Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions started out as tools for massive corporations looking for ways to standardize their technology infrastructure. Initially, expensive on-premise hardware and steep IT requirements kept ERP applications out of reach for small and mid-size businesses. However, once cloud-based ERP systems hit the market, they became accessible to almost every company. Microsoft, SAP and Oracle report 29 percent of their ERP deployments use cloud technology. While your SMB may not be entirely sold on this software category, especially if you have existing infrastructure in place, ERPs have several business growth advantages that can often make them the best long-term choice for your company.
Business Process Optimization
How many redundant business processes do you currently have in your organization? For instance, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments may have hundreds of apps used by employees, but because IT departments don’t usually have strategic decision-making control over unauthorized tools, this can make it difficult to optimize business processes. You end up with employees performing the same task with entirely different software.
An ERP system minimizes or eliminates this problem by using identical business processes for each task. An employee looking up documents in accounting follows the same steps that HR does, giving the IT department a single set of applications to support so that they don’t get overwhelmed with trouble tickets for software they didn’t even know existed. You introduce efficiency on an organization-wide level, which allows you to focus on more strategic job duties.
Fully Digital Back-Office Functions
Do you have employees who swear by pen and paper for essential business tasks like scheduling and accounting? You can’t keep up in the business world when you’re held back by manual processes. An ERP system delivers a digital transformation for every back-office function that’s commonly found in SMBs. While you might experience some employees trying to stick with their original solutions, the system’s productivity gain usually wins them over before long.
Your company’s data flows through a single centralized system rather than through hundreds of siloed programs. Analytics features give you valuable business intelligence, whether you’re looking for the top-performing departments or you need to figure out why shipments are taking too long to reach a distributor. Data-driven decision-making can help guide your business-growth strategy. If you incorporate predictive analytics tools into the mix, you can even track potential outcomes before you run tests.
Data-breach costs result in millions of direct and indirect losses for organizations. In fact, a single data breach could damage your reputation for years and severely limit your growth. Cloud-based ERP solutions give you access to enterprise-level security systems used by the vendor, which often exceed your in-house IT resources. On-premise systems require a larger investment to minimize intrusions, but you may lower your overall costs if you replace a hundred applications with a single ERP. IT security staff have an easier time pinpointing unusual activity in the simplified infrastructure. What’s more, automated tools handle low-level threats and free up the specialists’ time to deal with more damaging attacks.
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