How does ERP work?
ERP software is built in a modular way. Every module is focused on a specific task for the business to be accomplished (accounting, inventory, and so on).
Every module registers data from the different areas of the company in a database. All data get centralized and available for authorized people in every area. This database is the core of the ERP system. Besides, such systems usually include dashboards for people to see in real-time the data registered by the different areas.
This provides visibility to managers for monitoring, measuring, evaluating, and improving the performance of the whole business, and every area incorporated in it. When a crucial decision must be taken, you don’t need weeks for employees to generate reports of every area. Everything you need to know is accessible through the ERP software.
- Easy implementation. It doesn’t take so long to implement the ERP system (its technical environment), in your business.
- Simple to use. The process for your employees to get used to the system won’t take long. Current systems are really intuitive and user-friendly. Besides, most providers offer training for people to interact with the ERP solution. After some courses, and daily practice, they will quickly start to manage the system perfectly, and to get the best out of it.
- Scalability. ERP solutions are designed to suit your business’ needs today, and tomorrow. This means ERP can be easily adapted to the changes your business experiences with time. Some ERP solutions are easier than others to scale up or down. That is why you have to choose carefully not only the one that best suits your current business needs but also the one that guarantees scalability choices.
- Flexibility. Most businesses can be satisfied with the out-of-the-box functions of ERP systems. Their applications have been built based on the experience of many companies. They offer you the best practices but also flexibility for building specific workflows. It’s a fact that some industries and businesses have unique needs. If your business handles very specialized processes, there are ERP solutions that allow you to add extra functionality.
- Automation saves time, improves productivity. ERP systems allow you to automate daily tasks, make processes more agile, and reduce human errors. Your employees can be focused on the strategic plans to make the company grow, instead of investing their valuable time in generating reports, executing manual updates, etc.
- Update data immediately. To keep data up to date in every area seems like an impossible mission. Areas finish their updates with differences in days, hours and that means, some consider less or more information (orders, sales, new deals, cancellations, etc.). An ERP system is constantly receiving the inputs of every area and updating the whole picture. Besides, since everything is concentrated in the central database, managers in different locations and areas can execute their plans and strategies trusting they all have the same up-to-date data. The whole company can be on the same page.
- Clear overview of your whole business. Data from the different areas of your business will be centralized, clearly organized, and accessible for you and authorized people whenever you need it. You can easily track the status of different tasks or deals. You can also generate detailed reports, general or specific, on a defined schedule or even on the fly. To plan, identify room for improvement, forecast, and make decisions can be made with all the necessary, and up-to-date data.
- Efficient tools for collaboration. Many tasks in a business must be accomplished by the collaboration of different areas. ERP solutions provide efficient tools for communicating, sharing information, and working together without wasting time.
- Saves money. Choosing an accurate ERP system for your company’s needs will make processes more efficient and will reduce administrative costs. Automation will reduce the need to hire more employees for dealing with manual, daily tasks. Besides, the business’ visibility ERP provides is useful to detect inefficiencies in the use of resources that can be increasing your expenses. From human resources to equipment, stock management, inventories, etc. You can manage costs efficiently. Finally, maintenance (patching, updates, etc.) of the ERP software can oversee your provider. This means you do not have to add this task to your IT team or hire new people to do it.
- Efficient risk management. Visibility over workflows, approvals, execution of processes, and status of operations and transactions help to strengthen control, prevent frauds, and mistakes that can lead to fines or lost sales.
- Improve the experience for clients. With all information accessible, clients can be perfectly informed about delivery dates, delays reasons, etc. The positive effect of transparent communication with clients is big.
- Regulatory compliance. Industry standards, financial law, and government regulations change. ERP software is updated to be aligned to those modifications, for your business to be compliant. Reports can be generated to prove that compliance at any time.
- Data security. ERP systems store key and sensitive data of businesses. Providers know it very well. Therefore, ERP solutions include security technology to protect your data against possible threats like cyber-attacks.
- Cost. It can be a heavy expense or exactly the opposite based on your business’ earnings and choice of ERP. You have to check different providers and calculate if it makes financial sense for you. There are different providers, prices, and plans.
