Is there more to choosing an erp system than keeping the CFO happy??

December 12th, 2012 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

We are used to to the idea that erp systems will handle financials and inventory but new technology creates new business processes, new opportuntities and new competition. These are some of the features you might also want to check on before selecting a solution a modern ERP solution:

Mobility. In our personal lives we are more mobile and connected. Sales of tablets, netbooks, mobiles etc continue to exceed projections as does the use and prolfieration of social media. We expect the same tools at work. Organizations large and small are becoming ever more mobile, to drive down costs,and  improve service.  Mobile alerts, mobile reports,  and mobile BI are now expected.   By 2013, 1.2 billion workers will be mobile—that’s 1/3 of the overall workforce. By 2014, 50% of devices used to access business solutions are expected to be smartphones. Will the solution you’re considering accommodate mobile workers?

 IT Costs. Some people claim 84% of organizations have a remote workforce – Typically true of the sales team, installation and service engieers, meter readers, delivery men, consultants trainers, etc.  But on average 85% of datacenter capacity is idle, and 70% of IT budgets are spent maintaining datacenter operations. What are inefficiencies like these costing your company?  It’s not just the software it’s the server room rental, the energy, the A/c , the hardware depreciation and obsolesence, inusrance, cleaning etc.

3. Access. Think about how people can interact with their solutions. Employees struggle when they can’t collaborate with people who don’t have full access to important data. Can people outside the solution or organization be given web and mobile access to specific reports, charts, graphs, and KPIs? Is the data real-time? Marketing these days is frequently a  self service activity, as in many case are business processes like booking on-line or checking in for a flight via  kiosk with a bar code on your mobile for a boarding pass, or searching a knowledgebase for help. Project teams are geographically remote but need to uodate each other and to share plans.

4. Simplicity. Workers at home use laptops, phones, tablets—all their preferred devices—with a common experience, to make those all easier to use. What do your staff really need?

I might throw in;

  •  Cross platform, cross company workflows – for both centralised and decentralised services, faster responses and automation
  •  Seamless integration with other applications, e.g. messaging and social media, or SharePoint or office
  • Scalable architecture- businesses and technology both change fast and your systeme should enable not constrain your growth
  • Compliance and collaboration tools – why have expensive offices, why waste staff time on travel,  mobility, internet presentation tools, collaboration portal workspaces, and cross supply chain collaboration are all factors but you also have to think about security and compliance – what support do you have for these?
  • Competitive edge – you will not outstrip your competition just with new back office systems - can your solution provide vertical specific features, can you adapt it to streamline your specific processes
  • Can you easily handle data imports? new budgets, forecasts costs
  • Can you easily handle new reporting requirements?
  • Can you easily handle new subsidiaries and acquisitions – language, currency, vertical requirements, localised statutory compliance?

Does it matter? Watch your competitors and see what they are doing but don’t wait too long!

Year end is a good time to rethink your strategies and your systems. if there are aspects of your business or systems that are not delivering or you are not sure what is possible then why not undertake a mini business review and let us help you understand how technology can help you to cut cost or add value or reduce risk and to evaluate whether there is a business case.

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