What is ERP software, then? is a question we love to answer. We spend a lot of time talking about ERP software, and to us the benefits seem obvious, but sometimes we meet businesses who have yet to implement their first full back-office solution. So, in this blog post we’re aiming to go back to basics and answer what is ERP, and what can it do for you?
What is ERP Software?
To start at the beginning, ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. It is software that manages your business processes, creates communication between departments and unites your data in the same (or integrated) applications. It is a prominent part of the strategic planning of the business and acts as the central knowledge base across departments. We like to think it allows everyone in the business to “sing from the same song sheet.”
What are the benefits?
There are too many to fit in one blog, so here’s our top 6:
- Automation of processes – ERP software makes your life simpler by automating processes, tidying up standard routines and streamlining affiliated tasks.
- Communication between departments – by storing all your business data in the same system your team can view the information they need in the same application, without moving between systems.
- Increased efficiency across the business – both of the above benefits make for a tidier, more seamless workplace when it comes to time spent on administrative tasks.
- Clearer visibility of business performance –business Intelligence is a crucial part of more modern ERP software and will make it much easier to view the current state of play when you need to.
- Standardise work processes – an advantage to smart software is it can be set up to keep important routines in place on your behalf, encouraging consistency among team members.
When should I start looking?
This is a tricky question to answer. We have worked with companies at all different stages; those steadfastly described as “not looking” but keen to find out more about our solutions; those already experiencing pain from their current setup but not sure that it’s time to get serious about finding a solution; and those who come armed with a wish list.
If you are aware that your current setup is starting to feel dated, and you’re beginning to jot notes down the side of your page during meetings about information you would like easier access to, or streamlining specific processes, or encouraging collaboration between departments then these are the first alerts that you should start doing your research.
The next stage of the ERP software process lies in the remit of those who are involved with the strategic planning of the business. If you have an idea of when you would like your new system to be in place, then work backwards from that date – factoring in time for audits, sign off, implementation, training etc. To get a better idea of these timescales, give us a call.
Where do I start?
If you want guidance on specific questions to ask when approaching ERP software partners, read our series of articles from Managing Director George Troullis here.
Any final words of advice for me?
Take the time to explain to your entire team why you are making these changes to the way the business works. You might not think that it’s necessary to do this when you see the many benefits that can come from installing a new ERP solution, but trust us when we say that knowing your team understand why you are taking on these changes will be an essential part of measuring success in your new system.