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Let's Talk: ERP

Credit: Lukas Blazek

Let’s Talk: Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a form of software that can help businesses keep on top of their myriad management responsibilities. ERP focuses on a central database that can help manage business operations, from supply chains to accounting. This can help streamline operations across multiple departments, reducing miscommunication or data duplication.

This week, we discuss how businesses can use ERP to consolidate their operations whilst improving growth.

Jason Toshack, Managing Director ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

Let’s Talk: Enterprise Resource Planning

Spreadsheets or bookkeeping apps are often the ‘go to’ solution for many businesses as they start their journey. For marketing and sales activities, businesses can often get by using free or basic apps. Over time, it might be necessary to add third-party solutions, but as the business grows and more functions are added, complexity increases, and operational data quickly becomes siloed. This often leaves the business at the mercy of making decisions based on assumptions as leaders don’t have the information they need to drive strategic outcomes.

Not having a single platform to manage your business processes or reconcile financial data  is likely to take up valuable time, with sales forecasts  based more on guesswork than solid figures – if this is the case, it’s time to upgrade to ERP. An ERP solution forms the heart of your business, connecting functions from finance to inventory and supply chain through to sales and marketing. This gives leaders real-time visibility across the business, helping them make more informed decisions.

Each implementation is unique and based on the exact needs of the business. They key to a streamlined implementation is to ensure your project is scoped appropriately – consider working with an experienced, knowledgeable ERP expert as they can ensure the right plan and processes are in place. Importantly, businesses looking for an ERP that can grow with them should look at a cloud-based solution, which is typically implemented much quicker and more efficiently than an on-premise solution, and does not require an investment in hardware or servers.

Jonathan Attia, Managing Director, Wiise

Let’s Talk: Enterprise Resource Planning

ERP is about consolidating for growth. It’s the next logical step up for businesses growing in size and complexity or those outgrowing their existing software. Typically, businesses are juggling multiple systems – from accounting to payroll software plus multiple spreadsheets, spending too much time on manual processes. ERP software is a must for businesses to bring together and manage all their finances, operations and processes in one hub for greater visibility – particularly when an organisation has multiple entities or locations, have thousands of transactions per month and have inventory that needs tracking. ERP automates processes improving business efficiency, consolidates data and provides in-depth insights to make more informed decisions across your business. Additionally, it reduces human error and time-intensive admin tasks – freeing up employees to focus on higher value work and invest in areas of growth.

ERP software needs to be properly set up to ensure seamless management of your finances and operations. It should include scoping requirements, configuration, data migration from old systems, training and testing before going live and ongoing support. Depending on the complexity of the business, an implementation can take anywhere from one week to a few months.

Cameron Sherrard, Managing Partner, Acclimation

The past six months have proven that businesses need to adapt to changing operational models, open new business opportunities, re-shape manufacturing locally, consider mergers and acquisitions and more. The stable mission-critical ERP systems that have been the backbone of business operations is now being challenged to scale up, scale down, re-implement, maintain and build resilience or potentially an option that could meet all the demands: upgrade.

For most organisations, the prospect of cost, time, change, effort, impact and risk involved in this are too much. With the local and global markets changing rapidly, the technologies made available by ERP software vendors, such as SAP, to upgrade to the latest versions are now designed to be at a lower cost, lower risk and most importantly future-proofing organisational demands. Coupled with a proven, experienced, certified and trusted system integrator, ERP upgrades no longer need to be the conversation that no one wants to have.   

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Ann Wen

Ann Wen

Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business.

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