- Customization expenses. Currently, there are many ERP solutions and therefore a wide possibility for one to suit your business needs. It is very important to check the available choices very well before picking. A bad selection can lead to the need of adding functionality and that will mean extra expenses.
- Time to migrate to ERP. Implementation of an ERP system doesn’t take long. What can take time will be to upload all your previous business’ information to the new system. Most businesses use computers for a long time. In this case, migration can be just a matter of getting files compatible, and that’s it. However, in the case of a business that has been running for 20 years or more, all or an important amount of its information, is not in a computer, but in handwritten papers, and transferring the information will for sure take time.
ERP vs Cloud-based ERP
There are different types of ERP based on the way they are deployed. When you get on-premises ERP, it is set up on your business’ hardware (servers, computers). You or your IT team have to maintain it (updates, security, etc.).
Cloud-based ERP is hosted on the ERP providers’ servers and users access the system whenever and wherever they need it, through an Internet connection (browser). In this case, the provider oversees the maintenance (updates, security, etc.). Software as a service (SaaS) ERP is one of the choices that has become very popular. You can have the software you need for all your employees with a subscription model.
Pricing is another difference. On-premises ERP can look expensive because of all the costs that include its physical implementation in the company’s facilities- the required hardware, installation, IT people in charge of it, software’s license, etc. Besides the cost that will represent for you, that your own IT team will be in charge of maintenance.
Cloud-based ERP, specifically SaaS ERP, can be gotten through subscription, which could be a monthly or yearly fee that includes the software, and the maintenance. Usually, they charge based on the number of employees you need the service for.
A third option is to rent a Cloud server or Dedicated server and use free ERP software. In this way you can lower your expenses and not worry about the infrastructure and hardware, nor license fees for the software. It is the middle ground that still requires an IT team who administrate the software, but it could be the best option for small and medium-sized businesses.
ERP vs CRM
Now you know what Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is about. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is software focused on the management and improvement of businesses’ relationships with clients, potential ones, etc. It manages contacts, sales agents, agents’ productivity, etc. and it includes tools for analysis.
The difference between ERP and CRM is that ERP is a wider solution. It can be in charge of all the different processes that involve running a business, while CRM is focused only on tasks and processes directly related to customers. For instance, collection of customers’ data, register of dates and number of interactions between them and your agents, deals’ following up with potential clients, and much more.
Top 3 paid ERPs
There are free, open-source, and paid ERP alternatives. Here you have the top 3 paid ERPs. If you will pay for the service, let it be good!
- On-premises, cloud, or hybrid alternatives for deployment.
- Real-time data analysis.
- High-performance analytics appliance (HANA) for advanced analytics and data processing.
- Built-in AI for predicting, and machine learning.
- Capabilities for a wide variety of industries, and tools to efficiently manage internal and external resources.
- Streamlined data display.
- Free cloud 14-day trial or on-premises 30-day trial.
- Customer support.
- It includes ERP, CRM, professional services automation, NetSuite OneWorld, Human Capital Management, e-Commerce. A robust suite to satisfy the needs of a wide variety of industries.
- Real-time metrics and role-based dashboards.
- Built-in business intelligence, financial features for making shorter cycle times.
- Visual analytics.
- Revenue recognition management.
- Government risk and compliance solutions.
- Flexible and scalable solution. Add functionality as fast as your business grows.
- Free product tour available
- Customer support.
- It can be purchased (on-premises) or it can be paid by subscribing to a monthly SaaS option.
- It has multi-tiered architecture. It’s built with five independent, functional layers. Database layer (data storage), business layer (ERP functionality), presentation layer (custom data view), web services layer (abas’ connection to third-party apps and services), customization layer (upgrades are made here).
- Flexibility. Its editor allows customization, tailored workflows for your company. Moreover, it allows adding external software for unique clients’ needs.
- Video demonstration
- Customer support.
ERP is a great way to manage all the tasks of your small, and medium-size business, efficiently. There are many options to choose from. Just clarify your business’ needs and choose an ERP. We are here to offer you great cloud servers or dedicated servers. A suitable ERP combined with the power of a quality server. It is a decision you will not regret!
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