Using technology in your business

What is ERP software, and why is it changing?

15 September 2015

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is used by many businesses to manage sales, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), supply chains and finance, all within a single solution. By consolidating data, businesses can save time, minimise errors and get better insights into the health of their company.

But traditional ERP systems are not without issues. They typically have a long lead-time for implementation, can be costly to integrate or adapt, and don’t offer some of the functionality that businesses need. That’s why there’s a new generation of software which is designed to support modern ways of working and go further than typical ERP software.

ERP is dead, long live ERP

The move from traditional ERP to business management software is long overdue. With the rise of big data and the need for more in-depth analysis of business metrics, it’s essential that your software can provide the right insights. Combined with the need for mobile working, innovation and real-time insights, typical ERP systems struggle to meet these needs.

Stephen Kelly, Chief Executive Officer at Sage, explained the issues in his keynote speech at the Sage Summit 2015:

“ERP is a 25-year-old industry term, characterised by cost-overrun and in some cases, business ruin, which has been imposed on businesses for the benefit of others. To the finance directors of the world, ERP stands for Expense, Regret, Pain.

“Sage is calling this out, demanding a better way for you to stay in control. As your champion, we will no longer label things that are irrelevant for your business. We will focus on what you need the technology to do. We want to implement solutions in days and weeks, not months and years.”

That’s what business management software offers.

Why business management software is the future

Business management software offers ERP capabilities, without the hassle of a typical ERP solution. You get the benefits you’d see with ERP, such as:

  • Integrated data to allow departments to work collaboratively and to minimise the errors and time associated with rekeying data
  • Single view of the data to allow managers to manage business processes, spot inefficiencies and ways to make improvements
  • Single supplier to avoid issues with incompatible data and time needed to generate reports

But business management software goes further than this, addressing the issues with ERP:

Quick to implement

With business management software, you can be up and running in a matter of weeks, allowing you to start realising the benefits almost immediately and improving your ROI.

Simple to use on the move

Business is no longer solely conducted in the office and figures from Virgin show that by the end of this year, 1.3 billion people will be working remotely - that’s 37% of the workforce. It’s therefore essential that your software can support this.

Traditional ERP systems often limit access to the desktop, but business management software lets you access the data you need on the move. That means sales teams can update CRM records when they’re on the road, managers can sign off on expenditure or review business performance while they’re travelling and other employees can stay connected when they’re working from home.

Easier to customise - and change when you need it

Traditional ERP software can be inflexible, meaning your business has to change to fit the way the software works. With business management software it’s the other way around - the software is flexible enough to be customised to match your workflows, departments and way of doing business.

Of course, things can change and your software needs to be able to adapt. Whether you’re introducing a new product, streamlining a process or managing a seasonal workforce, business management software is easy to change without the need for lengthy and costly development work. That means you can innovate quickly and remain competitive.

Painless to scale, even for global businesses

As your business grows, your software should grow too. Businesses recognise the cost, time and disruption that comes with changing to a new system, so it’s essential that your software suits your business not only today, but in the future. Business management software allows you to consolidate data from various departments, offices and countries as your business grows, but allows you to keep control of how that data is integrated. This gives you the insights you need, but allows you to customise the software based on the needs of each team.

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