Running 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.
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.
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 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
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
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.