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ERP Statistics That Are Critical To Know For Your Business

The current buzzword for any company wishing to improve its business functions is enterprise resource planning (ERP). The ERP software market has shown significant global demand since its development in 1992.

Not only are ERP systems the sure way to improve business performance, but their integration with current cloud applications makes it’s very easy to use. However, if you’re considering switching over to an ERP system, it might be challenging to find the right one.

Reviewing the current ERP statistics is an effective way to make the most beneficial decision for your organization. Accurate statistical information provides you with the data to establish what other organizations have done wrong, what can be improved, and what information you should use to get the most out of your software selection.

In today’s article, I’m going to cover some of the most important ERP statistics that will give the insight you need to make the most informed decision.

Why ERP Statistics Are Important?

ERP systems were originally developed for use in the manufacturing industry. ERP had the sole purpose of streamlining business processes in manufacturing companies. However, market trends show that in recent years ERP software has become essential for all types of companies and organizations.

Why then is it important to consider past and current ERP statistics when selecting a new software system for your company? Simply put, ERP statistics show the different facets of how this software platform is implemented and received in various organizations.

How Successful is ERP Implementation?

ERP ROI

A full 85% of companies surveyed projected a timeline for ROI and 82% of those who had projected it achieved it.

The ERP software market was successfully valued at $38.81 billion in 2018. Added to that, the global ERP software market is projected to reach an impressive $78.40 billion by 2026. Several factors need to fit into place before ERP implementation can be regarded as being successful.

Some of these factors include cost-effective user training, and engaging user experience and data accuracy within your organization.

The ERP implementation statistics that can help you determine the market trends’ effectiveness are listed below:

  • A recent survey of IT decision-makers has shown that 53% agreed that an ERP system is not only an investment but a priority.
  • 95% of businesses have shown an improvement in business processes. This is largely due to a faster, more reliable, and user-friendly system.
  • An independent study of companies who have implemented ERP shows that 82% achieved ROI within their expected time frame. When systems are operating more efficiently, it becomes easier to achieve set goals at the required time frames.
  • The survey also shows that midsize companies with $100 million to $250 million revenue experienced the speediest implementations averaging 6.6 months. Larger companies with an excess of $25 billion revenues took longer at 12.35 months.
  • 62.7% of companies making use of an ERP system have selected Cloud ERP above on-premise software. Cloud ERP also shows a saving in HR expenses as some of the business functions can be replaced by AI and cloud storage.

 

What Are The ERP Obstacles?

what is in your way signEnterprise resource planning (ERP) isn’t without its challenges. Like any other acquired data system, ERP, if not applied correctly can result in serious financial costs to the organization.

It’s important to review the statistics relevant to the obstacles of ERP because this will give you an idea of how often something can go wrong. By knowing what other organizations have struggled with will provide you with the information necessary to avoid similar problems and obstacles.

Some of the statistics to consider in your quest to have an objective view of ERP implementation include the following:

Crucial Factors to Ensure Successful Implementation

ERP Implementation ProcessSince successful ERP implementation is critical to any organization’s success, the factors necessary to achieve this should be given their due diligence. So, let’s have look at the most important points to consider.

  • Project scope: The first step is to define the scope of your planned project. Set up business goals and establish if the system will help you achieve these goals.
  • Vendor Choice: When you’re selecting the right vendor for your project, it’s important to choose one that will give you the best value for money. Your vendor also needs to provide you with the necessary backup service and support needed before, during, and after the implementation process.
  • Long-term: Invest in an ERP system that provides the flexibility to accommodate future growth. Consider the financial impact of upgrades and add-on features that will be required to allow your system to grow with your business needs.
  • Efficiency: The workflows and best practices of the ERP system should be easy to adapt to. Converting your current business flow to the system will be more complex and time-consuming. It’ll be easier to find a system that is similar and then convert it to that business process. The system you choose should be efficient and user-friendly.
  • Training: Ensure that efficient training programs are put in place to facilitate change management. Employees should “buy-in” to the new system as that will make the transition period much easier. Training should be job-specific so that each employee can perform at their best.
  • Customization: While customization makes it easy to adapt any system to your industry’s particular needs, it’s important to remember that upgrading customized systems can be costly. If you need to customize any parts of the system, factor the costs into your initial budget.
  • Project experts: It’s important to team up with a system expert that has advanced skills and experience in the system you’ve selected as well as the industry the program needs to work for. You’ll also need a project manager to oversee the project and provide the necessary IT support when the system is in its implementation stages.
  • Constant communication: It’s important to communicate all the decisions concerning the project and its implementation process. Keeping employees informed will keep them motivated and engaged. It’ll be easier for staff to maintain enthusiasm if they continuously feel like they’re part of the process. This will also encourage them to learn as much as they can in order to become familiar with the system. It should guide them in finding solutions to problems they might encounter when using the different applications of the system.

Reasons Why ERP Could Potentially Fail

Knowing and understanding the reasons that could cause an ERP implementation to fail will save your organization a considerable amount of money. Understanding the notification frequency lifecycle state (the stages of your implementation program) will help you guarantee you have the right people, training, and budgets in place.

Some of the reasons ERP implementation could fail can include:

  • Failure of organization employees to embrace change: This happens when employees are incorrectly informed and trained regarding the process of the new ERP system.
  • Lack of commitment by necessary stakeholders: When stakeholders fail to accurately identify business needs it becomes difficult to align the ERP system to the expected business practices. The initial stakeholders might not have the necessary commitment to see the project through to the end. This could be because the process takes longer than expected or they lack the skill to deal with the obstacles.
  • Inadequate or lack of capable project managers: This happens when organizations choose to handle the implementation of the platform by using only their own IT employees. It’s important to team up with an ERP implementation partner who has experience in the different stages of the process. Project managers will have insight into the ERP market, network access, and product development.
  • Inability to align the new ERP system with the proposed business processes: When industry trends haven’t been considered it might be difficult to align the old system to the new business applications.
  • Completion and implementation goals aren’t set realistically: Eager business owners might not consider market statistics or available data analytics to set up a realistic date for the various implementation processes. Provision might not have been made for potential system issues or training obstacles.
  • Inadequate budget set aside for complimentary software or upgrade applications: This happens when the organization requires additional software during the implementation process or future upgrades that require the system to function efficiently. It’s generally estimated that about 64% of all ERP conversion projects use more than their allocated budgets.
  • IT department employees overburdened with continued issues: When the project hasn’t been planned in advance with trained project managers, the burden falls to the IT department. Essentially, the project scope might have been greatly underestimated.
  • System requirements don’t match the system functionalities: This usually happens when the software selection wasn’t done correctly. A proper review of the organization goals and requirements might not have been done correctly. This then results in a mismatch between what is required and what can be produced.

How Important is Cloud Technology in ERP Software?

Cloud ERP vs On-Premise ERPCloud technology is the new catchphrase around upgrading your traditional software programs. This upgrade has made its way into current ERP systems as well. Cloud platform services are exponentially improving the efficiency of organizations investing in ERP software.

Not only are cloud subscriptions much cheaper, but they’re also relatively easier to install. Subsequently, they don’t require the traditional IT infrastructure which saves the organisation costs on the employment of IT consultants and employees.

Some interesting statistics surrounding cloud-based ERP include:

  • Researchers estimate global cloud app expenditure could reach $226.9 billion by 2022, making this a huge chunk of the market size. Investing in a cloud-based ERP system should be on every organisation’s shortlist to consider.
  • It’s also expected that 83% of all Enterprise Workloads will be uploaded to the cloud by 2021.
  • On average, 42% of organizations use multi-cloud. Not only does this aid them with faster customer data recovery but it also enables companies to have more cloud space.
  • The average organization places 41% of its customer information in a private cloud. Many regard this as an effective customer management system.

What’s New With ERP Software in 2021?

ERP software systems are showing extensive market growth for one simple reason. ERP systems are streamlining their processes and making their applications more user-friendly. In addition to a faster, simpler system, they’re providing more concise and accurate enterprise data.

Unlike older ERP systems, more advanced platforms are offering customizable features. This makes the system easy to be used across different platforms and sectors. How exactly are these new features affecting the organizations using them?

The usage statistics speak for themselves.

  • On average, 43% of market leaders are currently looking for new and upgraded technologies in their ERP systems. Not only do they want systems to be easier to upgrade but faster to operate.
  • A staggering 80% of IT developers firmly believe that a considerable amount of ERP processes can be replaced by AI or machine learning. This will considerably reduce staff costs and simplify processes, enabling your organization to provide a strong best practices policy.

Conclusion

A very positive and effective factor of an ERP system is that it streamlines the organization by joining all the various business platforms. Business efficiencies have never been easier to achieve.

As an added incentive to the ERP software, the inclusion of artificial intelligence facilitates the process of turning your system into effective business solutions. The more developed ERP systems allow the system to advance and grow as your business does, making it significantly easier to reach business goals.

Applying the statistics we’ve covered in this article will enable you to make more informed decisions about the type of ERP system needed for your organization’s continued success.

What is ERP Implementation? The 10 Process Stages You Need to Know!

Are you one of the many companies that’ll be implementing a new ERP software solution in the coming months? Enterprise Resource Planning—ERP as it’s often referred to—is a software solution that automates and integrates all your business processes into one user-friendly platform.

Essentially, implementing a new ERP system is the arduous process of changing all your companies’ business processes. ERP implementation requires strategic planning, testing, and eventually launching the software to become your central business model.

What is ERP Implementation?

ERP implementation can be defined as the process involving the installation of relevant ERP software as well as the migration of your company’s financial data to the new system. It also involves the training of appointed users and access configurations. Considering all the various deployment options of an ERP system is also dependent on successful testing.

Understanding the ERP Implementation Process

Once you have decided to convert your company’s current business model to include an ERP system, the next step on the agenda will be implementation. ERP implementation can be defined as the process that examines current practices and converts and improves these business processes to the new ERP software.

The processes that are covered by ERP implementation include the following:

  • Data migration as well as cleansing and removal of old redundant data
  • Change management through constant interacting with users
  • Testing of software and all related applications
  • Strategic planning of future maintenance of the new software
  • Training users on the various software functionalities

To get a more concise view of the actual ERP implementation methodology, I’ve summarised the process into 10 easy steps.

Step 1: Choosing the Right ERP Vendor

Purchasing an ERP software system is a large endeavor. Not only does it require a considerable amount of money, but it also consumes a lot of time, effort, and training. As far as your business is concerned, it’s an investment and should be treated as such. Currently, SAP and Sage are the second and third biggest ERP software suppliers respectively.

