What Makes An ERP Software Great

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Buying an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that fits your company’s needs is complex and confusing. With hundreds of ERP software on the market, it’s easy to fall into analysis paralysis.

There is no reason to get to that point, if you can figure out a few key points that make good ERP software. But before you do that, you need to first assess your company’s needs. Are you needing an ERP system for human resources, accounting, manufacturing, inventory management, or all these things combined? This determines whether you need a standalone system or an integrated suite of tools.

What type of buyer you are also plays a role. If you’re a small business owner with less than 50 employees, you might be hesitant in investing in an ERP system because of high upfront costs. But in the recent years, cloud technology has carved out some new opportunities for small business owners, offering lower costs and less technical challenges. If you’re an enterprise-level buyer, you probably need to have a system for multiple departments, leaning towards an all-in-one system.

When evaluating potential ERP solutions for your company, you want to keep in mind the following traits:

1. Intuitive

Software is only as good as people using it. In other words, if people have trouble using it because it’s not user-friendly and intuitive, it should be considered not good. Even though ERP systems can be big depending in the size of the company, the concept shouldn’t be complicated. At the same time, there should be a degree of control and ability to customize.

2. Mobile-Friendly

Years ago, it was inconceivable that an entire computer system could fit into your pocket. The reality is vastly different now, with smartphones and tablets exceeding desktop usage. The same reality is happening for ERP solutions.

A good ERP system keeps up with this trend and is mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendly ERP software boosts productivity and is flexible, especially with more of the workforce telecommuting or being offsite. It allows valuable information available even if people using it aren’t in office.

3. Good Customer Service

Superior ERP software offers the same level of customer service, support, and maintenance. Training is essential until everyone assigned to use the system can be brought up to speed. If there is no in-house expert, implementing a new ERP solution will take time and effort by the manufacturer; so good customer service is crucial. This is also important because many vendors often consolidate, which means support and the system itself can be phased out overtime.

You have many options when evaluating a solution for ERP in Hong Kong for your company. You can also go with the software as a service (SaaS) route. The initial cost is lower, it runs on a web browser so everyone is familiar with it, and you don’t need a full-time IT professional to maintain it.

When all the stars are aligned and you find a system that’s intuitive, easy to use, flexible, mobile-friendly, with good customer service, it’s much easier to streamline your operation.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing an ERP System

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An integrated ERP solution can do wonders for a company’s efficiency and effectiveness. The advantages of having a cohesive ERP software that handles all the business processes is a goal worthy of time, effort, and the financial resources allocated to it. But the process of selecting the proper enterprise software and implementing it can be a nightmare if done without due regard to the complexities involved.

ERP systems must be a good fit for the company’s requirements. There are a myriad of factors to consider when outsourcing your ERP solutions. Otherwise, disasters such as total failure and wasted man-hours will occur. Here are the major five mistakes that must be avoided and the solutions that will help you create and implement a feasible ERP strategy.

1. Inadequate Planning and Low Level of Support from Top Stakeholders

Poor planning will almost guarantee that your ERP solution fails. Take time to assess the costs and benefits. Also, try to determine how much the ERP software will impact the organization once it has been deployed. The planning must cover all phases of the project, i.e. from requirement analysis to deployment and maintenance. Any phase that is poorly planned will affect the project negatively. So, it is necessary to determine the specifics of scope, complexity, and size of the project.
Ensure that the key stakeholders, (the top management of the company such as CEO and the CTO) are on board for the ERP implementation process and are fully committed to the project from the beginning to end. Detailed documentation of every step is also crucial.

2. Poor Change Management Preparation and Inefficient Training

Employees will be most affected by the implementation of ERP system. If inefficient training about the new business process is provided to them, it may lead to job dissatisfaction and high employee turnover ratio.
Since ERP implementation will entail major changes across the organization, handling this enterprise-wide change has to be done according to a pre-set plan. So, the ERP team has to make sure that the solution fits well into the corporate culture and the affected businesses process is transitioned over properly. Though employees may resist this change in the beginning as they are used to performing their tasks in traditional ways, proper training programs will ensure that the employees realize the benefits of the software solution and learn how to use it effectively.

