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What makes this better than other outdated systems?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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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18) Can applicants submit concurrent applications?

Yes, it is allowed.

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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)

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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.

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Cloud ERP vs On-Premise ERP: A Comprehensive Comparison

If there was an easy answer, we would state it right here. But as with many business solutions, deciding between a cloud ERP and an on-premise version, is a very personal choice. It’s almost a cliché, but it’s true: Find what works for you.

But it’s challenging, right? Technology changes so rapidly that it’s difficult to know what is the best long term decision for your business.

We’re going to help you: Your best bet is to make decisions with as much information as possible on hand. And we summarized the most important below.

Definitions

Let’s start with the basics so there are no misunderstandings.

Cloud ERP

“In the cloud” is becoming a popular term in many environments, also in ERP. If you pick this method your data will be hosted by the ERP service provider. It doesn’t even use the vendor’s own hardware always, but rather your data is held on the internet ‘cloud’.

One of the unique features is how you access this information. You’ll be using your internet web browser. This type is often called SaaS (Software as a Service). You and your employees don’t need to download software to your computers necessarily. Everything happens on the cloud.

Recommended read – “5 Good Reasons to Deploy a Cloud ERP“.

On Premise ERP

This system will be installed on your premises as the name suggests. It will be using your own hardware and servers. What you may not have thought of is that it will also be your IT team managing the data, even though you have a service provider offering you the program.

Now, how do you pick between the two?

Vital Knowledge Before You Initiate ERP

Because there is no right or wrong method to use, don’t let the decision dictate to you. The best starting point is to assess how you currently function and finding an ERP that aligns with it in as many ways possible.

However, if a certain method will be more beneficial (we’ll discuss that below), yes, it’s worth investing in the necessary assets to make it work.

Now, write down your priorities and then see how the differences below will help you achieve your personal goals & suit your preferences.

The Important Differences

We’ll describe each scenario and offer our opinion on the best option. However, don’t simply take our word for it. Remember, it’s about your personal preferences, needs and capabilities too. See how it applies to your unique situation before deciding which one comes out on top from your perspective.

Costs Involved

Your equipment determines how effective your ERP will function and when you have an on-premise ERP the responsibility lies with you:

  • Obtaining hardware and servers
  • Employing capable IT personnel to maintain, upgrade and deployment
  • Managing customizations

This is a huge capital investment at the start of the venture, though you may pay less each month to a service provider. You also have to pay employee salaries.

In contrast, a cloud ERP doesn’t require you to invest in assets and most of the maintenance work is done by the SaaS team on your behalf. You don’t pay salaries so your only expense will be monthly fees.

An added bonus with a cloud system is that your IT personnel can focus on other improvements in your company, rather than maintaining the ERP. This is often a full time requirement, leaving no time for other projects.

Winner: It seems there’s a clear winner as cloud based ERPs will cost you less in the long run, even though you’ll commit to monthly payments. If you already have hardware and servers on hand, you may consider using them though. Some may simply have to opt for the cloud option because of a lack of cash flow.

Changes Over Time

You need to pick an option that makes long term sense. You don’t want a solution only for today, but one that will ensure optimal functioning months and years from now. That means your software must move with the times:

  • Technology changes and you can’t afford falling behind
  • Your business will change and your ERP must keep up

How do the two options support these scenarios?

Upgrades are necessary but they can create problems in on premise ERPs. Usually if you upgrade your software, you’ll lose previous changes, such as customizations your IT team implemented. This means every upgrade requires a tedious implementation and customization process. This often leads to businesses not doing upgrades at all.

On a cloud based ERP upgrades are effortless. The vendor implements the upgrade and everyone using the SaaS instantly has access to the new features. Customizations can usually be incorporated seamlessly.

Of course your staff must be prepared to often see the new changes, with or without prior warning.

There may be challenges to integrate a cloud based system with your unique setup, but the characteristic of quality cloud ERPs is that they are flexible.

Winner: Cloud ERP. If you don’t like sudden changes you may want to implement changes yourself however; as and when you’re ready.