With this in mind, you might be asking yourself how you can guarantee that this investment into your company’s future pays the required dividends, both short-term and long-term. The simple answer is to ensure that you partner with the best ERP software installation expert in your specific industry.

But, with so many companies offering the same product how do you know which vendor will be the right one to select? Which vendor will offer you the most professional services? Here are a few factors to consider when selecting the ERP vendor that’s best suited to your business. This will prevent you from wasting time and resources.

Industry-Specific Knowledge

ERP software is not a “one-size-fits-all” purchase. Each industry has its own challenges and requirements to function at its optimum level. The first step is to ensure that the ERP supplier can provide an industry-specific software solution.

The software needs to match all your business requirements. It also needs to be written in a language that meets your business and customer needs. The closer the program is to what you need, the less money will be spent on customization. This will result in an easy implementation process.

Long-term Stability

It’s important to consider the track record of the vendor you’re considering. A vendor that’s well-established as an ERP provider will go a long way toward reassuring you of a successful implementation project.

This goes hand-in-hand with the vendor’s reputation in the industry. Do some research about their previous dealings and implementations. Make a note of having a conversation with at least two or three of their previous clients who had similar product implementation. Enquire about after-sales service, IT support, costing, and ability to deliver on promises.

ERP Implementation Procedures

An effective ERP supplier must have the skill and experience to deal with any pre and post-go-live issues. This means they need to provide you with project management best practices throughout the whole implementation process. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all terms and conditions offered by the vendor. It’s also possible to employ a third-party ERP consultant to assist with the process.

Step 2: Determine Your ERP Goals

ERP GoalsBefore any new system is acquired, it’s crucial to establish the business needs going forward. This is done by drawing up a list of goals that you require the new software to fulfill. Goals need to be realistic and should be possible to achieve during the various implementation processes.

Essentially, you need to ask yourself questions similar to the following:

  • Why does your company need the new technology?
  • Is this ERP software industry-specific and has it effectively been tested?
  • What target or results do you want the software to help you achieve?
  • What are your existing business processes and how do they differ from the new business processes?
  • What are the problems in your current system that you hope implementing a new ERP system will solve?
  • What is the implementation timeline and how will this affect your day-to-day operations? What effect will this have on your customers?
  • How long will training users take and have SMART goals been set regarding this time frame?

Step 3: Design User Interface to your Company’s PreferenceUser Experience

People who have used, purchased, or installed the Enterprise Resource Planning software have a lot of stories to tell about how good or bad the system is. However, not enough consideration is given to the design and user interface aspect of the system.

User interface refers to the way employees can access and use the system. Part of a successful ERP implementation relies on how well an employee understands the new ERP software. There are a few characteristics that define a user-friendly interface that’s specifically suited to your business needs.

Minimal Design

All commands and functionalities should be visible and easily accessible. It’s important to create a screen that’s clutter-free and structured. It’s important to use colors and fonts in a manner that simplifies the process.

User-friendly

An interface should also make it easy for users to navigate their way around the system without having to constantly refer back to training guides. Designing a user-friendly interface will motivate your employees to explore the system on their own and easily find solutions to the queries.

This type of design will also make employees more comfortable and confident in using the system. Once employees feel comfortable with the way the system works and their understanding of it, there will be fewer IT queries to deal with.

Responsiveness

Choosing a cloud-based ERP software platform allows you to access your system from anywhere if that’s what you prefer. Cloud EPR means your employees can log in using their tablets, smartphones, or laptops.

If this is an option you’d like to consider, ensure that your interface is compatible with different screen dimensions. Two of the most popular cloud-based ERP software programs are SAP Business One and SAGE ERP 300. It’s worth looking into if you’re running a small to a medium-sized start-up business.

As mentioned earlier, each business might require its own customized interface, customized to its specific business requirements.

Step 4: Development of ERP System

ERP software development assists organizations to better manage the resources available to them. The key aim of an ERP system is to integrate business processes as well as facilitate the general flow of information within your company.

Not all ERP systems are the same. However, there are a few crucial ERP features that are commonly found in most ERP software systems. Let’s have a look at these.

Integration

Integration is the key factor that sets an ERP system apart from other software types. An ERP software system is made up of a host of business applications built to easily work together. The integration allows these different applications to create a user-friendly platform.

A single ERP database can collect, analyze and store data across various departments which are commonly called business units on the ERP system. Streamlined databases are a more effective way for anyone using the system to access relevant information needed to provide the relevant levels of customer service.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management, or CRM as it’s referred to in the ERP industry, is software that has two beneficial advantages. Firstly, CRM systems are a perfect option for companies whose consumer base is too large to manage and control with mere spreadsheets.

Secondly, CRMs within an ERP system can centralize customer information which allows for quick access when performing functions on other parts of the system. An instance of this would be being able to access a customer’s address while processing shipping information.

Tracking and Visibility

Some experts regard the ERP solution’s ability to provide comprehensive visibility as the greatest feature. The most prominent example of this is what’s known as supply chain visibility. Many ERP solutions have the technology to track completed products from manufacture to final delivery.

Aside from tracking tangible objects, the inventory system and ERP system can also track required information, such as:

  • Sales
  • Product marketing
  • Staff productivity
  • Production statistics

Reporting

Reporting Dashboard ExampleERP can report required analysis to end-users. Tools to provide these reports are usually made up of the following:

  • Customizable dashboards for each department
  • Pie charts
  • Gantt charts
  • Bar graphs

It’s important to note that access is often restricted to the reporting functions. This is done to protect a company’s confidential information. The last thing you need is for your sales revenue figures to be shared with your competitors.

Data Analysis

Collecting and processing data through all your different business functions is already a primary ERP function. It makes sense then that an effective ERP system adds analysis to the mix. ERP can easily analyze all data pertaining to different business operations, production statistics, client data, sales data, and many other components.

This type of analysis gives you the necessary tools to increase general productivity. It can also provide you with future projections of product lines, sales figures, and estimated product revenues.

Step 5: Parallel Implementation

A key step in your ERP implementation process is what’s commonly called parallel implementation. This is a phasing strategy that many organizations are opting for. It encompasses operating the new ERP system as well as the existing system simultaneously.

Typically, users train and practice on the new system which isn’t live, but active for training purposes. They then continue to work on the old system to ensure there is no disruption of the daily business operations. This is particularly useful in a manufacturing company where order processing won’t be interrupted.

Customer interactions and transactions are not compromised while the staff is learning the ins-and-outs of the new system. End-user training is not too rushed and employees have relevant time to learn all the new ERP activities. ERP project team leaders agree that this is the least risky strategy.

Step 6: Phased Rollout

A phased rollout simply allows your new ERP software system to evolve over some time. This means that implementation is broken down into smaller sections. A phased rollout allows users to easily and gradually adjust to the new ERP system.

There are generally six phases of an ERP implementation plan which are listed below:

  • Discovery and creating a project plan
  • Design
  • Development
  • System testing
  • Deployment
  • Ongoing IT and system customer support

Opting for a passed rollout process is particularly effective in a production environment. This allows for production processes to continue uninterrupted.

Step 7: Training for your Staff

Online Learning for StaffThe success of any new ERP system largely depends on the training and engagement of the staff that is going to use it. These staff members are commonly referred to as the end-users. They’re the employees who’ll use the system to deal directly with the company’s customers.

Changing technology and introducing new software can be very daunting to some employees. This is especially true in cases where particular employees have been using the “old” or “current” system for several years. To get your employees engaged with the new system, it’s important to follow these expert tips:

  • Request training guides from your ERP development partners for each new stage of the process. These guides should be in the form of modular training that each employee needs to complete.
  • Create a sense of urgency among staff from the start. Explain the importance of meeting deadlines with modular training. Encourage them to be interested and enthusiastic about the training. User acceptance is key to implementation success.
  • Motivate your employees by showing them how the system will benefit their particular job functions. For instance, does the new system streamline their admin duties? Does it enable them to assist customers more efficiently?
  • During each phase of the training, make use of training videos and other visual aids. Ensure there is actual interaction with the system in a training environment.
  • Create teams in which you partner stronger employees with colleagues who may be finding it difficult to keep up. Create a buddy system where team members can teach and guide each other.
  • If necessary, make use of a professional with experience in adult learning in the workplace.

To give you some insight into one of many training videos you could use to introduce your employees to your chosen ERP system, watch the clip below;

 

Step 8: Testing the ERP System

The importance of a comprehensive and efficient test run before your ERP system goes live is vital. Whether you’re running a multi-million dollar corporation or a small start-up, ERP experts recommend that testing the full capacity of the system is part of a successful implementation.

The main reasons for ERP implementation failure can easily be chalked down to five factors:

  • ERP software is not tested before going live.
  • The testing is done by employees and not by ERP experts who are part of the ERP project team.
  • Testing is done badly, hurriedly or not in totality due to time constraints or budget restrictions.
  • Staff is not trained properly, or training of key employees is not finalized before the go-live date.
  • The ERP system hasn’t been suitably customized to your particular business needs.

Step 9: Deployment of ERP into Your Company Process

The last step of your company’s ERP system implementation is known as the “go-live” process. This is done when hardware and software have been installed and incorporated. Staff should be fully trained and assessed by this time.

Your project manager and implementation team should have prepared for every possible scenario and have the tools available to deal with each problem. Going live is a very hectic and stressful process so everyone needs to be ready and prepared.

The most effective way to proceed through this phase effectively is to draw up a checklist that includes all departments. Your project manager or your implementation partner may already have a general checklist in place. Ensure that it covers every aspect of your particular scenario.

The most important factors that should be on your checklist include the following:

  • Has all the hardware required for business operations been installed, tested and synchronized?
  • Have all the necessary business reports been tested and printed? Analyze all data in the report and verify accuracy. Ensure there are no glitches.
  • All accounting and financial reports should also be tested and information verified.
  • Ensure that your Email Client has been thoroughly synchronized with your ERP software.
  • Ensure all end users have access to the system required for their particular job title. Make sure each user has an individual password that grants them access to the functions and reports they need to work effectively.
  • Confirm that data migration has been done and is 100% accurate. Compare it to data from the old system or reports that were printed off of the outgoing system.
  • Ensure that backup measures are in place. Each team member should know the channel of command to follow in the event of any hardware or software malfunction.

Generally, the implementation life cycle of an ERP system from project planning to go-live ranges from 6 to 12 months. To better understand the process changes that take place in the life cycle of an ERP system, you might find the below clip useful.