3. Selecting the Wrong ERP Solution that Misaligns with Business Processes

Companies often fail to identify the needs that the ERP solution has to address. This can lead to problems as big as choosing the wrong ERP vendor or failing to incorporate the ERP solution into the organization’s business processes. Though these are worst-case scenarios, even if the solution is misaligned with a few levels of organizational structure, the effects may turn into bigger problems in the future. This leads to loss of time and productivity that end up making the stakeholders question the wisdom of such a costly project.
The decision for deploying enterprise software should be objective and the features offered by the vendor must match your business requirements.

4. Failing to Estimate Resource Usage and Misallocation of Resources

ERP systems are complex as they require a lot of steps to be implemented successfully. However, changes are rolled out slowly. As the changes are made, the new processes are also being tested to see that they perform up to the mark and as expected. If you assume that the vendor will take care of all these steps, you are mistaken. Vendors are experts in their respective fields but they require detailed information and feedback from the organization while they work on implementing the chosen ERP systems. Therefore, your company is responsible to allocate the required resources that are involved in the process. The right resource allocated to the right task at the right time will make all the difference.

5. Considering That ERP is a Simple IT Project

Assuming that implementing ERP solution is just another easy-to-handle IT project is a mistake which can cost a lot to even the largest organizations. Making this mistake in the form of negligence while implementing crucial steps of ERP may result in wastage of time and other valuable resources.
So, if you are investing in an ERP solution, you should carefully review your business plans and ensure that these deadly mistakes do not cause any failure to your business objectives.

Are you cutting overheads? An ERP System is what you need first!

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Small and medium sized businesses need to be smart about where they focus there spends and constantly review the costs of their overheads. With regular profits it’s only natural that the company will grow, but if they’re a company that relies on a certain income to survive and something falls through, then they might need to start finding ways to cut down their unnecessary costs. Rather than letting go of employees or making them work overtime, it might be an idea to look at your enterprise resource planning software first (ERP software) to see how you can streamline processes and reduce your expenditure.

Small and medium sized businesses need ERP solutions as much as they need profits. Why? Let’s look into this in detail.

ERP solutions is like your backend office. It takes care of the administration that no one wants to be a part of. Even if there is a person or a team of people working in administration, they require an employee salary equivalent to a sales or team leader role, the difference is the later is growing your business and contributing to the profits of your company. This is not to say that an administration team is not important but if your company is struggling to make ends meet then it might be an idea to review your backend operations and see if it is still necessary considering the running costs. With some research you may find that many alternative solutions have emerged.

Some businesses, which can afford to, outsource their work to other even smaller companies working ashore. Is this feasible? This might be beneficial in some scenarios but it’s not a perfect solution. You need to imagine a backend office, working odd hours behind the scenes where it is difficult to manage processes when you cannot oversee the daily workings of your business.

After all, what your business needs is a piece of technology that does everything a backend office does with the help of a few clicks. How? The answer is ERP solutions. These enterprise solutions allow you to handle all kinds of data efficiently and seamlessly. Human resource, payouts, business processes, project management, you name it. An ERP solution will allow you to have full control over your business and at the same time reduce overheads costs, especially if you are a tech-savvy business leader.

Furthermore, ERP solutions are offered in different packages to suit the needs of every business structure. You need some and then you don’t need some, and these packages allow you to choose what suits your business the best in terms of operations and affordability.

A business leader who is considering implementing an ERP solution needs to keep in mind, that every ERP software should be given a test-run. This is the best way possible to move forward with a particular software solution and to establish if it’s the best system to replace your current day to day processes.

