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New generation Enterprise Resource Planning

There is a lot of hype in the market now about Web 2.0, the use of Wikis, Facebook and blogs and how they can help businesses gain a significant competitive advantage. While all these are great from a knowledge sharing perspective, they can add to the information overload that many business owners face today.

As information is a very powerful thing, I have no issues with having more information, given also that my business is in enterprise resource planning (ERP), which churns out tremendous amounts of data.

The way we work is changing and all businesses are facing more pressures than ever before to create a real competitive advantage and achieve it by embracing new technologies.

Paradoxically, when life gets more complex, we demand more simplicity. So the challenges for the ERP industry is to help businesses be more agile, and provide information that users want, when it’s needed for employees, partners and customers. Put simply, it is about using technology to get the right information at the right time to the right person and taking the right action.

New intelligent and automated features in world-class ERP systems have the potential to revolutionise business by making it easy to spot an exception despite the ever-increasing volume of data.

Enterprise alert system (EAS)

Enterprise alert systems (EAS) are available in new-generation ERP applications. It works on the principle of ‘management by exception’, by instantly alerting managers to an event or exception that they need to know about, as it happens, via email or an SMS. 

The system can execute multiple tasks automatically: send suppliers a reminder SMS that a delivery is due in 48 hours; alert them if stock levels fall below a prescribed minimum; and keep key staff updated on new accounts for proactive customer relationship management.

This approach is superior to the after-the-fact reporting that most managers rely on to keep abreast of what is happening in their businesses. By sending targeted information in real time to the right person, they can make fast and informed decisions, which can have an extensive impact on companies’ operations. It takes businesses beyond the knee-jerk, report-driven operations to proactively identify opportunities or issues and suggest appropriate action.

Rather than overload managers with information they do not need, EAS makes available to the relevant people information that they can act on. By enabling ‘management by exception’, technology becomes a strategic asset, adding greater value, more innovation and true competitive differentiation for businesses.

How to use EAS

EAS systems, such as Pronto Software’s Alert Intelligence, should provide information visibility by monitoring changes within a company’s ERP data and deliver alerts to predefined recipients as event occurs.

Managers can set up notification rules to monitor their business processes. They can define any number of triggers and nominate the event recipients using the templates or the wizard provided. This user-friendly technology greatly enhances a company’s ability to analyse data, streamline decision-making and most importantly, improves efficiency and effectiveness in business operations.

Further, alert message recipients are not limited to users within the organisation. Messages can be sent to any email address or mobile phone anywhere around the world, opening up a range of possibilities to provide information to both internal and external customers and partners.

One of Australia’s leading manufacturers is using alerts to monitor its large volume of sales orders coming through the internet. It is configured with an advanced edit feature, allowing the user to change the order details directly from the email, without having to go back into the ERP system.

To further demonstrate the versatility and potential of EAS, the company also adopts the technology to create an alert process for quality assurance management.

Business exceptions are costly to manage, but they can be far more costly when left unmanaged. By deploying alerts, companies can free up resources to focus on their business and stay ahead of the competition. And with this new way of managing their business, executives may now have time to put together the blog they’ve always wanted to create.

* Paul Goepfert is the senior marketing manager at Pronto Software (www.pronto.com.au)

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