 

Step 10: Support & Updates

To avoid ERP implementation problems, every project manager needs to ensure that adequate IT support is in place and available on-premises. The success of your post-go-live environment will depend on having the right technical supports on hand to deal with each issue as it arises.

Expert tips for maintaining a secure and updated ERP system include the following:

  • Keep your ERP software updated: This keeps the system free of viruses and prevents breaches that can compromise software security.
  • Keep users regularly updated: Inform active users of security and system changes. Constantly update passwords and ensure only authorized personnel has access to the system.
  • Arrange for regular backup and data storage: Regular maintenance of the system’s backup points will ensure the system is protected from security risks.
  • Separate duties: Split daily duties and functions so that employees can anticipate potential threats to the system.
  • Review the security options offered by the ERP system: If you don’t have your own security protocols in place consider the options offered by the ERP software. Ensure that these protocols protect your data and functionalities from hackers. Putting the correct security measures in place and keeping them updated will go a long way towards protecting your customer’s data and keeping it secure. This applies to your confidential company information such as financial ledgers, designs, and marketing strategies as well.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to ERP software, a positive and well-planned implementation approach is crucial to the success of the whole ERP project. Take the time to follow through with each expert tip we’ve offered and ensure constant liaison with your software provider.

ERP implementation is by far the biggest IT project most companies will ever experience. This will ensure your ERP use goes down smoothly and benefits you in the long run!

Peppol – Your Key to Better Business in Singapore

The business world in Singapore and around the globe is evolving fast these days. If you want to beat your competition you need to move with the trends. That means investing in innovative resources to improve productivity, customer service, workmanship and time management. Most business leaders and service providers agree with this, but are you doing it effectively?

One common mistake is to forget to upgrade administrative workflows. Your nationwide e-invoicing can improve exponentially by simply using modern solutions such as PEPPOL. In Singapore, with IMDA approval, TWM can help you get it right.

Find out more so you know how to optimize your business this year.

What is PEPPOL?

PEPPOL is the acronym for Pan European Public Procurement On-Line. This is a network that enables effortless e-invoicing between buyers, sellers, clients, and service providers.

A big drawcard to this network is that you can use it no matter what e-invoicing software you currently use. It acts as the mediator between different ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems and e-invoicing applications. It facilitates an easy flow of information with no compatibility issues and offers more security than email.

How Does it Work?

Anyone who is part of the network can send e-invoicing information to PEPPOL. The system uses a standard e-invoicing system for all participants and sends the invoices to your recipient’s finance system. The recipient will receive it via the network and will be able to act on it.

This requires no paper trail, no printing of invoices, and no complicated reformatting of data to suit the other party’s software. You can use PEPPOL for local, nationwide, or global finance tasks.

The system isn’t limited to e-invoicing. You can also process documents such as credit memos.

What makes this better than other outdated systems?

 

The Benefits Explained

If you’re thinking your current system is sufficient, think again. Consider these advantages:

  • It’s a better alternative than simply using email because it’s more secure. The network can only be accessed by members who have a PEPPOL ID, keeping the data safe.
  • Your company minimizes its carbon footprint because you use less paper for finance tasks.
  • Employees save time because of fewer errors, less filing, and no time wasted on software incompatibility or battling to contact clients.
  • Your finance department will have fewer errors because there’s the less manual transfer of data between forms and papers.
  • Payment cycles improve for service providers, thanks to better workflow for both buyers and sellers.
  • It’s easy to stay compliant with policies thanks to an automated system. You’re not subjected to many human errors or risk a hacked email.
  • Office morale improves because employees enjoy a more streamlined workflow, get more work done and work less overtime.

 

Benefits relate to a grander scale too. If you do business with anyone in the EU, PEPPOL is an easy option to ensure you adhere to EU regulations. You’ll comply with the guidelines relating to exchanging electronic documents online.

When you use PEPPOL you take an important step in the digitalisation of your company. This is essential for all modern businesses.

 

How to Enjoy the Benefits

In Singapore, if you want to use PEPPOL you will partner with an IMDA (Infocomm Media Development Authority) listed service provider, such as TWM. This entity can provide you with PEPPOL ready solutions to use in your business. Via this solution, you will have a connection to an access point that makes you part of the network.

Don’t be concerned that you’ll have to replace all your existing programs. You simply need popular software such as SAP and Business One that’s PEPPOL-ready. They can connect to the network via the access point. This is the service TWM can assist you with.

 

PEPPOL Usage—an Overview

When you invest in a new asset for your Singapore company, you want to know it’s worth the expense. To grasp the impact PEPPOL can make on your business, consider these facts.

 

Worldwide

Understand that PEPPOL is designed to support global communication between companies. This is because it was originally meant to make foreign transactions between governments a little easier. You can be sure the system has a sound infrastructure.

Now, businesses can use the structure to send invoices to anyone around the globe. If your contact has an access point they will be connected to the PEPPOL network. This creates an easy solution for vendors who want to grow their Singapore businesses into global brands. It becomes effortless to communicate with clients abroad.

This does show the importance of ensuring the network grows. The more companies join the system, the easier it is for everyone to transact with each other.

 

The EU

You’re probably aware of the strict guidelines the EU implements when it comes to transferring data. If you want to transact with companies in the European Union you must ensure your system aligns with these safety regulations.

For EU public buyers, joining the network is a wise decision. Many companies in the EU—and elsewhere—now sees PEPPOL as a preferred network for exchanging documentation such as invoices. If you want to enjoy smooth business interactions with them, you may need to join the network too.

 

Singapore

Safe transactions are important for modern governments, especially in countries such as Singapore that attract international clients. It keeps Singapore and its businesses safe from fraud & other risks. It also boosts revenue.

To promote the use of PEPPOL Singapore—and many other countries—have incentive programs. This motivates business leaders to join the network. It increases revenue for companies and countries & makes nationwide e-invoicing easy. This is why, in 2019, the IMDA initiated a nationwide e-invoicing system.

In Singapore, any government supplier who needs to submit invoices is advised to use this e-invoicing service. The Singapore government, with the IMDA, has a specific channel allocated to this. They also provide all the necessary information about compliancy and implementation to help Singapore businesses onboard quickly.

It’s clear that both locally and internationally, businesses AND governments can benefit from the new PEPPOL initiative, motivated strongly by the IMDA.

 

Conclusion

Do you want to transact faster with easy nationwide e-invoicing, grow your brand outside Singapore or apply to become a government supplier? Get access and start thriving!

TWM in Singapore can help you do business the 21st century way. PEPPOL is one of the best resources to ensure this and we’re an approved IMDA vendor. If you’re working or planning to work with new Sage 300 and SAP Business One, do it right from the start. We’re here to assist.

What You Need to Know About Productivity Solutions Grant

As the world is feeling the pinch—or to some, the punch—of the Covid-19 pandemic, SME owners are left looking for ways to improve their existing processes while keeping their heads above water. Everyone is riding the same storm out, just in different boats.

Thankfully, SME owners aren’t sitting in their boats alone as the Singapore government is right beside them equipping them with the tools and support to get through this.

There are many different grants that the Singapore government is able to give to SMEs to help them navigate trying times. These grants include the likes of the Capability Development Grant (CDG), the Innovation & Capability Voucher (IVC), the Productivity-Max (P-Max) Programme, and the topic of today’s article: The Productivity Solutions Grant PSG.

Today we’ll be discussing what the PSG grant is, its eligibility requirements, how to apply for it as well as providing the answers to some frequently asked questions. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, we urge you to keep reading so you can find out how this grant can help your business.

 

What is Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)?

The Productivity Solutions Grant, also known as the PSG, is a grant that enables companies to adopt IT solutions and equipment with the aim of increasing their company productivity & streamline their processes.

A range of solutions to help better your business are on offer. These solutions can be applied to all sorts of industries and all kinds of areas including but not limited to customer management, quality assurance, data analytics financial management, HR management & more.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the supportable solutions at your disposal:

  • Temperature screening solutions
  • Virtual meeting and telephonic tools
  • Online collaboration tools
  • Logistics management tools
  • Inventory Tracking Systems (ITS)
  • Marketing management systems

All solutions have been pre-scoped by the National Environmental Agency (NEA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), as well as Enterprise Singapore and various other governmental agencies.

What makes this grant in particular so popular is that it has a maximum funding support level of 80%. The start and end date for this grant are from 17 April up until 31 December 2020.

 

What are the Requirements for Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)?

For the most part, the eligibility requirements for the Productivity Solutions Grant are fair and easy to meet. Any business that is registered and operating in Singapore that intends to purchase, lease, or subscribe IT solutions or equipment within Singapore is eligible.

For selected solutions, only SMEs with a minimum percentage of 30 local shareholding and a Group annual sales turnover of S$100 million or less or less than 200 employees will be eligible.

Remember that TWM is a pre-approved PSG grant vendor for both IT solutions as well as equipment, so we’ll be able to answer your questions and provide assistance in every step of your technology journey.

Do contact us if you need PSG grant for your business.

 

How to Apply for Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for my Business?

If your business meets the specified requirements and it sounds like the Productivity Solutions Grant is the logical next step for your business to take, you’ll need to know how to apply. Unlike applying for other grants, the Productivity Solutions Grant application process is straightforward. Here’s what you need to know.

Firstly, you’ll need to identify relevant solutions that are able to satisfy your business needs by browsing through the list of supportable solutions.

Once you’ve identified the solutions that you’d like to take advantage of you’re required to submit a quotation request to vendors that provide the equipment and IT solutions you need. Get the quotation from the vendor and move on to the next step.

Finally, you’ll need to register your company and set up a CorpPass account in order to apply for the grant. The registration process is quick and easy, simply state whether you’re the Registered Officer, the Admin or the User & follow the prompts.

After registering, follow these five simple steps on the Business Grant Portal (BGP).

  • Step 1: Click on the “Get New Grant” button.
  • Step 2: Answer three questions pertaining to your project.
  • Step 3: Fill out the application form and click on the “Submit” button.
  • Step 4: Track the status of your application.
  • Step 5: Accept the Letter Of Offer.

 

Final Thoughts

If your company is one of the companies keen to embrace technology and reap the rewards, you should seriously consider applying for the Productivity Solutions Grant as so many other businesses have done.

Fill in the simple online application, submit it, and get the funding you need to take your business to new heights. We are living in the digital era and our businesses need to take advantage of the relevant solutions that best suit and work for our needs.