How to integrate erp software into your business

An Enterprise Resources Planning software or ERP system is a simple and innovative business management software that allows a business to explore the use of different applications to manage different aspects of the business and automate all the back office functions and processes. The popularity of ERP systems has been rising especially among small businesses that are looking to save on operational cost by integrating technology in everyday activities. If you are looking to procure an erp software, it is important to understand the approach you need to take in order to effectively integrate the system into the day to day activities at your company. Here is a simple guide that can help proprietors of SMEs incorporate ERP systems effectively.

Make sure you have the right hardware – there is no doubt ERP systems are designed to run on computers and as such, the very first step in integration is to carefully look at the hardware you have and see if it can support the effective functioning of the systems. The best thing is to know the system requirements of ERP systems before purchasing them. That way, you can easily make arrangements to buy the right hardware ahead of installation.

Staff training – although ERP systems are very easy to use, you will still need to get some practical training on how to get started and how to use and customize the systems in line with what your business needs. The training process can start before the systems are installed or after but in all situations, it is always better to have an expert in erp solutions conduct the training. In most cases, understanding how to use erp systems can take a few weeks depending on the volume of employers and staff that needs to be trained.

Roll out and installation – thirdly, after you have procured the right hardware and you are satisfied that your staff can work with the ERP system, then it is time to roll it out and install it in different workstations. The installation process is designed to be simple but if you don’t want to encounter any glitches, you can hire someone who is experienced in it to do it.

Confirm everything is working well – finally, it is also important to ensure that the erp system is working properly. If there are any bugs you should report immediately to an IT technician for diagnosis. After all, if you are going to spend money on erp software hong kong, then it is reasonable to do everything you can to ensure your business gets value from this investment.
Integrating ERP systems into your business has a lot of benefits and as such, if you haven’t switched to these systems you are really missing out.

Why Using Enterprise Software is a Smarter Way to Work

Enterprise software covers a wide range of technology, but, at its most basic form, it is simply the applications or computer programs that organisations use to carry out and streamline business operations. These operations include things like human resources, customer relationship management, accounting systems, payroll, business intelligence, communication, and more. The main purposes of the software are to boost efficiency of day-to-day business processes and make info more comprehensive and accessible.


The Benefits of Enterprise Software
The most obvious benefit that comes from using enterprise software is it provides a place and a method for accumulating and storing a wealth of data. Still, when designed correctly, enterprise software suites offer many more features which make tasks easier and ultimately enhance worker productivity by:

  1. Integrating Information
    In the past, business information was stored in individual software programs on separate computers within the company. There was no flow of information between programs or even among the business' various departments, and separate applications were required to send information. With so many "hurdles" slowing down the flow of info, employees had to spend far too much time searching for needed data -- time which could've been used for more productive endeavours.
    However, with enterprise software, all of that's changed. Modern software suites integrate data across computers both in and outside the company's system and create a single place where employees can retrieve information. Not to mention, redundancies are eliminated, since multiple departments aren't gathering the same data for their own uses.

  2. Making Systems Less Complex
    Without a comprehensive software solution, IT departments may find themselves filling in the gaps by creating or tweaking other programs. This can make for cumbersome systems that are difficult to operate and often demand attention from IT on a nearly constant basis. Not only is this overwhelming for IT, it also frustrates other employees who find the mishmash of software too complex to use.
    Enterprise software solves this problem by combining all programs into a singular system with a user-friendly interface. Also, because employees only have to train in one program, learning curves are lower and workers are more likely to approach the technology positively.

  3. Automating Processes
    Instead of having to take the time to manually compile data from different departments and then design a plan of action based on the data, enterprise applications can do all that work automatically and even take some sort of action based on predetermined criteria. And it can all happen with minimal human input. For example, a customer relations program can gather customer behaviour and demographics data and combine that knowledge with an email marketing campaign to send targeted, research-based messages to customers. This process can then be tied in with analytics which can monitor the success of the emails and then integrate the findings into an ERP system, where company members can evaluate the results and decide where to invest further resources.
    Similar automated activities can happen in virtually every facet of the business, including inventory and order tracking, sales forecasting, and payroll.

