Perspectives

Does your business have what it takes to survive?

We take a look at some of the key areas in successful Enterprise Resource Planning

Does your business have the resilience in place to operate no matter the situation? How do you ensure the safety of your business through technology?

ERP is an enterprise-wide information system that facilitates the flow of information and aids the coordination of all resources and activities across the organisation. Functions typically supported by the system include sales, stock management, manufacturing, distribution, accounting and customer relationship management (CRM). ERP systems are fully automated and integrated systems that encompass all basic functions of an organisation and are designed for the optimal utilisation of an enterprise's resources. ERP systems have transformed the way organisations go about the process of providing Information Systems and also provide users with a unified, consistent, uniform environment.

Today, organisations face the challenge of increasing competition, changing regulatory demands, expanding markets and rising customer expectations. This puts pressure on businesses to lower total costs across the entire supply chain, shorten throughput times, and drastically reduce inventories while still having to expand product choice while maintaining profitability. Businesses also need to provide more reliable delivery dates and better customer service, improve quality, and efficiently coordinate global demand, supply, and production.

The benefits of ERP

A well-implemented, reliable ERP system is crucial to rapidly identify which products, departments, and customers are profitable, and which are not. The implementation of an ERP system should reduce costs and increase productivity through improved operations and better decision-making based on consolidated data one can trust. In order to attract new clients and keep faithful ones, many medium-sized companies need to move fast, innovate, stay ahead of competition, and propose new products and services. The implementation of an ERP solution allows a fast deployment of innovative technologies such as mobility, real-time Business Intelligence and omni-channel sales with potential savings and additional sources of revenue. For many years, smaller organisations thought they were unable to reap the benefits of ERP given the magnitude of the required investment, binding themselves to "tailor-made" legacy systems instead. The knowledge of such "tailor-made" legacy systems is often limited to a small number of individuals in an organisation. This introduces an operational risk with a potential discontinuation if something happens to these individuals. 

What kind of ERP solutions are available?

Nowadays there are ERP solutions designed to fit the specific needs of small and medium organisations, allowing such businesses to leverage the power of these systems to attain the same benefits that larger firms enjoy. An ERP system can be implemented using standard available functionalities, enabling any person who has experience with the implemented ERP solution to configure it for his own needs. Such system architectures have greatly simplified implementation and use, making such powerful solutions more affordable to acquire and maintain. ERP solutions facilitate standardised business processes which lay the groundwork for attaining improved efficiencies, scheduling, and resource planning in order to optimise the use of capital equipment and manpower – all attributes which are essential to organisations operating in such fast moving markets. Indeed, for the increasing number of regulated industries, the introduction of such standardised processes act as the foundation for quality standards and the certification which is required in order to allow your business to progress to the next step.

All the major vendors such as Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP now provide solutions for SMEs. However, one must note that there can be a difference between what these international players consider small and what the reality is locally. The most successful ERP provider by market share is SAP which offers SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign for SMEs.

SAP solutions

SAP Business One is a single, integrated, configurable solution that provides clear visibility into an entire business and complete control over every aspect of operations. It can scale to businesses starting from less than five users, through to 200 plus. True to its market, it aims to keep configuration and systems architecture simple, but at the same time, calls upon the years of experience at SAP to distil a broad range of benefits to the user. These include mobility and business intelligence solutions, as business systems now need a convergence of such technologies.

SAP Business One captures all critical business information for immediate access and company-wide use. The solution can also be deployed in the cloud and it can be accessed outside the office by using the SAP Business One mobile application. SAP also introduced the SAP Business One version for SAP Hana, which is based on in-memory computing that enables users to analyse their business in real time, make the right decisions, and prevent mistakes without complicating IT landscape.

SAP Business ByDesign is a true cloud-based product offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). It offers a complete end-to-end business suite for SMEs, which unifies every functional division and process within a business from accounting to manufacturing, to supply chain management and HR. The solution is delivered on demand and managed by SAP, eliminating the need for up-front capital investment, software maintenance and upgrades. It is fully scalable and additional modules can be easily plugged into the framework for expansion as needed. SAP Business ByDesign is built on industry best practices, which allows companies to grow faster without reinventing common processes. 

Did you find this useful?