Add “business transformation” to the top of your to-do list by applying for your PSG grant today or risk being left behind in the dust of your competitors.

We hope you found this article informative and that your next steps are evident. Don’t forget to share this information with others who may also find it helpful.

 

FAQs about IMDA PSG Grant

1) Can non-SMEs be supported under PSG?

Applicants applying for ESG’s PSG have to be SMEs, non-SMEs will not be supported.

2) How do we determine if an applicant is “local”?

30% of ordinary shares (ultimate individual ownership) has to be held directly or indirectly by Singaporeans/PRs.

3) Does the applicant have to be registered in Singapore?

Yes, the applicant has to be registered in Singapore to be eligible for PSG.

4) Can companies apply for PSG after signing a contract with the vendor, or making payment?

No, please note that applicants must apply for PSG before they have:
– Made any payment to a supplier, vendor or third party in relation to the purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solution or equipment
– Signed any contract with a supplier, vendor or third party in relation to the purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solution or equipment Otherwise, the application will be rejected.

5) Is there a cap to the PSG approved grant available to companies?

For applications supported by ESG, there is a grant cap of $30,000 per entity per year (1 April to 31 March). Example: If an applicant utilises $30,000 in PSG grant monies by Dec. 2018, the applicant would only qualify for PSG again from 1 April 2019. The equipment or IT solution may be subjected to further cost caps.

6) What are the supportable cost?

Unless otherwise stated, only the actual purchase/lease/hire purchase cost of the equipment or IT solution is supportable, and excludes other related administrative fees/charges, e.g. delivery fees, installation.

7) How many PSG grants can a company apply for?

Supportable applications are:
–  the FIRST purchase of the Solution by the applicant (single device/unit or multiple devices/units);
–  subsequent purchase of the Solution to be deployed at a different location This means that if the applicant applies subsequently (i.e. after the first application) for the same solution to be deployed at the same location, this application will be rejected.

8) Can an applicant apply for multiple solutions?

There may be 2 ways to interpret this query:

a) Multiple types of solutions
Each application in the Business Grant Portal (BGP) for PSG is only for one type of solution. If an applicant would like to apply for multiple types of solutions e.g. fleet management IT Solution and enhanced POS IT Solution, the applicant would have to submit an application per solution type.

b) Multiple devices/units/packages of the same solution
Each quotation submitted by the solution vendor to the applicant should indicate if the cost of the package is for 1 device/unit, or 5 devices/units, or 10 devices/units etc. If an applicant would like to apply for multiple devices/units:

For IT Solutions, applicants would not be able to indicate in the application form the number of solutions to be purchased. Applicants would have to indicate this via the total cost (e.g. number of solutions to be purchased multiplied by the cost of 1 solution). The quotation from the solution vendor should also indicate the number of devices/units the quotation is applicable for.

For equipment, applicants would be able to indicate the number of pieces of equipment to be purchased, if applicable.

Note that if the package is for 5 devices/units, the applicant would only be able to purchase 5/10/15 etc. devices/units, i.e. in multiples of 5. The applicant would not be able to prorate the cost of the package or package support for 4 devices/unit.

9) Can applicants qualify for PSG if they indicate “yes” to the question “does your business currently have this solution”?

The application would be rejected if the current solution has been supported under PSG to the same location. Deployment to a new location is allowed.

10) Can applicants opt for IT solutions or Equipment other than the pre-approved solutions?

This is not allowed for applications to ESG. Applicants have to select their solutions/equipment (and solutions vendor for IT Solutions) from pre-approved lists.

11) Can applicants purchase Equipment from a vendor online via e-commerce platforms both locally or overseas?

Yes, this is allowed. However, applicant should ensure that the equipment meets the required specifications and purchase is not made prior to the application. Approval is subjected to assessment. Proper claim documentation such as the certificate of origin, invoice, receipt, delivery order, and any other supporting documents should be furnished at point of claims.

12) Can applicants switch solution vendor?

No, this is not allowed. If an applicant intends to change the solution vendor, they would need to withdraw the previous application and submit a new one.

13) Can the Equipment or IT Solution be used overseas?

The applicant’s purchase/ lease / subscription of the Equipment or IT Solution must be used in Singapore.

14) How long must the purchased solution be held for?

The holding period for the equipment or IT Solution is 1 year from the date of final claim disbursement.

As of 2 April 2018

15) How many claims can a company submit per application? Can claims be disbursed before the project has been completed?

There can only be one claim per application. Disbursements can only be made after all the following have been achieved:

a)  Claimant has purchased/leased/subscribed to the solution; and
b)  Claimant has used the solution; and
c)  Claimant has paid for all expenses claimed; and
d)  Claimant has submitted all claim documentation

16) How long will it take for an applicant to receive the outcome of their application?

It will take approximately 4-6 weeks, provided that all the required information has been provided at the point of application.

17) How long will it take for an applicant’s claims to be processed?

It will take approximately 4-6 weeks, provided that all the required information has been provided at claims submission.

18) Can applicants submit concurrent applications?

Yes, it is allowed.

19) What is the process for applying for PSG?

An example of the application flow would be as follows:

a. Explore solutions
b. Get quotations (unsigned)
c. Apply for PSG via BGP (upload all necessary documents)
d. Await Approval (for assurance before commencing project)
e. Awarded PSG
f. Purchase solution and implement project
g. Used the solution, paid for all expenses
h. Submit claim (with necessary documents)

Enterprise Resource Planning

What is ERP? (An In-Depth Guide)

How Was ERP Created?

ERP is a term that has been around since the early to late 1990s. Throughout the years this business solution has adapted and progressed to provide actionable business solutions for small to medium business owners and large corporations alike. There has been a steady progression of the evolution of ERP systems, which stands for Enterprise Resource Planning.

Diving Deeper Into the 1990s

Business industry analysts created the term ERP to describe a new concept in business planning services that entails the integration of information for company transactions to be turned into actionable tasks throughout all the departments within an organization.

This system allowed for multiple departments, or all departments of a business to gain access to transactional information in a format that was relevant to their corresponding departments. For example, if one department recorded a transaction, this information would create a workflow or task for the department handling the next step in fulfilling a sale for a transaction.

Towards the tail end of the ’90s, another system was introduced and quickly gained popularity called a CRM. CRM solutions, also known as “customer relationship management” solutions, were centered around the beginning steps of a sale. This system mainly used by sales departments was an interactive tool that would assist in the documentation of relevant customer information related to potential future transactions.

Sales representatives would track updates on each customer going through the sales process from creating quotes, initiating contracts, and would include exclusive details such as products and pricing. The CRM became a partner to the ERP system. Businesses would use these two systems simultaneously to track the creation and management of key business data.

However, there was one setback, which involved the labor-intensive need to create reports from each system to analyze the business’ overall transactional information from pre-sale to close.

From this point, there was a new need for data warehouses that would take on the sole task of compiling all the data a business amassed each business day, and then generate reports consistently to business owners the following day.

The 2000’s

Fast forward to the early 2000s when again, there was another shift in how ERP was being used and improved. There were two main changes during this time that differentiated the ERP process from its conception and use in the late 1990s.

The first main change was that hardware increased in processing power at a lower cost to the business. And secondly, data integration tools became more advanced in that they allowed for re-usable data integration from one application to another.

This progression in ERP systems during this time resulted in a few milestones. Supply chain data became information that was able to be gathered, displayed, and analyzed simultaneously. ERP vendors were able to double down and hit the ground running with new improvements much faster due to overwhelming acquisitions throughout these years.

Every business owner and organization felt the need to have an ERP integrated into their business model as it showed highly valuable information with less effort than ever before. And finally, this also meant the code used to integrate this system became fully reusable.

Looking Ahead

So, now we know where ERP systems began and why creating this capability for small to medium business owners and larger corporations alike was so highly sought after. This would reduce the time it took to gather key business data that directly reflected how a business was performing saleswise.

While the core functions are still relevant to the ERP systems used today, it is interesting to take a look back to see how ERP began and progressed from the 1990’s to 2000’s. The ability to for ERP software to then become integrate with other business programs like the CRM (customer relationship management) for example, was a milestone in and of itself, but also a stepping stone towards the ability for ERP’s to partner up and work with programs out there.

From providing information on sales, transactions, products, and fulfillment what can we expect to improve a model that seems to have it all figured out? Looking ahead to the massive changes that have happened since the early 2000s will give us a better idea of how remarkable technological advancements can truly be in such a relatively short period of time.

How can the delivery of key business data be improved? What will come after the milestones already reached by this method? Will tasks triggered by the ERP model continue to be worked on by employees or will artificial intelligence come into play? The following paragraphs will go over ERP systems today and how information technology has carved out an even more impressive path to business solutions for business owners.

Changes Happening Today

While we have reviewed how ERP software began with a general overview of how they function. There are additional more technical business functions to go over to give us even more insight on understanding ERP, and how progressions since the early 2000s will be different today.

There will always be, however, solid core business processes supported by ERP software that will remain intact. This includes the tracking of the sales process from the initial order date through to fulfillment and finally receiving payment. This is a given, and will not change.

Another core business function of ERP systems that will transcend time is tracking the availability or inventory of a product and that initial vendors have also distributed payment for their products or services. And finally, ensuring the financial process of a business is recorded in order to generate reports for business owners to analyze data.

Today ERP implementation is incorporating artificial intelligence and automation technologies to assist in the assembly of ERP operations. Cloud ERP implementation has also started in order to create a more sustainable host for all the data flowing from the ERP business processes. This in turn reduces the cost of the constant hardware upgrades and maintenance that were previously required and viewed as a new technology advancement not so long ago.

Industry verticals are becoming more uniform in the way their sales processes are handled. This is because the introduction of highly automated online sales systems has steadily increased in demand by consumers. Potential customers seek to find the easiest, fastest, and least time-consuming alternatives to purchasing goods and services, the internet has allowed for this new wave of sales to happen.

The ERP business process has naturally welcomed this change as it ties in seamlessly to how an ERP system functions. Automation advancements have greatly improved to give consumers the efficiency they are looking for in the buyer process. While this is a great turn in the improvement of technology, there are changes beginning to happen when it comes to certain roles held by employees being replaced with robotics software analytics, for example, chatbots on Facebook, other social media platforms, and business websites.

The more readily available information is for a potential customer, the more likely they are to purchase an item faster. This means tools like chatbots that run through the sales process automatically depending on where the potential customer has landed, have become an increasingly valuable and lower-cost tool than hiring an employee to provide this service.