  4. Enables Software to Grow with the Business
    Quality enterprise software is modular, meaning it's capable of having as few or as many modules as the business needs. This is an especially valuable feature for growing companies that may want to smart small but will need different or more robust features from the program in the future.
    By using a modular program, organisations can stick with what they need and not inundate employees with unnecessary features. For instance, a business may want to start with essentials like accounting and payroll systems and then later add on human resource and employee self-service modules. With each addition, operations become better integrated and departments can collaborate easier.

A Point to Remember
While all the benefits above can enable a company to work smarter and more efficiently, it's important to note that not all enterprise software is created equally. It's vital to get a well-built, user-friendly program suited to your industry. After all, if the technology is too complicated, no one will want to use it, and it may result in more headaches than solutions. So, make sure to find a provider with a modern, easy-to-use program that offers long term support.

Biggest Trends in Enterprise Resource Planning Software

Today it seems all technologies are evolving at breakneck speeds, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is no exception. While it still serves to manage business processes and automates tasks at every level, new elements are being added to these applications that mirror the types of things users expect in all their modern programs. Namely, we're seeing these five trends in ERP software:

  1. Mobility is in Demand

    People have grown to expect instant access to information, regardless of where they are, and that includes being able to retrieve real-time data and info about their business. Instead of working solely from a desktop, employees, managers, and owners alike are using phones, tablets, and laptops to stay connected with business operations while on-the-go or simply while moving about the office. Considering these changing behaviours and expectations, it only makes sense that ERP solution developers would integrate mobile ERP options into their software.
    Mobile ERP is especially useful for viewing reports and controlling major business processes as well as making it easier for team members to stay connected with each other and customers. However, if you're looking to add mobile functionality to your ERP, make sure and choose software which offers complete security for both the business and customers. 
  2. The Cloud is Making it Easier to Adopt ERP

    Traditionally, one major consideration with adopting extensive ERP software was it meant investing in hardware, database software, servers, and more to store and support all the various data and programs associated with these softwares. Obtaining such equipment could mean significant upfront costs for businesses, which could be a deterrent for those operating under tight budgets. The good news is the introduction of the cloud as an ERP solution is remedying many of those challenges, as it allows businesses a quicker and more cost-effective way to set up an ERP.
    Instead of buying a bunch of equipment, businesses can merely pay a subscription fee and have all their info stored and quickly accessible from the cloud. In fact, the entire infrastructure is in the cloud, so applications are easily updated and IT doesn't have the burden of fine-tuning the technology.

  3. Customised ERP is on the Rise

    Naturally, small organisations have different needs than larger companies, and all industries require unique ERP solutions. Now, more than ever, businesses are taking advantage of custom software and learning they don't need to weigh themselves down with bloated programs or "make do" with a program not built with their unique needs in mind. For these reasons, more and more businesses are investing in tailor-made software that's intelligent and has all the features they need and nothing more to get in the way.

  4. Social ERP is Gaining Interest

    Most organisations already recognise the value of using social media to stay connected with customers, but does it make sense to combine social and ERP? Many believe it does, except not exactly in the same way. Instead of using social networks to interact with customers, social ERP is more about keeping colleagues and people within the company connected. The idea is that it would allow for more natural collaboration, help employees feel more a part of a team, and automatically introduce those who are working on similar projects. All of these things heighten productivity and make it easy for people to solve business problems together.

  5. CRM is Here to Stay

    Once upon a time there were those who argued enterprise resource planning was an over-hyped concept, but as businesses have grown to understand the importance of utilising customer data and streamlining both "back room" and "front room" processes, it is more evident than ever that ERP software is an indispensable tool for any company looking to take things to the next level.
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