Is There a Better, Faster Performer?

Of course, you want to know how this will affect your day to day functioning, right. Here are a few facts:

  • It’s faster and easier to implement a cloud ERP as you don’t spend time acquiring an infrastructure
  • A cloud ERP is more accessible to employees
  • If you don’t have quality internet connections an on-premise system works better
  • Having multiple users won’t affect the efficacy of a cloud based system

Winner: Your location and internet access determine the winner

Can One Save You More Time Than the Other?

Studies show even after using the cloud method for years, some users still pay up to 50% less compared to creating your own server system and employing the staff it will require to maintain.

Winner: Cloud ERP

What is More Secure?

The industry took its time before businesses decided it’s safe to store sensitive personal or client information on the cloud. It is easier to keep data secure on the cloud, contrary to what many believe.

Today it’s common knowledge that it’s easier and more cost effective to store data safely on the cloud. Vendors often offer backup services, disaster recovery services and industry standard security features. Doing this by yourself requires a lot of effort and money.

Winner: Cloud ERP

Conclusion

These are only a few aspects that play a role in deciding the best option: Cloud vs On-premise. Did you write down your score according to your unique setup? Which method came out on top?

If you need help in choosing the right type of ERP for your business, do contact us.

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ERP Integration: Strategy, Challenges, Benefits, and Key Types

Leading companies are adding new talent to support a digital operating model. To develop sharp insights using digital tools, procurement teams will need data science and analytics expertise.

Improving the B2B experience for your customers using SAP Business One

Leading companies are adding new talent to support a digital operating model. To develop sharp insights using digital tools, procurement teams will need data science and analytics expertise.

6 Things Every CFO Should Know About ERP

So, you’ve heard the buzz words in the industry: Everyone’s using it, so you should too: ERPs.

In business, a popular trend usually has some value for the industry, instead of just being a gimmick. So, it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on what others do. That’s definitely the case with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). But that doesn’t mean you should be too quick in joining the crowd.

Warning: Making the wrong decisions during planning, vetting service providers or implementing could lead to more problems, rather than this great technology helping you enhance your business.

So, we’ll break it down for you: The most important facts any CFO should know about ERPs. Read this before embarking on this exciting, (usually advantageous) journey.

How Does This Relate to CFOs?

No, you can’t leave these important decisions in the hands of the IT department, the office manager or a committee. An ERP will affect business processes and therefore influence the company’s growth. That makes it relevant to a CFO’s responsibility in the company and you must work together with other role players to ensure a desirable outcome.

Here’s what you need to know.

The 6 Important Facts

1) You Must Understand the Process

Don’t leave it to others who are more technically minded. You can easily miss important aspects—which will affect costs—if you don’t educate yourself. For this reason, consider the most important software concepts relating to ERP implementation:

  • Installation: What it takes to load software on hardware such as a server.
  • Configuration: Making sure the software works according to your workflows and security requirements.
  • Customization: Modifying software to suit your unique needs, often involving changing code.
  • Conversion of data: Importing data into the system. If not in a compatible format, it must be done manually.
  • Integration: How it communicates with other software platforms. (see more below)

2) You Must be Hosted on a True Cloud

Don’t be confused by unknown terms or technical jargon. The simple question to ask your service provider is whether the ERP is hosted on the cloud. This is the preferred method at the moment. It’s easier and more secure.

However it won’t help to simply be hosted on the cloud. Confirm that the solution has been rewritten for the cloud. This ensures it will keep up with future changes. As CFO you must ensure you invest in quality long term solutions.

3) Your Service Provider’s Vision & Longevity Determine Your Own Future

The next aspect that will affect whether this is a long term answer is the service provider’s own situation. You have the right to ask questions and research certain aspects of the vendors that offer you their services:

  • Does the vendor’s financial situation make it a viable option for the long term? This isn’t simply about making sure you get good service. If the vendor hosts your data on their servers or on the cloud you need to make sure you’ll have access to that information for years to come. That won’t happen if a company suddenly goes bankrupt.
  • The vendor you pick must be relevant to today’s market, but also stay relevant in future. We all know how fast the tech environment changes. It’s your prerogative to ask questions about how they plan to stay on par. Request information on their research and development plans to ensure they’ll keep on giving you a high end product for years to come.

