The apparent seriousness that the name Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software implies should not confuse one. Even if you run a modest logistics business in a small town, you can benefit from adopting an ERP app. Such software can cover all your needs, from saving fuel for your vehicles to improving customer relationships. The question is how to implement such a system with minimal risks. Startups and small businesses are usually on a tight budget and can’t afford the luxury of investing in areas of development that may or may not pay off in the future. A reliable ERP system is a cornerstone of modern business and therefore its creation requires scrupulous planning. Today, we’ll share some tips that will help you implement and adopt an ERP system successfully.
Is It Really Necessary to Build a New ERP Solution
Even if your company doesn’t use a comprehensive ERP system, most probably, you have a bunch of apps that imitate ERP functionality. One app not to forget your clients’ contacts, one for managing appointments, another one for tracking your employees’ performance, and so on. Such an approach can help you get the job done, but it can’t be considered as the optimal one.
Lack of unhindered flow of information between different company departments significantly decreases the overall transparency and efficiency. It’ll take longer to verify a specific portion of data before making an important decision, so if you often face missed project deadlines, you know where the potential source of the problem is. Additionally, when you use multiple different applications instead of a single full-featured ERP application, maintenance can become a real headache. Each off-the-shelf application developer has its own vision of what functionality to implement and when to deliver updates. Therefore, all that you can do is to hope that a new feature that you want so badly will be released soon enough and the update won’t break the compatibility between the apps you use.
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However, if you have an ERP application in your possession, there are still some concerns that can force you to decide to implement additional functionality. Adding a pinch of new technologies in your ERP is a good way of increasing your competitiveness in the market.
For example, cloud based software can become a decent alternative to on-premise solutions since it helps to reduce costs involved in buying or renting servers to store your data. Using IoT devices can enrich your company with tons of real-time data. Companies from any domain, from agriculture to healthcare, can implement IoT devices support in their ERP software to automate multiple business processes. Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning help to take a fresh look at the data that your company has been accumulating for years of presence in the market. If you implement a predictive analytics feature, your ERP software can become a source of valuable insights. Such software can forecast market trends so you will be well prepared for upcoming growth in demand for certain goods or services.
How to Build an ERP System That You Will Be Proud Of
Whether you decide to build custom ERP software from scratch or implement additional functionality to widen your current ERP software possibilities, there are some important factors to consider.
Look at Your Business From a Fresh Perspective
Nobody knows your business better than you, but sometimes the most familiar things can hide unexpected surprises. Your intention to implement new ERP functionality can be an excellent opportunity to rethink how your organization works and find new potential growth points. Adopting a new app that will duplicate all your existing business processes is not the optimal way of doing things. Instead, it must provide a new, more creative way of achieving your business goals.
For example, the warehouse management module for your ERP system can include NFC-tags support to improve control over the items’ movement and optimize the shipment process. If packages that are often lost while moving around warehouses are one of your problems, you can ask your software developer to implement such a feature.
Remember That ERP Solution Is Not a Silver Bullet
Despite all the benefits that modern applications can bring, the chances that they’ll solve all your problems and multiply your income in a blink of an eye are pretty low. That’s why you must be realistic about the benefits you get if you implement and adopt a new ERP solution. Also, you must be clear about what you want to get out of it. The pain points you’ve defined in the previous step can become a good starting point.
Make a list of problems your business faces regularly and decide how ERP software can become a solution for them. Trying to implement as many features as possible blindly will turn your ERP app into a mess. An app with an overloaded UI that provides access to hundreds of features, most of which your employees don’t use, is definitely not the best investment option.
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Don’t Abandon the Data You’re Currently Using
Hopping to a new ERP solution can become a traumatic experience without due attention. Your data is one of the most valuable assets and you must treat it accordingly. When you use a specific app for decades, there is a fairly high probability that it operates with outdated data formats. Moreover, the database management system that your current solution is using also may not correspond to the current standards.
To ensure that switching to a new ERP solution won’t cost you all the business information you have, ensure that developers pay due attention to the data transfer process. Data architecture and design is a pretty complex and broad topic that deserves a separate article or even a book. Building an application is only half the battle. Successfully converting data into a new format and providing a new ERP software solution with access to it is, in a manner, a more important and complex task to implement.
The Present Is Close, but the Future Is Even Closer
When you decide to implement a new ERP solution, you can invest in the most demanded innovative technologies and yet face the need to put up with an outdated system much faster than you expected. Things move fast nowadays, so you must not only understand your current needs but the needs of yourself in two, five, or ten years. Needless to say, it’s barely possible to implement an AI algorithm that can predict which state of affairs we’ll face in a few years. However, there are some actions you can take to reduce potential risks.
Choose a developer that can implement a solution different from the ERP system you’re currently using. You won’t get much if a software developer implements the same functionality under a brighter wrapper. The ERP system you’re going to adopt must ensure prosperity for your business for as long as possible, so focus on some breakthrough technologies, such as big data or AI, for example. You can start by looking at the portfolio of a company that you think is worthy of cooperation.
The list of features that programmers must implement during the ERP system development is no less important than the used technologies. One of the most important rules to follow is to choose techs you need, not the techs that you want. If a specific programming language, framework, or library is currently on the rise, it doesn’t mean that it’ll suit your current and future needs. This rule also works in reverse. A well-established and widely accepted decades old technology that runs on every second digital device on the planet is not necessarily better than a market newcomer.
Using a savvy ERP solution can make your core KPIs into a point of pride. For almost any bottleneck that decreases the overall performance of your company, there’s a software solution that developers can implement to fix the situation or at least help to better control it. With thorough planning and in cooperation with a reliable software developer, you can build an ERP solution of your dreams that will become a reliable tool for many years to come.
If you want to breathe new life in your ERP software with some cutting-edge technologies, please contact us.