Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the term used to describe a range of tools and systems that increasing numbers of organizations are adopting in order to improve and enhance their business processes. Through quick, simple and secure access to a set of standardized organizational data, colleagues from across the company are given greater scope for collaboration and are empowered to make efficiency improvements, maximizing profits as a result.
Online ERP refers to ERP tools and systems that are hosted on Internet based platforms, themselves a way of taking the most efficient approve to data storage, analysis and management.
Things to consider
Given the potential benefits of implementing such a system, it is no surprise that more and more organizations of all sizes are doing so. However, it is not simply a case of buying a piece of software, pressing a button then standing back and watching it happen. A number of important questions need to be asked, and answered, in order to ensure that the solution adopted is fit for purpose. Questions such as:
- What will the main purpose of the system be? It is tempting to adopt such a system simply because one sees other organizations doing so, but such a knee-jerk reaction is risky and could lead to the adoption of a system that does not do what it needs to do. It is crucial to understand the issues that such a system needs to address and tailor the approach accordingly.
- What information will it store? At the heart of every ERP system is data, so it is essential to understand the nature of this data in order to ensure that the system adopted is fit for purpose. There is a large, and increasing, range of tools out there so it is easy to choose the wrong one.
- Who will be using the system? A system simply will not work unless the relevant people are brought in to the idea of using it. A cultural shift needs to take place, instigated by appropriate communications and maybe even training.
Expert support can help to answer these questions and therefore ensure that the right system is adopted. Taking a careful approach like this will help to avoid some of the most common problems that organizations experience when introducing such a system. Underestimating the time and resources required, not investing in adequate training or not having a plan for ongoing maintenance, for example.
Making the right choice
Adopting an online ERP system should be in the long-term strategy of any organization wishing to keep up to date, maintain its competitiveness and lay the foundations for future growth. Such a step may seem daunting given the range of options available and the fundamental culture shift that needs to happen alongside it. It can also be time-consuming and a significant investment of money, so it is important to get it right.
Fortunately, it only takes a bit of analysis in the first instance coupled with some appropriate expert advice and guidance to ensure that the system adopted works for the organization, and not the other way around.