4) Integration is Key

Your ERP isn’t the only system that will determine your company’s performance. You need all factors to work together well (integrate) if you want optimum results and frustration free days. This means you have to ask about integration with any aspects regarding:

  • EPM: Enterprise performance management
  • SCM: Supply chain management
  • HCM: Human capital management
  • CX: Customer experience

It’s vital that different platforms work together well, so you don’t have problems such as inconsistency of data between two systems.

Consider this before you pick a vendor and use the one giving the best support. You don’t want to face cumbersome processes where you and your team have to handle integration after the ERP is implemented. You also don’t want to deal with difficult processes of continuously keeping all the different platforms updated. They should function as one unit.

A specific risk—especially relevant to a CFO—is integrating ERP with EPM. You want your systems integrated, instead of doing a lot of work manually.

Luckily this is usually unnecessary in today’s market—you just have to pick the right vendor.

5) It Requires Teamwork

Your goal is to see the ERP deliver excellent results, helping various aspects of your business more effectively:

  • Supply chain
  • Manufacturing
  • HR
  • Payroll

That’s a lot of people that have to work together and you need to make sure all of them get on board and stay on board. A negative attitude towards the new system will prevent employees from using it effectively. This immediately affects productivity and your bottom line.

To ensure everyone’s buy in it’s important to:

  • Identify needs in all departments and making sure the ERP will meet these requirements. This way everyone will experience an enhanced workflow and see the value of learning the new system.
  • You won’t get departments’ buy in if their top leadership don’t believe the change is necessary. That’s why you need key role players and even your CIO (Chief Information Officer) to become part of planning & implementation.

6) Scalability = Success

The key to picking the right ERP is realizing that one size doesn’t fit all. You need an ERP that matches your unique requirements, not necessarily the one your greatest competitor implemented. And here’s why: Scalability.

If your ERP doesn’t cater for your size business, it won’t be effective. As CFO you’ll need financial planning tools that suit your business size, whether small, medium or large.

Apart from catering for your unique business needs, it must also be scalable to serve different employees well. As much as you need features to do financial planning, other role players in the business also takes part in these processes. The ERP must cater for their responsibilities too.

Conclusion

Yes, adding ERP to your business will take a considerable amount of time and effort. But, as a CFO, it’s essential you prioritize this process if you want to see positive long term results. Don’t worry. It will be worth it.

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5 Key Reasons Why ERP Implementation Fails

Even though the ERP system has been proven to be an efficient method of managing one’s business, any system is only as good as the people who operate it. A shocking 75% of all ERP implementation is a failure due to lack of knowledge or training and budgetary constraints.

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” These words ring true in the business environment in many aspects and this is no different.

No matter which industry you specialise in, “proper preparation prevents poor performance”. This saying is well known as the “5 P’s of success” originally created by the British army.  How does this link to the failure of implantation of an ERP project into a business? Research, information, training and a high standard of management are essential to the success of this system in a business.

There are obviously a dozen or more reasons why ERP implementation might fail, but below are a few valid points to take into consideration.

Poor Planning in the Initial Implementation Phase

Too many businesses rush into the process of incorporating this complex system into their existing business model. The truth is that Enterprise Resource Planning is a large and complex system. It takes time, dedicated training and adequate management to flourish as a proficient tool within your business. Time devotion to this phase is paramount.

How could something prosper in a business when nobody really knows how to operate it confidently? The relevant trained employee/s should know without any doubt that the results of the data collected is 100% accurate with utmost certainty.

Should this phase be tended too with enough diligence, ERP could prove to be an invaluable aid tool to your business.

Lack of Adaptability

In all areas of life, change is never easy, but necessary for growth. A lack of adaptability often prevents growth and tends to have an adverse effect on productivity. The same applies when it comes to introducing new systems into a business. The more adaptable your business model and staff are, the greater your chances of encouraging growth.

