ERP is a foundation for visibility, strategy, and collaboration. Business management software connects and measures critical processes. Traditional explanations of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can become so complex that the value it provides your organization goes unnoticed amidst the tangle of words. In short, ERP is simply a methodology for connection. This basic concept has since been translated into a number of software solutions available in the marketplace today that integrate the numerous disparate “back end office” systems of a business – from accounting, sales and customer relationship management (CRM) to manufacturing and distribution – into a single interface for value-added insights across an organization.
All organizations are comprised of a spider web of processes and data. At the foundation of every business is interaction, and each interaction – large or small – contributes to the value exchange between your company and your customer. While most organizations have an established framework for monitoring and evaluating ongoing interactions, as your business grows and processes multiply, past methods depreciate and provide less meaningful insight. Additionally, as we often know all too well, teams are not always the best at communicating across “party lines.” As a rule, the more people and processes between pockets of data, the more challenging it becomes to share information that is accurate and valuable. Key performance indicators can provide helpful progress reports, but an increase in the number of applications used to manage these growing processes essentially “siloes” information, making it less readily accessible for everyone.
ERP joins the dispersed procedures, tasks and accomplishments throughout a business and makes it possible to manage and examine the organization as a whole. The compiling of data spanning departments, processes and interactions provides a holistic, comprehensive representation of your business; it establishes accountability and allows your organization to become progressively reactive to situations that reduce value creation while improving proactivity in the future.
The key focus of an ERP solution is to create a dynamic, actionable structure encompassing all areas of a business to clearly identify relationships and patterns in the data. This evolving interface allows teams and executive leaders to become agile and responsive to changing conditions within the business or marketplace, realized through defined, digestible facts and figures to more easily identify what is working and what is not. Connecting your financial systems to your value producing systems, human resources and even customer relationship management allows you to track, analyze and automate workflows and processes across your business. All these touch points across the business are recorded and later sorted, contextualized and presented in a useful format from one application. This will result in customers that are better served, staff that are more informed and capable, and leadership that is more aware and responsive.
Within a business, it is not always clear which processes are performing well, which ones suffice, and which desperately need to be altered. Patterns go unseen and inconsistencies between sales orders, inventory needs and manufacturing remain unaddressed. Identifying how individual practices are performing in isolation and against one another allows an organization to discover strategies for real improvement. By integrating otherwise separate – yet interdependent – data from all aspects of your business, you gain a complete vantage point of your organization from which you can make analysis, reporting and compliance needs not only more convenient but also more accurate. Enterprise Resource Planning is the solution platform to provide visibility into the big picture of your business and provide insights to think critically, identify opportunities to improve and, ultimately, create more value in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Learn more about integrated business management systems:
Alan Clark is ERP Senior Manager with Eide
Bailly Technology Consulting, where he leads our
Sage ERP practice. With more than 16 years
of experience in the accounting field, his expertise
includes enterprise resource planning consulting
and technology advising, with a focus on driving
successful solution selection, implementation,
and systems support.