In addition to this, artificial intelligence, or commonly referred to as AI, will allow for data to analyse at a much more rapid pace than before. Predictive analytics is also a function that AI can produce within little to no time lost. The roles held by analysts previous to AI, who would work on the analysis of key business data are becoming less so as we continue down this path.

Now let’s take a look at the key factors that drive ERP from 2016 to 2019. Initially, in 2016 a driving change in the traditional ERP method was to replace legacy systems, improve business performance, and ensure overall compliance. In 2017, improving business performance was at the top of the list.

As we previously mentioned, faster processes directly reflect a quicker sale. This leads to the second most important factor of ERP in 2017, which was to simplify employee tasks triggered by the ERP process. The quicker an employee can complete a task by automating as much of the sales and fulfillment process is ideal in having a smoothly functioning well-oiled machine.

The ability to integrate multiple systems into the ERP model was also a driving force in the progression of this model today.

What are financial professionals working on now? Firstly financial professionals have begun evaluating new trends that show great promise and high potential success rates in effectively strengthening ERP business solutions.

A major trend is using the cloud. Most ERP providers are hosted within the cloud, and unfortunately, systems that do not conform to this trend, which seems to now be the status quo, will not be able to keep up with the demands in this field. The cloud ERP provides a host of new features like blockchain, AI, Machine learning, intelligent process automation, and IoT.

New capabilities are constantly being worked on for the future success of ERP to reduce errors and increase efficiency exponentially.

How Do You Know if You need an ERP Solution?

If you are a small to medium business owner you might be at the cusp of thinking about implementing ERP software into your business. When you started your business you might not have needed too many programs to keep your operations obligations in working order.

You might have felt like you had everything under control from the beginning of your sales process to fulfillment, and this is common amongst most small to medium business owners. However, if your business has continued to grow, and say you have added a list of new products and services that you did not have before, you might start to find certain areas of your overall business operations becoming cumbersome and downright clunky.

If you are starting to sense that your overall business processes as a whole are no longer running smoothly as they once did, you might want to consider an ERP solution for your business. How can you tell if you need to begin your journey in this new direction?

The telltale sign that you might need to make some changes to your business operations process is if you are using multiple software and programs that do not integrate well together, if at all, and have gaps in coverage of the information.

You might sense that the programs you are using feel like a juggling act where you are not always quite sure how to procure reports that make sense in order to analyze your key business data. Or the programs you are using are completely disconnected and disorganized!

This is a huge pain factor for business owners who are successfully growing their business, and if you think this sounds familiar, you are not alone! This is exactly why the ERP solution was created in the first place!

Another telltale sign is if you are constantly unsure of your total inventory after a holiday rush or a busy month. It might take you hours to run all your checks and balances to determine what your final inventory numbers are, and even then you might still feel uncertain if you have made a mistake.

The most dangerous aspect of running a business without an ERP solution is if a customer purchases a product, and it turns out you do not actually have the product in stock!

Customer demands are at a level where if an efficient system is not set in place, a potential customer can tell and might be discouraged in continuing business with you. It’s important to keep this in mind when considering if it is time for you to switch to an ERP implementation solution for your organization.

Do not feel discouraged as this does not mean you are doing badly, it simply means that your systems work for you! Rather than using twenty different platforms, it is okay to consider a better system that will help you decrease your workload when it comes to keeping the checks and balances of your business.

Why not have an easier way to see final numbers in real-time and have the ability to access easy and fast reporting methods to relay information to your employees. Increasing the visibility of your operations takes the guesswork out of what is coming into the business and what is going out.

ERP software also gives you the capability to automate and auto-populate almost any aspect of your operations. This allows you to avoid the need to enter each piece of information into a spreadsheet where you are not able to transfer data from one place to another easily. Managing spreadsheets like this takes hundreds of man-hours, and can ultimately hinder the success of your business.

Modern ERP also includes an application programming interface. This interface is what allows you to directly speak with your customers via phone or email and provide a paper trail of any information passed back and forth from the business to the customer. You can also view the analytics of the sales of your business, how certain products are performing, and so forth.

You can even connect your bank details to this system so you can provide payment to your vendors with the click of a button. Billing, invoicing and
inventory management all make up your ERP solution. All this information ebbing and flowing from one central hub is how you can manage to get back your time.

Your company’s metrics will completely transform to work for you, not the other way around. These key business metrics will also give you the insight you need to know where, how, and what products to market and to which audiences.

You will have all the information you need on audience demographics when customers are purchasing your products throughout the day or even throughout the year. You will be able to see clear as day which products are performing and selling best, or even which products are performing best during certain times of the year.

This is invaluable in understanding when to market certain products. You will feel certain of which products require marketing campaigns and your paid advertisements won’t be done blind with guesswork. Your paid ads will have purpose and hardcore data to back up why you will be willing to spend more on advertising certain products throughout the year.

Additionally, you will be able to easily discern a clear budget for your marketing campaigns or any other aspect of the operations of your business. This is virtually a seamless, no-hassle way to make quick decisions about the direction of your business in a way that is fully intentional and informed.

Benefits of ERP

So, what is ERP? We have crossed over a great amount of information from the inception of the ERP to now, so in short, ERP in 2019 is now known as this:

ERP allows for your business to manage and integrate financials, supply chain, operations, manufacturing, reporting, and human resource activities throughout businesses. ERP providers today commonly offer clients the upkeep of new changes innovation. The most prominent changes in innovation today are the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, IoT, and much more!

This promise sets ERP companies apart from business owners who understand that technological advances are happening fast, and rather than having to switch to a more technologically in tune ERP company down the line, they will inevitably search for the ERP solution providers that give them the best possible services in the digital age.

If you are at the stage where you are searching for an ERP provider to partner with, keep a few things in mind to reduce your chances of choosing a company with a higher rate of failure in the future. Choose a company that is focused on new trends like organizational change management.

System providers are in the age now where new directives are becoming more prominent. Many providers are seeing organizational change management as a top performance variable in providing great ERP services. Research any recent technological deficiencies and failures an ERP solutions company might have had due to lack of movement in the digital age.

While an ERP claims to integrate all the vital aspects of your operations in one central hub, not every ERP provider can do actually execute this well. You should make sure to ask potential ERP providers that you are considering partnering with, on which capabilities they are performing best in.

You might choose to go with an ERP software that ticks 9 out of your 10 boxes rather than going with an ERP system that ticks all 10 boxes with a lower quality performance. Your business deserves the best, but with so much softwares out there to choose from in the digital age, it can be a risk to move all your business data to a platform that will not give you the particular results that are of utmost importance in your particular industry.

Keep this in mind when searching for solutions for your business operations, and always ask questions on deficiencies a provider might have had in the past in addition to their best performance aspects. The more you know the less likely you are to find yourself paying for a service that does not actually serve you.

While the best-of-breed model was thought to once go obsolete, it has increased in popularity recently because customization to each unique business has increased. There are so many more types of businesses and products available now than there were in the 1990s, and this is why choosing a provider that can provide as much coverage for you as possible might be a better option for you.

Adapting to change is a requirement within the ERP design. Shorter processing times for project delivery are happening in real-time and the excitement to see what will become of ERP next is anticipated to be both exciting and maybe even unsettling to some.

We hope you have found this in-depth guide to ERP software, ERP implementation, and ERP vendors useful in determining the best fit for your small to medium business or corporate organization. Overall an ERP will always be a great option for any business owner in any vertical as regardless of your industry you will always deal with countless moving factors in order to run your business successfully. ERP implementation is highly valuable because saving time is the most valuable factor of all.

What is CRM? A Simple Detailed Guide

One of the biggest things that people wonder is: What is CRM? They may have heard of it, but aren’t really sure what it means or why it’s important. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Many companies decide to use these types of systems because it makes keeping customer data secure and organized. It can also help improve customer satisfaction and customer experience.

Since customers are the thing that keeps a business going, it’s crucial to manage customer information. Losing or letting this information be stolen can lead to catastrophic consequences. There have even been times when a business goes out of business because they couldn’t keep this information where it needed to be.

One of the best things about this kind of system is that any information relating to the customers can easily be updated. This means if there’s something like a new interaction or new contact information, it can all be added with just a push of a button. This can keep everyone on the same page and prevent people from referring to old data.

If you aren’t really sure what the benefits of a CRM is or why it’s so important, keep reading to get some good information on these systems. You might be surprised how much they can benefit your company and you might realize that things could be done a lot easier!

What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?

CRM is used to manage customer contacts and customer data. Basically, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is somewhere where you can keep all of these things organized. Since everything is kept in one place, you can easily find what you’re looking for and record any new data or interactions you have with customers.

It can also be used to share data with other employees, such as sales teams or people working on marketing campaigns. Not only will this make it much easier for everyone to find what they need, but it will save time because you won’t be spending all day on the phone trying to give others the information they’re looking for.

It can also help people pay attention to customers and make sure that big accounts or opportunities aren’t missed or lost. This is especially true for companies that have hundreds of interactions with their customers per day. When there’s that much traffic, it’s easy to lost important information in the hustle and bustle! A CRM stops that from happening.

All-in-all, a CRM is there to help you have a better relationship with your customers. In this day and age, it can be hard to connect with people and you want to have the best connection you can. Not only will this make your customers feel wanted, but it will also give you an edge over the competition.

Who Should Use CRM Systems?

While a CRM system could be beneficial to pretty much any company, the ones that deal with hundreds of customers should definitely be using this type of software. Since this amount of leads can be lost in the chaos, you want to make sure you have a way to keep all data and interactions recorded. The last thing you want is to lose out on leads because you don’t have immediate access to their information.

If you feel like you’re losing sales because of unorganized information, want to keep all interactions with customers in one easy to access place or want to track your sales and leads, then a CRM might be right for your business. While it will cost some money to get started, you’ll be able to see how your business does with the system.

Keep in mind, a CRM doesn’t work for you, you can always cancel your subscription and stop using it. You could also choose to use a different CRM to see if you get better results. It might not seem like a big deal, but different systems will have different features and some will be much easier to use than others.

You really don’t have anything to lose. It’s either going to really help your business grow or it’s going to be something that isn’t really that beneficial. In the big scheme of things, paying to try a CRM for a few months isn’t really going to be a deal-breaker!

What Does CRM Mean in Business?

When it comes to a business, the relationship with customers should be one of the highest things on the importance list. While some companies don’t think it’s a big deal, customers are what make your business. To be honest, no customers means no business and you could face some pretty bad consequences.

