Electing to implement a new technology is a huge decision, especially when it impacts your core processes and mission-critical assets. You risk running up costs, disrupting your workflows, over-complicating your IT, and placing a confusing burden on your staff.
Resisting new technologies, however, is just as consequential. By rejecting the tools of the present and future, you cede an advantage to your competition while missing out on opportunities to improve productivity, efficiency, and agility.
The most reliable way to evolve your IT at just the right time is to look for clear signs that your company is due (or overdue) for a new technology. The following seven signs indicate that you need an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution at your disposal.
Your Data is Unmanageable
Each one of your departments – sales, financing, marketing, fulfillment, etc. – generates a flood of data. Often this data is difficult to share, access, and update between departments, making it time and labor intensive to handle routine tasks like onboarding a new client or customer. With an ERP, all of this data is shared and automatically updated across the board when any change is made. That eliminates a tremendous number of administrative hassles and avoidable mistakes.
Your Insights are Ineffective
When your business runs on disparate IT solutions, it's especially difficult to glean meaningful, impactful insights from the data you have at your disposal. Strategic decision making will always imperfect when it's based on only part of the picture. Since an ERP integrates all your data under one easy-to-access umbrella, you can more clearly see the advantages/disadvantages that will affect you moving forward.
Your Departments Don't Collaborate
For obvious reasons, it's imperative that departments like sales and marketing collaborate with one another. Unfortunately, when the data each department uses has walls put up around it, it's a lot harder for your team to take advantage of shared resources for the benefit of all. With a single ERP system in place, essential data is available to every collaborator at any time, thereby eliminating frustrating obstacles and creating the conditions necessary for innovation.
Your Customers are Unimpressed
When you're interacting with a customer, you want to be able to answer any and all of their questions quickly and confidently. But when your data is divided into different sets with different rules for access, you might damage your standing with the customer by scrambling to find the information you need and coming up short. Implementing an ERP solution is an easy way to boost the level of service you provide and improve your customer retention efforts.
Your IT is Expensive and Underwhelming
Trying to manage different IT for each one of your departments creates unnecessary costs and creates unexpected setbacks. You might be paying handsomely for custom plugins and still have to deal with the consequences of a tech failure and an overworked IT team. Since an ERP solution makes everything integrated and interoperable, it doesn't require expensive customization and streamlines the maintenance process.
Your Inventory is Off
Maintaining an inventory with just the right amount of stuff is essential for the health of your bottom line. But when your departments are disconnected, it becomes difficult to calculate the number of orders coming down the pipeline over the short, medium, and long term. The big picture data you get from an ERP solution is invaluable for calibrating your inventory correctly and keeping your paying customers happy.
Your Team is Tied Down
No contemporary company exists only within its office. For that reason, data and applications must be mobile if they're going to have any real value. A cloud ERP solution allows everyone on your team to take advantage of your ERP solution, whether they’re in a client's conference room, a hotel, in a cab, or on a plane. Having the convenience of the cloud on your side ensures no opportunity is missed.
You don't need to suffer from all these pain points to make an ERP solution worthwhile. Correcting just two or three of them can radically transform the way that you do business. Take a hard look at your recent performance, and decide if your next quarter would be better with an ERP in place.