ERP isn’t just another TLA (three letter acronym) – it’s the software at the heart of most large enterprises and many smaller, but fast-growing companies.
We’ve previously explained what enterprise resource planning is and how to know when it’s time to consider migrating from your small business accounting application to an ERP system. But essentially, ERP can take care of a broader range of business processes than accounting software, potentially including financials, manufacturing, inventory, service delivery, marketing and sales (including CRM – customer relationship management), logistics, and human resources (HR).
While the “enterprise” label may once have referred to the way only large companies could afford to run ERP, falling costs and particularly the arrival of cloud-based systems have put it in reach of smaller businesses.
Still, moving to ERP is a big step, not to be taken lightly. ERP systems vary significantly and there are traps for the unwary. We spoke to executives at leading ERP providers and analysed the market to help you navigate a complex market and choose the right system for your business.
What every ERP system should do
One of the objectives of ERP is to centralise all business processes, according to Sage Australia vice president Alan Osrin.
So an ERP system should be able to handle all the steps from an initial sales lead through to receipt of payment – and perhaps even further if some sort of after-sales service is required.
As Pronto managing director Chad Gates puts it, ERP “becomes the technological heart and lungs of the business.”
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