With the growing popularity of the cloud for all businesses, it’s only natural that growing companies are looking to upgrade with the latest technology. The first step to take is to strengthen your company’s financial backbone with a cloud ERP. Before you sit down with your executive board to discuss it, you probably have some questions in mind, especially in terms of how ERP works with the cloud, why you keep hearing about Oracle + NetSuite when “Enterprise Resource Planning” is mentioned, and why to choose one solution over another. Let’s start off with the basics:
1. What is an ERP Cloud Solution?
Enterprise Resource Planning software – or ERP – is simultaneously a heart transplant, and a spinal surgery for the body of your business. Imagine integrating all departments and functions of your company into a single system that has the multi-functional capacity of streamlining and backing up your processes into the cloud for extreme security and anywhere / anytime accessibility. In other words, think of an ERP system as being a healthy and powerful heart that pumps blood throughout your body to ensure you’re able to function at your best capacity. But also as the backbone that helps structure your body.
That is a tall order, asking one system to take on such a tremendous amount of the support required when managing a growing company. You want the kind of modern, robust software that can facilitate and streamline operations for your finance team. Then, there’s human resources, CRM, inventory management, and so much more to worry about. Well, the thing about a strong ERP is that, once it’s been implemented, you don’t have to worry. This new system essentially integrates all of your departments into a single database for 360 degree overview of all company operations, fast and easy information sharing among your entire team, and a flexible infrastructure that’s completely scalable to adapt alongside your continuous business growth.
2. How can cloud ERP improve your company’s day-to-day business performance?
A cloud ERP software helps your team overcome the need to communicate between several legacy systems in order to execute their daily processes. With this new system, all of your systems will be integrated into one source – where you can find all of the information that you need. One truth for all data and operations, whether local or worldwide. Finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and Life Science companies still keep their own specialized software – except now all of their processes are linked together so that communication between departments is as fluid as possible.
In the context here, you can think of an ERP as a jet that travels at sound-breaking speed, compared to your previous financial processes, which were more like a beat-up van that you inherited from your uncle. For example, one of its greatest strengths is streamlining the operation through which your business takes customer orders and processes them into invoices and revenues. This is the order fulfillment process, which can either be long and tedious – or rapid and efficient. An ERP acts as a back-office backbone, to make sure these processes go as smoothly as possible so that you don’t run into any unnecessary issues.
Your ERP will take a new customer order and map out the process with each new step – providing an easily accessible resource to follow its progress. All company departments can track each-other’s progress with real-time data, and an absolute overview of your inventory information. When one department finishes with an order, it is automatically routed via your ERP software, and moved along to the next department. You’re never fumbling in the dark, or struggling with delays you don’t know how to solve. The solution is always at the tip of your fingers. But that’s one example, and an ERP will offer a much more expansive world of uses – think of employee benefit management, commissions reporting, multi-currency dealings, international finance planning, and financial reporting, just to name some of them
3. Will an ERP solution fit the ways I do business?
How do you evaluate cloud ERP solutions in terms of your business needs? When you consider getting an ERP, it’s recommended that you take a few necessary steps in ensuring you make the right choice:
- Research. Research. Research. Look at different ERP software models, compare competitors through testimonials and cross-referencing specs, some ERP systems will have industry specific features and others will have rapid implementation possibilities that are specialized for rapidly growing businesses. For example, NetSuite offers SuiteSuccess for companies that want to be up and running with a new cloud-based back-office in 100 days. There are so many options to choose from!
- Sit down with your executive team and discuss your company’s current processes. What needs improvement, what should stay the same, etc. If you choose the ERP that is stubborn, then you will find yourself changing your business to suit it, rather than the other way around. Make sure your ERP is scalable, so that it accommodates your current way of running operations, as well as your plans for future growth. This step is crucial in making sure your implementation goes smoothly.
- Choose the best implementation partner that suits your business. Some partners will just leap into the implementation or won’t be as collaborative. What you’re looking for is a partner that will send a team of specialists on-site to meet with your executives and work hand-in-hand with your team, ensuring that each step of the implementation fits with your company’s infrastructure. If you have a solid channel of communication, your implementation specialists will be the ones to make sure your new system fits the way you do business.
If you take these steps into note, and follow them thoroughly, then you can make sure that your new system suits your current business strategies and processes as best as possible.