In order to keep a business running smoothly and the way it needs to, everything needs to be organized and kept in one place. Not only will a CRM allow you to record all interactions you have with customers, but you’ll also be able to record all of their contact information and any other important details you have about them.

customer data

When people call or contact a business, they don’t want to wait forever for the company to get their information up. They also don’t want to have to go over every past interaction they’ve done. This is especially true for those customers who are contacting the company multiple times for the same thing. By using a CRM, the person at your company can bring up the customer’s info with a few button pushes. They’ll be able to get right to it and jump right into helping the customer.

The last thing a business wants is the reputation of not being able to keep their customer’s information secure or not being able to have positive interactions. Many people will tell others about their experiences, so a few bad experiences could end up losing you more than just one or two customers! You want to be on the top of your game every time!

 

Important CRM Stats for Businesses

a. CRM has been known to increase sales by up to 29%, productivity by 34%, and forecast accuracy by 42%.

b. Businesses with CRM improved their sales leads by 44%, 45% increase in customer retention, and 52% increase in integrating with other business apps.

c. 65% of sales professionals adopted mobile CRM, were able to reach their sales quotas.

d. Sales representatives can reduce lead costs by 23% using CRM.

e. CRM can boost conversion rates by 300%.

f. 74% of users believe that CRM software enhanced their access to customer data.

g. 47% of CRM users claimed that CRM greatly improved their customer retention rates.

h. Data accessibility is capable of shortening the sales cycle by 8–14% on average.

i) 65% of companies who use mobile CRM achieved their sales quotas, whereas only 22% of companies without mobile CRM achieved their sales quotas.

j) 87% of the companies that use cloud-based CRM, 13% are using on-premise CRM.

k) 91% of businesses with over 11 employees use CRM, compared to 50% of those with 10 employees or less.

Source from;

https://financesonline.com/crm-statistics-analysis-of-trends-data-and-market-share/

– https://www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics/

 

How to Use CRM for Marketing Strategy

Marketing campaigns can be huge for a company. This is a great way to generate more leads and get more customers. This is even more true for those companies that are just starting out or ones that have kind of hit a plateau. The more customers and sales you can get, the better your company is going to do.

To use a CRM for marketing campaigns, all you have to do is look for customers or leads that related to the thing you’re trying to promote. For example, if you’re trying to promote some of your products, you can look in your CRM for customers or leads that are related to the specific products.

Once you find the people you’re looking for, you can use the contact information listed in the CRM to reach out to them. You can talk to them and see if they’d be willing to advertise on their platforms. Not only can this get you more sales, but you might get more leads. More leads can lead to you being able to advertise even more. All-in-all these campaigns can really help your business grow and prosper!

It might not seem like a big deal to do these types of campaigns, but you can’t get more customers without people knowing about you. Even if you’re getting more customers through word of mouth or referrals, you want to try and expand to as many areas as possible to bring in as many customers as you can.

2 Types of CRM System

The 2 main types of business CRM systems are cloud-based CRM (aka mobile CRM) and on-premises CRM. Both of these business CRM systems can be extremely helpful and they can both be used pretty interchangeably. Most of the time, all of the information will be available on both types of systems. Keep reading to learn more about each type of system.

Cloud-Based CRM

Cloud Based CRMIn short, a cloud-based CRM or mobile CRM is any type of CRM system that’s kept on a cloud and delivered to people through the internet. This means that all information pertaining to the customer, including interactions and information, are stored in the cloud.

The good thing about this type of CRM is that the person needs to have certain information to access the data. This can either be a login or some kind of link that is sent out. Regardless of the method, these tend to be very secure since it can only be accessed a few ways.

On-Premise CRM

On Premise CRMAn on-premise CRM is one that is hosted right on the company’s personal server. This means that anyone who doesn’t have access to the actual server can’t see any of the information that’s stored in the CRM.

This is also pretty secure, but there’s a chance that a good hacker can hack right into the server. This is a huge liability because you really don’t want any of this information stolen or destroyed. If that happens, the news can get out pretty quickly and you can easily lose potential or existing customers!

Some companies even choose to use both kinds of systems. Not only will this let all employees, including remote workers, have access to customer information, but it will also allow your company to have a backup of the information if something happens. You’ll have to look at prices and features to see if this is something that will be beneficial to your company.

Does my business needs CRM?

Before deciding whether or not your business needs CRM solutions, you need to answer a few questions. These questions will give you a pretty good idea on whether or not the software will benefit you. Remember the C and R stands for customer relationship, which is one of the most important parts of a business. Take a look at the questions and answer below to help guide you through your decision.


1. Is My Company Ready for CRM Systems?

The biggest question most companies have is whether or not their companies are actually ready for this type of system. The good news is that there are a few things that will let you know if your company is ready. If you have the things listed below, then chances are that your company could benefit from this software.

  • A lot of customer data.
  • The need for managing customer information.
  • The need to improve customer satisfaction.
  • The desire to improve the customer experience.
  • The desire to improve customer relationships.
  • The desire to improve customer interactions.
  • The desire to improve existing customer contacts
  • Helping improve customer encounters and bringing in potential customers.
  • The need to improve sales and marketing.
  • The need to improve management systems.

Even if you only answered yes to a few of these questions, you should still consider using a CRM. It’s a great option for most businesses and you don’t have to worry about features you can’t use or ones that aren’t beneficial because most CRM companies offer many different tiers and prices. You can just look and see which one meets your needs the best.


2. Which CRM Features are Necessities?

With the CRM tool, there are some CRM features that are much more needed than others. These features are ones that are going to help the entire process go much easier and keep all the information for your customers in one place. Looking at the various CRM solutions will show you that each one has different features, but many are the same. Some of the most important features are listed below.

  • Good customer support.
  • Contact management and lead management.
  • Easy sales process.
  • Better sales team management.
  • Easier sales and marketing process.
  • Easy way to make essential phone calls.
  • Easier marketing campaigns.

If you aren’t really sure about which features you need, you should do as much research as possible. This will give you the best heads up for when you do finally get the software. Not only do you not want to be stuck with features you don’t need, but you don’t want to be stuck with ones you don’t know how to use.


3. What is my CRM Software Data Structure?

If you or your business isn’t in the technology field, then there’s a high chance you’ve never heard of data structure and you aren’t really sure what it is. In short, your data structure is going to be the way you group your information. This counts for potential customers and managing customer data for the existing customer you already have.

Remember the C and R stands for Customer Relationship, which is something you want to be at the top of your importance list. For the most part, your data structure should follow the same structure as listed below.

  • Set up contact information for every CRM customer.
  • Link CRM customer contacts to their respective organizations.
  • Tag the correct organizations for each customer.
  • For each contact, use a tagging structure for their personal information.
  • Arrange pipelines and follow opportunities.

While you can add any additional parts you want, you should have at least the structure listed above. Removing anything can make things not go as smoothly as they can and you might be missing out on a lot of information and leads!


4. How Can I Transfer Existing Data?

Since customer experience, customer satisfaction and customer relationships are high on the importance list, the last thing you want to do is accidentally lose any of their data. This means it’s extremely important to transfer all of the necessary data. Not only will this keep customers happy, but it will also improve customer encounters.

The good news is that a CRM tool usually has a ton of options for importing data. This means that you can get all the important data imported with just a push of a button. You won’t have to manually enter anything because the management software will do that for you. If you still aren’t sure how to do this with the management systems you chose, there should be a help or tutorial button to help you.

If you can’t find these buttons, you might need to call the software company’s service desk. They should be able to walk you through the steps you need in order to do what you need to. They might also be able to give you some additional information on tutorials that will help you.


5. What Integrations are Needed for CRM Solutions?

Integrations are an essential part of management software. This is mainly because so many businesses use 3rd party companies to help everything run the way it needs to. The great news is that these types of systems can help you get rid of the countless apps you use by putting everything together. Some of the things that you’ll need to integrate are listed below.

  • Combining all customer interactions into interaction histories.
  • Transfer all quotes or proposals.
  • Start using outside archives for documents.
  • Sending out new leads to all email systems.
  • Copy any events or tasks to smartphone calendars.

Just like the data structure, you can add more steps to your integration. The important things are that everything is transferred over and you don’t miss any important information. As long as you have everything you need, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything.


6. Who Needs Access to CRM Systems?

Since CRM has things that could be considered confidential, you need to make sure that anyone that sees the information will keep in under wraps. With that said, though, it’s a good idea to have the system available for anyone who might need it. This includes members of the sales team! If it’s easier, have people log in with personal credentials, so access records can be kept. Some of the people that need to be able to access these systems are listed below.

  • Anyone working with the company for marketing campaigns.
  • Sales teams
  • Contact management members
  • Any person working with customer service or customer support. This includes people doing phone calls and working the sales process.

For the most part, you want to have this system available to as many people at your company as possible. With that said, though, try not to give this information to many people outside of the company just because that can lead to a leak of info.


7. Who Will “Own” the CRM Systems?

Since so many people will have access to the system, things can get pretty crazy. While you could use personal credentials to keep track of logins, there’s a chance that things might still get hectic. Since this is the case, there needs to be an “owner” of the system. This person will be responsible for the system, including whether it succeeds or fails! When looking for the perfect person for this, they should also be able to do well in the areas listed below.

  • Implementation: They should be able to easily get things up and running.
  • Policies and Procedures: They should be able to understand and follow any procedures or policies for the system.
  • System Policing: They need to be able to monitor things and bring consequences to those that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.
  • Security: They need to be able to keep everything secure and prevent any information from leaking or being destroyed.

If need be, try looking at current employees’ past work performance or hold interviews for them. If you can’t find a suitable person that already works for your company, you might need to hold interviews to bring someone in. If you go this route, make sure that person signs paperwork that will prevent them from leaking any customer information.


8. Do I Need a CRM Software Consultant?

For the most part, there are 3 different types of consultants you can hire. These are CRM experts, IT consultants, and sales process consultants. Whether you need one or not is going to be up to you, but you should consider it if you’ve never used a CRM system before. You should also consider using one of the systems is really complicated or hard to navigate.

If you do decide you need a consultant, you want to make sure you hire the correct one. Make sure you hold interviews and have them show you some past work or how they do in action. You don’t want to hire someone, then find out that they really aren’t good at their job!


9. What Will the CRM Systems Cost?

The exact cost is going to differ from place to place, but there’s going to be fees regardless. Most places will give you an outright quote, but some will make you do all kinds of stuff just to get it. Some of the things you can expect to be included with the cost are listed below.

