ERP software integrates the various processes involved in running a business – inventory & order management, accounting, HR, CRM, and so on. A shared database forms the core of the system and supports the multiple functions. Especially, a cloud-based ERP system breaks down barriers between different business units and empowers employees with real-time information to help them take quick and relevant decisions.
While every business is unique and has various parameters to indicate software demand gaps, here are a few common indicators that may point to your company needing a cloud-based ERP system sooner rather than later:
- Multiple departments working on different systems: For the smooth functioning of a company it is vital that the front-end and back-end systems synchronize perfectly. For example, if the accounts staff use one system to record payables and receivables, sales department employees enter customer data in another, while warehouse workers use yet another system for tracking shipments, they all work in isolation without having a clear view of the information that the other departments have
Having an integrated ERP solution ensures that all the systems ‘talk’ to each other, with one core database at the heart of it. This enables informed, well-timed decisions to be taken.
- Information about business not easily accessible: When you record information such as key performance indices to track sales, orders, inventory etc. in spreadsheets etc. it can get very confusing and outdated in a matter of moments.
With an ERP system, you can have a crystal clear view of all the metrics of your business, permitting you to plan your next moves based on real-time information.
- Accounting becomes time-consuming and inefficient: Manually entering and rechecking data on paper-based sales orders, invoices etc. can not only be time-consuming, it also raises the chances of human error.
Presence of a cloud-based ERP system enables all data to be stored in and pulled from one central database, eliminating cross-posting of information across departments. This frees up time for accounts employees to prepare and deliver on time critical reports that will help the business grow.
- Customer experience (Sales) suffers: Imagine a scenario where customer service representatives do not have information about a product that is requested by a customer. They will have to spend some time checking the inventory, order status, etc. if all this data is stored elsewhere.
Instead, if they had up-to-the-minute information about the stocks and inventory, they would be able to answer the customer’s query immediately, thus enhancing the customer’s shopping experience, maybe ensuring repeat business. In fact, cloud-based ERP systems can even facilitate the customers themselves to determine order status by going online.
- IT system is complicated and outdated: Your IT department spends countless hours customizing their systems to the specific needs of your business, then integrating them and maintaining them with regular upgrades and patches. These frequent upgrades cost time and money and may even undo some of the customizations meant to enhance the online experience.
Having an ERP system, especially a cloud-based one, eliminates the need for repeated upgrades and makes it easy and cost-effective to customize and add modules to existing software. It imparts agility to the business so that it can adapt as it grows.