In an ever-changing and extremely competitive business world, flexibility is likely to be one of the key factors to being a step above the rest.

Ask yourself how trainable and adaptable your staff are. How dependant is your daily operation on your current business management system, should you have one? Can the business afford the time needed to dedicate to training? These are a few questions that need to be answered with a positive outcome prior to committing to an ERP project.

Poor Data Quality

Should the ERP system be integrated into an existing operation, the quality of the existing data would be paramount. ERP needs to be well equipped with data to enable it to process information like sales trends, customer data, staff efficiency and the general day to day operations of the existing business model.

Due to the nature of ERP, this data would need to be of a high quality to fit into ERP to ensure accuracy. The data collected by this system is of no worth if the input is not accurate. ERP thrives on the quality of the data used to make it efficient.

A consideration in this area would be to plan the transfer of the data from the current system being used, to the ERP system. Loss of data would cause a negative knock-on effect, resulting in the transfer from the current system to ERP obsolete until sufficient data could be accumulated. You might as well not waste any time on capturing data in any specific department if the data is not good quality, accurate and complete.

There is no use in starting to build a puzzle if you know that pieces are missing, and the full picture will never be experienced.

Lack of IT Support

In-house IT support is a huge advantage to the ERP system. Though this is not mandatory, implementation into a business without an in-house IT department has proven to be costly and time consuming. Even in a case where an IT department exists within the organization, enough and specialized ERP training would be necessary to ensure proficient expodition of any repairs or updates that may be necessary from time to time.

Another option would be to hire prequalified staff who have already undergone training and have experience in ERP operation. Using external IT vendors would strain the organization in costs and efficiency in terms of call out times. This would still make more sense than an untrained employee stumbling around a problem for hours on end with insufficient knowledge and experience to deal with the challenge at hand.

Lack of Data Sharing Ability

One of, if not THE most integral aspect to the successful implementation of ERP into an organization is the ability and capability to share data in the supply chain. Without this the system can be rendered as useless. Keeping up to date with the latest updates and putting them into practice would determine whether this system will make or break your company. Difficulties in the sharing of data could cost time and funds and end up being more of a liability than an asset to an organization.

Customization add-ons and the migration from an older system to ERP may pose as a challenge in this aspect and would need careful attention in the beginning phases of implementation.

Conclusion

75% is an alarming number of failures of the implementation of ERP. All factors above considered, it is paramount that all of them be investigated and thought through thoroughly prior to the implementation of ERP into a business.

Has the right software been chosen? Has there been enough training offered to the right employees to optimize productivity? Does your current data match up to the standard? Do you have informed and capable support available? Is your system correctly customized to the specific business? Does the business have the capacity to carry the cost of such a system? These are all important things to consider before implementing ERP in a business.

The efficiency of this system has been proven for decades, but if not managed correctly, could have a negative effect on an otherwise stable business. On a positive note, if the answer to the above questions are yes, Enterprise Resource Planning software could revolutionize your business.

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What is Sage 300C?

Sage 300c offers you all the 2016 release enhancements plus anytime/anywhere mobile access, a modern new user interface, and easy mobile access to real-time key performance indicators.

These new screens aren’t just great looking; they also help you improve productivity. You can access Sage 300c as you do today or leverage the new web screens using a browser from a desktop, laptop, or tablet. You have the freedom of choice on how you want to access Sage 300—anytime, anywhere.

Enjoy mobile access with new modern web screens

Sage 300c features new web screens that can be run side-by-side with the Sage 300 traditional Windows screens. These web screens are intuitive, easy to navigate, and provide the same functionality you have today in Sage 300.

Keep tabs on critical information with the new homepage

Get a pulse on your business with the new web homepage in Sage 300c. You can select an anytime, anywhere dashboard specific to your business with key performance indicators (KPI) to access in the office or away through any mobile device.

Do contact us for more information regarding SAGE 300C.

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