  • Fees for a consultant.
  • Costs associated with training.
  • Subscriptions for 3rd party integration.
  • Opportunity costs

Keep in mind, some systems might have other fees that are unique to their company or business. The best way to find out is to ask the company questions and see what works best for you. Another thing to remember is that there might be some fees that aren’t immediately talked about upfront. It’s always a good idea to ask and get this information so there aren’t any surprises.


10. Will the CRM Software Meet My Future Needs?

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want a CRM that’s going to meet your needs for a long time. With that being the case, don’t choose a system that only looks good for your present circumstances. Looking into the future will help you save money and time. Look and see if the system you’re considering has options that can grow with you, instead of options that are good just for the here and now.

If you aren’t really sure, you can always try and ask these questions to the company. Make sure to ask questions that can’t have biased answers because many companies will say what they need to in order to make a sale!


11. How Will I Measure ROI for the CRM Software?

ROI is extremely important for any business. You want to make sure your business is growing and the CRM system you chose is working well for your company. You can measure ROI by looking at the past information to see how it’s going.

Remember, while it’s important to make money in your business, you also want to make sure that the customer experience and customer satisfaction is high on the list. After all, no customers mean no business! The happier the customers are, the more business you’re going to get!

CRM and ERP: What’s the Difference?

There’s no disputing that today’s market offers you many user-friendly products that can help you manage your business a little easier.

What’s the challenge in this scenario? You may not know which product to purchase. All businesses work with budgets and chances are you may only have the money to add one tool or resource to your business this year.

When faced with this predicament common questions relate to CRM and ERP products. What’s the difference? Do you need one or both?

The first important fact: they’re not the same thing, even if vendors tell you they are. Read on to get some inside information, empowering you to make informed decisions on where to invest your funds.

What is an ERP?

Here we’re talking about an enterprise resource planning system. As the name suggests its core purpose is to help you manage business operations better. Of course, business operations are found in many aspects of your business:

  • Orders and sales
  • Accounts
  • Payroll
  • Human resources

A quality ERP system will easily deploy across various departments, providing dynamic features to different employees.

An important benefit you’ll immediately enjoy after implementing it is that all your departments will have access to standardized information. A high-end system offers this data in real-time. If one department notices a problem the entire spectrum of role players will receive alerts instantly.

These features enable you to become more proactive and efficient. Also, when everyone works with the same information it improves efficiency and data accuracy & will enable fast decision making.

What is a CRM?

A CRM is a customer relationship management system. You can see there’s a focus here on a very important aspect of your business: how you interact with customers.

Different role players in your business interact with your customers and a quality CRM will provide the necessary—up to date—information of any customer to whoever needs it. This happens without one party needing to ask someone else for contact details, an update on a query or the latest news on someone’s account.

The system doesn’t only store basic information about the customers, but the details about your interactions with them.

With instant access to all this information sales representatives, customer care agents and your accounting department can get work done faster. Customers also get their feedback faster than usual, resulting in more satisfied clients.

Advanced CRM systems can even assist in the following:

  • Help you with lead generation
  • Steps in planning a marketing campaign can be automated with client information being instantly accessible
  • Analysis of customer activities such as buying habits becomes easier, resulting in more effective marketing

You’ll also enjoy automation of various tasks your employees perform manually at the moment. You can save time while delivering better service than ever before.

Recommended read: “What is CRM? A Simple Detailed Guide

The Differences Explained

With ERPs being active in many departments of your business it’s clear that some of their features will overlap with CRMs. To gauge which one you should invest in, let’s discuss similarities and draw clear lines between these systems.

Purpose & Functions

Your CRM is customer-focused and will specifically help you improve your relationship with them. But note that this does affect multiple departments, all focused on your customers’ experience of your company:

  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Sales

The systems will help automate sales processes thereby saving time, speeding up your activities and meeting customer expectations faster than before.

A CRM is therefore a handy tool if you realize the lack of customer satisfaction is the main problem in not reaching your planned sales figures. Instead of restructuring your entire business this one small adjustment of implementing a CRM could bring the change you need to be successful.

In contrast, an ERP can help you upgrade processes in even more parts of your business. You can become more proactive as access to information will help you notice challenges before they become problems.

You’ll have one database that supports all the features. Features will assist with tasks such as:

  • Costing
  • Supply chain management
  • Scheduling
  • Life cycle management of products

CRM functions such as sales, marketing, call centers, and customer services may form part of an ERP’s functions too.

Effect on Your Business

It makes sense that any resource you acquire should affect your bottom line.

Your ERP helps you do this as you will invest less of your capital in managing business processes. You’ll less to cover overheads which instantly frees up cash flow for other aspects of your business.

If you use your CRM effectively you’ll notice an increase in sales. This is thanks to close relationships with customers that make them more loyal to your brand.

Users

There are similarities in who will use the systems as both can be used by multiple role players. With an ERP an employee can enter new data while managers will use the data when making decisions. In a similar fashion the CRM’s data can be updated by sales clerks while upper management will draw on the data to create sales projections.

Which One do You Need?

You can see they’ll have different results, but that doesn’t mean you need both right now.

Smaller business can often function well without an ERP system. Your departments may be physically in close proximity to each other and employees can easily share information with the few relevant role players. Once you grow and the infrastructure becomes more complex it’s a smart move to implement an ERP.

In contrast, almost any business would be wise in acquiring CRM. Your relationships with your customers at the start of your company will determine how quickly you grow. Implementing a structured, effective way to manage client information—instead of a messy paper-based system many small businesses settle for—is an investment worth making.

Should you invest in an ERP that can handle CRM functions too? Simply make sure you don’t pay for features you’ll never use.

Conclusion

There’s no question that these products can influence your productivity and even your revenue for the better. But it only happens if the system’s core functionalities relate to your needs. And yes, some businesses may need both.

Research well before you buy and then enjoy how streamlined your business becomes.

To ERP or Not to ERP: Should SMEs Invest in Enterprise Resource Planning?

If small companies expect to thrive in today’s competitive business environment, they must be willing to take the necessary steps. That includes investing in software that can make their business operations more efficient and give them a competitive edge. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is one such system that small businesses must seriously consider.

Is ERP too “big” for small businesses to handle? Not necessarily.

Small business owners must rather be worried about what they’re missing out on by not incorporating this type of system in their companies. ERP systems enable organisations to become better equipped at navigating the competitive business landscape.

Larger businesses understand the value of this system and it’s high time smaller companies realise it too. Many small business owners view an ERP as expensive—which it is. But it only takes a look at the benefits associated with this system to realise that it’s a worthwhile investment.

What is ERP?

ERP is a key software product designed to manage a company’s productivity, order processing and inventory. This system handles and manages business aspects such as:

  • Revenue management
  • Materials
  • Orders
  • Staffing
  • Manufacturing capacity

And the best part is that the above-mentioned functions are handled by a single interactive database management system.

Still sceptical about investing in this system? Maybe answering the following questions will get rid of all uncertainty.

Which Small Businesses Can Invest in ERP Systems?

You’re probably thinking this system is only designed for businesses specialising in specific industries. But ERP can be used by small businesses across all industries which include but aren’t limited to:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Human resources
  • Accounting
  • Construction
  • Agricultural

Are ERP Systems Really Suitable for Small Businesses?

Small business owners cite funding limitations and lack of technical support when it comes to investing in ERP systems. Frankly, both reasons were valid in the past, but not anymore.

Granted, there weren’t many ERP systems suitable for small business back then, but thanks to recent technological advancements, there are more practical solutions available.

What Benefits Can Small Businesses Expect from ERPs?

Costs aside, what are the benefits you’ll forfeit as a small business by not investing in an ERP system?

Increased Efficiency

In the absence of ERP software, chances are that each department has its own information system. This means relevant data can’t be shared and accessed across all departments. ERP systems are designed to integrate this data across you departments which:

  • Eliminates duplication of efforts: No two departments will have to re-enter the same data.
  • Minimises errors: Because there won’t be a need to constantly export data, you’ll notice a significant reduction in errors.
  • Reduced expenses: Since data is automated, you don’t need to assign many people the task of capturing data. This reduces costs associated with human resources.

Quick Decision Making

Fast decision making is crucial if businesses want to keep up with their competitors and satisfy customers. If departments have individual information systems, you can expect delays—and red tape—before decisions are made. This is because most decisions can only made based on available data.

That’s where your ERP system comes in; it provides real time data to the relevant departments. As a result:

  • Decisions are made quickly
  • Obstacles and loopholes affecting productivity are detected on time
  • Relevant departmental heads are always in the loop regarding the overall production picture

Increased Productivity

Is your business slacking on productivity? Maybe staff are spending most of their time entering and re-entering data. ERP streamlines business processes so that staff can focus on increasing volumes and devising new strategies that can improve productivity.

When to Consider Investing in ERP Systems

We get it; businesses set goals. And one of yours may be to invest in ERP systems in the third year of your business operations. While we respect adhering to your strategic plan, there are some cases that warrant immediate implementation of ERP systems and can’t wait for the three-year mark.

Consider investing in an ERP system right away if:

  • You now find it time-consuming to process a large volume of data. Are you now heavily relying on the use of Excel spreadsheets?
  • You’re overwhelmed by keeping track of client interactions.
  • Processing orders and updating inventory has become a tedious & cumbersome process.
  • Your sales forecasts are now based on guess work.
  • If accessing solid facts needed for decision making has become problematic.

What to Consider Before Picking an ERP System

Congratulations for deciding on investing in what may very well be one of the biggest investments for your business. But don’t pick the first system you come across.  As a small business you want to invest in a system that’s specific to your industry and meets your needs. Opt for software that’s manageable and cost-effective.

Answer the following questions before making your final investment.

Is it User-Friendly?

Ideally the ERP system you pick must have a responsive interface that your staff will find easy to navigate

Is it Customisable?

The software must be scalable according to your business objectives. It must allow you to pick the features you want to use and have room to adapt with business growth.

Does it Need Frequent Upgrading?

With any software, regular updates are mandatory. However, you must pay attention to the terms regarding upgrades. Do the updates attract a certain fee? Opt for software which has locked upgrade fees that don’t increase with future releases.

Is it Secure?

Are the passwords strong? Who is authorised to view certain data? Pick a system that’ll keep your data secure and only accessible by relevant parties.

Recommended read: “Cloud ERP vs On-Premise ERP: A Comprehensive Comparison

Does it Come with Support Services?

