Does your business need an ERP system? The top four tell-tale signs according to Intact Software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) or business management software systems, are designed to help increase workforce productivity and boost your organisation’s bottom line. It acts as one central hub to manage and organise your company data and business processes in real time. It extends to all departments of the organisation whether it be management, accounts, purchasing, sales or even your delivery driver – it is your one authoritative version of the truth.

However, many organisations who are not using a fully integrated modern ERP System question whether the investment of time and money required to implement a new system is warranted. That’s a completely understandable point of view. You may be trading quite successfully to date using your old software system, however what benefits are you missing out on that you may not have been aware of?

Check out the list below of the four tell-tale signs that your business needs to implement or invest in a new system! If you are nodding your head to the points raised below the time to take action may not be as far away as you think.

1. You have a lot of different software systems in place for multiple processes

Take some time to think about how your staff are currently recording, tracking and processing information on a daily basis. Are your staff members logging into multiple systems causing a lack of efficiency? Are your accounting staff using one particular system for payables and receivables, and sales using another to enter sales orders? Are your employees in your warehouse using a totally different system to track shipping?

When businesses manage many business functions separately, many issues can arise. Some of these include errors in data, duplication of records, an overall lack of visibility into the business as a whole, and most importantly a lack of communication between the different areas of the business.

Nobody wants to run an isolated business with each department functioning separate from the other. Collaboration between departments can be an extremely important factor for any business. ERP software is the key tool that will enable you to integrate your systems so that every department in your organisation relies on a single database. With one source of information that contains consistent, accurate and real-time data, an ERP solution will increase efficiency and productivity, help your staff make more informed decisions in less time and drives transparent communications instantly across all areas of your business.

2. You’re in the dark when it comes to accessing real-time information

If you find you are relying largely on gut-feel and instinct to run your business then delays in decision-making, errors and poor customer service are probably common-place.  The race towards faster, smarter business decision-making is won by organisations who can make immediate, pre-emptive responses to daily business demands. It’s all about information finding you so you don’t have to go looking for it.  It’s about using the right tools to turn data into a meaningful resource enabling you to pre-empt, maximise and control every situation as or before it arises. If you’re finding out about issues after they have happened, then your system could be failing you and your business.

3. Your ERP system cannot readily be configured to accommodate any new or altered business processes

The way you run your business is often what makes you…you!  It is not unreasonable therefore to assume your software system should enable you to maintain (and we believe enhance) your competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, some systems are too rigid to do what you want them to do. Customisation or configuration of an ERP system was historically deemed to be a negative with businesses pushed into taking out of the box ERP solutions and moulding their business processes to fit. It was a case of….”You can have any colour you want as long as its black.” Henry Ford, c.1920.

Whilst certain legacy ERP systems still operate in this fashion systems like Intact iQ were created to ensure the unique business processes that allow companies to stand out from the competition could be accommodated in their system. The really clever trick is that the configuration capabilities within Intact iQ actually enable businesses to customise certain elements of the software themselves.

Why is this a good thing?

It means you don’t have to rely on your ERP provider to make all of the changes you require, which is obviously a faster and cheaper solution for today’s modern business.

4. You’re running on outdated technology

You may be trying very hard to run your business as efficiently as possible but could be struggling to bring disparate systems seamlessly together. Or you might be questioning your system’s capability to handle future growth potential or its ability to embrace new technologies such as mobile, e-commerce, business intelligence etc. Indeed, if your system is quite old it may be starting to creak making it slow and cumbersome for your staff to use therefore negatively impacting customer service levels. Technology moves fast, and the loss of efficient processes is a hidden cost of time and money that nobody wants. It redirects resources into maintenance instead of allowing you to focus that money and energy on solving real problems.

As software systems continue to develop and modernise, today’s businesses have become unrecognisable from those of ten or twenty years ago. While traditional ERP applications have served us well, their built-in limitations, ageing capabilities and difficulties linking to 3rd party applications have often seen them unable to evolve with changing business requirements. So be careful not to hold on to old technology which you might find, to your cost, can’t begin to keep up with today’s modern and flexible systems.

It is important to take a step back from your daily routine to take an objective view of your current software systems. Most businesses don’t want to move on from their current systems too early, and that’s a prudent course of action. However, once the issues above start becoming more common, productivity and profitability will both start to suffer. Given how critical ERP is to your business, developing a plan of action and budgeting for a new system is an effective approach to take.

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