The Complicated Future of ERP Implementation

The Complicated Future of ERP Implementation

Written By: Ken Jacobsen

from March 6, 2015

The growth of the enterprise resource planning software market is just one of many indicators signaling the importance of this technological resource in the business world. The future of the ERP systems is driven by many factors, ranging from cloud platform usage to hybrid solutions and integration. At the same time, the reality that many companies face is a complete lack of ERP software in support of business intelligence and workflow management. However, this is likely to change in the near term as more companies recognize the need for ERP. Doing this successfully will require a well-thought-out plan that includes input from all key stakeholders, from the C suite down to the workers who will use the software on a daily basis.

Innovations in the industry

The road to business vitality is paved with a strong information technology infrastructure. But legacy systems can often hinder rather than help companies when they’re trying to build strong internal processes and streamline their supply chain operations. A recent article for CIO highlighted several expected changes in the ERP software market that will potentially have large impacts on the solutions available to organizations in a variety of industries.

Better integration

One of the major challenges that companies face when implementing ERP software is the fact that they’ve likely got several systems in place to capture data and improve business intelligence – a situation that often breeds trouble because of integration challenges. However, as the technology evolves, ERP systems are becoming more agile and dynamic in their ability to make connections with multiple departments within an organization which may use different platforms to manage data. These can include procurement and customer relationship management software.

With the massive amount of data that modern enterprises have to deal with, there’s a burgeoning recognition that it needs to be aggregated in a way that’s more functional for all business units. Companies need to take proactive stance against creating data silos. Despite conventional wisdom, integrating data from an ERP and CRM system gives business leaders clearer insight into the levels of efficiencies they’ve attained. For instance, a sales manager might be able to reference the purchase history of a particularly high-value buyer and match it to inventory to ensure this individual and his or her organization is never left waiting for an order to be fulfilled. This type of value can benefit both new and existing users of ERP.

Newcomers to the market

In spite of the strengths of ERP software, the reality is that many organizations haven’t made the necessary investment. According to Software Advice‘s 2015 report, “Enterprise Resource Planning Software BuyerView,” there is still a lot of room in multiple verticals for ERP vendors to make inroads. In fact, just 34 percent of the companies participating in the survey indicated they used a formal ERP software platform. In the majority of cases, businesses rely on multiple systems to gain insight into their processes. Another roughly one-third of organizations use non-ERP software, and, as a sign of progress, 14 percent utilize manual methods for data management. In any case, this data indicates there are many organizations in need of better business intelligence tools delivered through ERP software. However, companies need to be well-prepared.

A very real need to get ready

There are a couple of situations that companies need to plan for: a first-time implementation or a migration. Each of these scenarios has distinct challenges that need to be addressed up front.

For those exposed to an ERP platform for the first time, it’s crucial for users to have direct input on what functionality will be necessary to get the most out of the software. Meanwhile, organizations with existing platforms should be prepared for the challenges in reproducing or adapting their customization on a new platform.

ERP Implementation Tips

If your organization is beginning the task of seeking out a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, you should first make a plan and get buy-in from the employees who will directly work with an ERP solution. Click here for some more ERP implementation tips.