More and more businesses are becoming attuned to the benefits technology and specifically integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning). Whether it is in providing greater visibility of the new business pipeline, managing operations, production and delivery or facilitating financial and human resources management, ERP is an industry that is constantly changing.
In a period where we’ve seen a huge variety of new product offerings introduced and become mainstream in the SME space, we’ve also seen product innovation help integrate functionality to remove barriers to entry and stimulate trial.
We’ve looked at the market and at what some of the major players and major commentators are saying to give you five ways ERP is more accessible for your business.
1. You don’t need £1million (or a Tier 1 solution)
Whilst Tier 1 products like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics (previously the domain for large, even multi-national enterprises) have become mainstream, they have also spawned a huge number of accessible “me too’s”.
Emerging mid-priced SaaS solutions have succeeded in helping SMEs compete, taking away the moving first mover advantage that enterprises with large budgets historically had. Now the market has evolved, the skill is in selecting the right ERP for your business.
2. You can buy specifically based on your need
The lucrative sales-focused CRM market has led the innovation in products and services that have made ERP accessible for SME B2Bs. Most ‘best in breed’ platforms like Hubspot and Salesforce can now be seamlessly plugged in to websites and other operational systems to provide a total customer and project workflow.
We’re seeing business owners, as well as colleagues in marketing, sales and commercial roles having a greater influencing role on what Is specified and installed – which is a good thing – because how it is used is the most important aspect in any ERP implementation.
3. Better project management on implementation (and recovery is available)
The gap between successful and poor implementations will grow as a new breed of digitally native ERP project managers elevate the benchmark in the market. Only by following established best practice workflows and accepted procedures can self proclaimed ERP professionals claim to have expertise.
The ability to save a disastrous implementation will be a hot commodity too, so we expect to see a rise in the numbers of experts working in this niche.
Whether these people are in-house or contracted technical resource, they are critical to the smooth install and ongoing maintenance of the project.
4. Customisation is getting easier
The thought of embedding a new system is enough to strike fear into most UK boardrooms, and customising it even more so. Yet, the benefit of the size, scale and scope of competing and complimentary products, and the general up-skilling in expertise means it shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Understanding what you want your system to do for your business enables you to find the right specialist to help scope and implement it properly.
5. Cloud based IT / ERP should be a non-issue now
Finally, the cloud itself has proven to be very robust, safe and versatile, offering users tremendous virtual collaboration benefits, team based working, safe data back up and faster networking and processing speeds.
If you are in any doubt, consider when, if ever, the Amazon website ever goes down. You can host your business and its servers on their servers!)
Embracing technology to improve your business prospects and positively impact on how you manage your business will mark your company out in the markets it operates within.
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