Software that comes with sufficient technical support is ideal. Pick a vendor that provides you with personnel for set up, training and ongoing maintenance.

Final Words

Are you convinced an ERP system is something your business is in need of? Invest in ERP software and watch your small business flourish.

If you have any queries about using ERP for your business, you can talk to our friendly staff.

7 Top Tools for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

ERP ToolsRunning a business is no walk in the park—buy you already know this. Integrating the various facets of a business and aligning them to your main organizational goal can be pretty daunting.

We get it: all departments in your organization are crucial and contribute to your business success. But let’s face it; some are more important than others and require extra management and monitoring.

Savvy business owners understand this. They’re constantly on the look-out for systems and processes that’ll make prioritizing and integration of these departments easier. Are you part of this progressive business minded group?

If not, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon by employing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that’ll make running your business a little easier.

What is ERP?

Picture a system that integrates the different departments in your organization to function in a logical and methodological manner. When you do this with an ERP the end result is an easy and uniform flow of information under clearly defined controls.

What Tools Must be Part of the ERP System?

You won’t be doing your business any favors by simply opting for the first ERP software you come across. An effective ERP system needs to have certain tools if you expect seamless performance.

We’ve taken the liberty to highlight the top tools you must consider non-negotiable in your system.

Top Requirements

Regardless of the system you pick, at the very least it must be able to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Contain simple and intuitive interfaces that are easy to operate.
  • Have a common database that can be easily accessed by users throughout the organization.
  • Be compatible with all the departments in your organization.
  • Have search functions that allow users to obtain whatever information is required to perform tasks to the best of their ability.
  • The system must be both customizable and scalable. Users must have the ability to add—or remove features—depending on their departmental needs.

What Are the Top Tools to Consider?

Certain tools are mandatory in any ERP system in order to meet the above-mentioned requirements. Let’s look at them below.

Database Management Tool

The first aspect that must be present in the ERP system you pick is a data storage and information management function. Knowledge—or in this case information—is power in any organization. And as such it must be managed accordingly.

The type of data storage functionality you pick will depend on the industry your business specializes in and common examples include:

  • Relational databases
  • Content management systems
  • Repository applications
  • Transactional database

Regardless of the type you pick, you have the option of hosting it locally, remotely or in the cloud. Your business needs, capacity and resources will determine which is the best option for you.

Permission Based Controls

As mentioned earlier, data is vital in any organization—but only if it’s in the hands of the right people. While we advocate for seamless data integration throughout your various departments, not everyone must have access to certain information.

This is why the system you pick must have interfaces which contain suitable permission controls. This will determine who will gain access to data.

Is the data open to editing or must it only be read? You don’t want unauthorized personnel having the ability to edit an important document drawn up by management. Not only can this result in potential fraud, but such undesirable loopholes can cost the company dearly.

Workflow Management Tool

For businesses to function effectively, processes, decisions and tasks need to be conducted in a logical manner. This is where a workflow management tool comes in. The software must have a clearly defined workflow that has suitable access levels depending on the users’ authority levels.

Reporting Tool

Different reports are generated in organizations on a daily basis. What’s important is that the data contained on the reports is readily accessible when needed to aid in decision-making or facilitate certain tasks.

An ERP system must contain a functionality that allows these reports to be available in real time. Imagine missing out on a scheduled delivery to a customer because you didn’t realize the items were now ready for dispatch. Such unprofessional conduct impacts negatively not only on your business operations, but image too. A system that notifies the relevant staff regarding such information is invaluable.

Communication Tools

Communication of information to various stakeholders is the order of the day in all businesses. Whether you’re sending emails or using instant messaging platforms, you want a system that allows you to perform such tasks quickly and efficiently.

The ERP system you pick must offer tools that automate such tasks both at individual and group levels. Features that must be present within these communication tools include:

  • General broadcast
  • Instant chat
  • Automated mail generation

Analytical Tools

Decision making is a crucial aspect in any organization as it influences the smooth flowing of operations and tasks. In some cases, people can only make decisions based on information on hand.

The ERP system you pick must have analytical tools that are designed to make such information readily available. Such systems will provide you with information that allows you to perform a number of tasks such as:

  • Tracking sales
  • Monitoring customer behavior
  • Comparing results

This information will better equip you to identify areas that need improvement or more resources.

Resource Allocation Tools

Distribution of resources can’t happen in a haphazard manner. You risk misappropriating resources which can prove to be costly to your business. An effective ERP system must have resource allocation tools that give you a clear indication of:

  • Resources utilized
  • List of departments that received resources to avoid duplication
  • Optimum utilization of resources
  • Current and future workloads

Conclusion

The above list of tools isn’t entirely exhaustive. There are many functions in your business that’ll significantly benefit from incorporating ERP software. These include anything from human resources to time tracking management systems.

Is this a software tool you feel your organization will benefit from? Give it a try and watch your business soar to greater heights.

CRM Vs ERP: What’s the Difference and Which One Do You Need?

The layman may use the terms Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Relationship Management (ERP) interchangeably. And understandably so, considering how the two systems tend to overlap each other regarding services offered.

Both systems are responsible for handling contacts, quotes, facilitating orders and forecasts to mention a few. It doesn’t help that several vendors suggest that CRM is incorporated under the ERP systems.

But are they the same?

If you’re looking to purchase either of the two, then differentiating them is the first step. Only then can you pick the right software to meet your business needs.

Fortunately for you, the guessing and assumption game is over. We’re here to outline the main differences between these two software programs. We’ll also take it a step further by advising you on which system you may need. But of course, we can only recommend; the final decision is yours.

Different Users

There might be confusion on how the footprints of both systems are more or less the same, but there’s no uncertainty regarding who uses them. So, we’ll make this our first differentiating factor.

The main users of the CRM systems interact directly with customers. These are people involved in the sales and marketing function of organizations. They aren’t involved in the logistics and fulfilling of orders. Their job is to convince prospective customers to purchase the company’s products or services.

So, who then deals with the actual processing and logistics of fulfilling orders? The ERM system users. Personnel that fall under this bracket include:

  • Factory managers
  • Buyers
  • Production schedulers
  • Supply chain personnel
  • Finance personnel

The above-mentioned staff don’t work in a customer facing environment. They seldom have to call a customer—unless of course they’re responding to a complaint regarding logistics.

A CRM system user won’t even know how to operate an ERP system—and vice versa. And yes, that’s how different the systems are. Usually IT staff are the only people who can probably access and use both systems for maintenance or upgrades.

Core Functions & Features

ERP

As alluded to earlier, one of the core functions of ERP software is financial management. The following categories fall under the finance category:

  • Transaction journaling
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Treasury
  • Tax
  • Quarterly statements
  • Reporting and decision support

CRM

The core function of CRM is sales. Therefore, the only financial management systems you’re likely to find on the software include:

  • Invoicing
  • Revenue recognition
  • Tracking sales figures and leads

Planning and Logistics

ERP

Anything you can think of that involves factory planning and productivity is incorporated under the ERP system. Here we’re looking at tasks which involve:

  • Procurement
  • Production schedules
  • Inventory management
  • Distribution and shipping
  • Supply chain management

CRM

Since the main emphasis of CRM users is on the number of customers interested in the organization’s products or services, features on the system will include:

  • Which product or service has been ordered?
  • Who ordered the product?
  • How many products are likely to be ordered in future?

Additional Services Offered by CRM

As the name suggests CRM personnel are interested in looking for new customers and building ongoing relationships. They’re always trying to devise new strategies on retaining these customers. This is why CRM software has the following features:

  • Lead qualification
  • Quote generation and order configuration
  • Contract establishment and termination
  • Ongoing account management
  • Renewals and repeat orders

Which One Do You Need?

You have the basic information regarding what the two systems entail, so which one do you need? Quite frankly, you need both. You only need to figure out exactly how much of each software program you need to buy. And this will depend on the following factors.

Size of Organization

Are you a small or large company? If you’re a large organization, the decision has already been made for you. You need a full-fledged ERP system that can manage all aspects of the production and finance functions. You’ll also need a fully-fledged CRM system to handle all your sales and marketing functions.

Smaller companies can afford to pick and choose the features they want from both the ERP and CRM systems. Chances are small businesses rarely have all departments from production to sales up and running.

Case in point; there’s no need for a small accounting firm to go all out by investing in a fully -fledged ERP and CRM system. Such a firm can easily thrive on just an accounting package and contact management system. Additional features from both systems can always be added on with time as the business grows.

What Does Your Company Need?

Your business needs will also determine which features of CRM or ERP software are needed. Of course, there are certain functionalities that all businesses need regardless of size such as an accounting package.

Even if you’re a small business and don’t have an accounting function, you’re still going to outsource the service. Otherwise how else will you reconcile your accounts?

On the other hand, there are some functions that you can do without as a business depending on your area of speciality. If you don’t deal with inventory management, then a data warehousing feature on your ERP isn’t necessary.

Industry Regulations

As a business owner, you know that you don’t operate in a vacuum. There are laws and regulations you must adhere to if you expect to remain in business.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires you to respect customer privacy and keep your financial information in as few systems as possible.

The system you pick must have features that adhere to the above-mentioned regulations. Either that or you risk being on the wrong side of the law.

Final Words

Sure, both the CRM and ERP systems handle contacts, companies and orders as mentioned earlier, but the contexts are different. It’s clear that you need both systems—what you’ll need to determine are the exact features to incorporate.

Needless to say, your budget will also influence the system you pick.

Have we cleared the confusion for you regarding these two systems? If you have more questions, please leave a comment below.

Dear Customers,
We are closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 virus with the safety of our colleagues, customers, and their families as our top priority.We would like to inform you that we have implemented a set of safety precautions - from teams’ rotation and work-from-home capability. Our staff are enabled with the necessary tools to work from home and we remain contactable. Do contact the consultants via their mobile phone.

We are confident in delivering quality support even during this period. We will do all we can to minimise service disruption. We are depending on you, our valued customers during these challenging times. Keeping our mutual business moving forward is vital for everyone. Please contact us should you require any assistance.
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Sage 300 support issues:
support@twm.com.sg
Mobile: 9785 7804 , 8182 7789 and 9637 5181
SAP support issues:
sapsupport@twm.com.sg
Mobile: 9171 6864 , 8518 5832 and 9112 4172
Sales enquiries:
sales@twm.com.sg
Mobile: 9671 0849 , 9644 3460 and 8218 8546

Thank you for your support. Stay safe !
Regards,
TWM

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