How to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation
This blog takes a look into some of the key areas of how to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation. Choosing an ERP Software Solution for End-to-End Digital Transformation is now business critical in the digital era. ERP solutions have evolved to meet the all-new end-to-end business operations needs from finance and operations to sales and marketing and across the supply chain.
In today’s digital transformation business landscape, organisations need an effective ERP solution to enable them to improve efficiencies by automating and streamlining systems and processes as well as providing real-time access to the data and information which really matters to the business to enable for reliable and faster data-driven decision making.
The following gives an overview of some of the key areas which are critical in any ERP Software solution selection process to enable end to end digital transformation of your business for now and into the future and also highlighting some of the key industry ERP trends in the digital transformation era.
How to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation – What is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution?
ERP is a business management software solution that allows an organisation to use a system of integrated applications to manage and integrate the company’s end-to-end operations across financials, operations, reporting & analysis, manufacturing, supply chain and HR activities. There are several leading ERP Software Solutions in the market and including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
Some of the key areas to consider for an effective digital transformation driven ERP solution for your business are outlined below.
How to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation – some key considerations:
- Integration Capabilities
- Customisation and Flexibility
- Security and Compliance
- Support and Updates
ERP Vendor Considerations?
- Industry Reputation
- Implementation Services
- Training and Support
- Resources, Technology, Product Expertise and Knowledge base
Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation?
- Set Clear Goals and Objectives
- Assemble a Cross-Functional Team
- Plan for Change Management in the fast moving and evolving ERP and digital space
Identify the limitations of your current system:
Costly legacy system deployment & Maintenance – While many companies understand about their core ERP costs, for many others they do not fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of their ERP deployment options from the cloud to on-premise to a hosted option and where in today’s digital world, the cloud deployment might well save you on many fronts.
Growth Restriction – Has your current ERP system kept pace with the new way of doing business in the digital transformation era. Has your business grown due to added personnel, customers, new business systems and processes and / or introduced additional lines of products and services to new markets?
An effective ERP solution should enable your company to expand quickly and easily to meet all evolving end-to-end digital transformation business needs.
Limited Business Insights – While many ERP software systems do offer real-time visibility across the business, however some organisations will still chose other / legacy solutions independent of the ERP system in place to deliver their business insights and can create scenarios where departments and roles will operate in siloed environments. An effective ERP solution which brings together all the systems and processes into one centralised version and source will enable for real-time end to end business insights to enhance productivity, growth and gives you a competitive edge.
What should a good ERP System Offer?
The most effective ERP solutions for end-to-end digital transformation are integrated suites that offer customers seamless data and process integration. A complete ERP solution unites management processes across the business giving decision makers real-time visibility and key business insights including:
Financial Processes & Management – An effective ERP system should enable you to meet all regulatory compliance. It also needs to deliver powerful data and analytics for real-time insights into budgets, cash flow and overall key performance indicators.
Manufacturing Chain – Manufacturers require access to real-time data to optimise production planning cycles and effective project and cost management, resource management and efficient customer order fulfilment.
Supply chain – Enhanced warehousing automation, stock management and integrated logistics automation is key in todays evolving market conditions and to meet customer demand and fluctuations.
Discover what an end-to-end digital transformation ERP system offers?
Modern ERP systems offer built-in intelligence, has less costly customisation along with ease and flexibility to extend everyday processes as business needs change and grow. Some of the key ERP tools enable you to:
- Enhance productivity
- Provide powerful financial management.
- Deliver Customer Service Excellence
- Enable effective HR management
- Streamline project management requirements
- Improve the supply chain and operations management
- Deliver informed, data-driven decision-making enabled by advanced Analytics and AI.
Do you have an ERP Plan?
The better you plan when choosing an ERP System, the better the outcomes for a smooth and fast implementation. Some of the key steps to consider when designing your ERP Project Plan include:
- Make a detailed list – note all the current features and functions of your existing systems and identify and add in all the additional wants and needs features lists.
- Know your Budgets – Once you have identified your ideal features and functions lists you now need to set a realistic budget and what you can actually afford. Knowing your budget helps you to focus on the key features and functions of the ERP system. Factor in the costs for support and maintenance and contingency for any other hidden fees you might not be aware of.
- Ask the Questions – Don’t be afraid to question everything, as the final solution must meet your business needs now and into the future.
How to Choose the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) partner?
It is a given that selecting the right ERP System is critical, but so too is selecting the right ERP implementation partner just as important. Some key pointers to consider when choosing an ERP technology partner:
- What is their track record, have they previously implemented in similar industries such as yours.
- What are their customers saying about them, talk to their customers and get their views on their experiences.
- What is their level of support commitment pre and post the ERP project implementation.
- Do they provide the right type of training and support to drive for fast and effective user adoption.
- Do they have the right knowledge base – across industries, technical platforms and product knowledge and skills.
Some of the trends and factors to consider when choosing an ERP Solution for End-to-End Digital Transformation
- Digital Transformation
In the evolving era of digital transformation, integrating digital technology across the end-to-end business operations is now critical to drive business success.
- Choosing an ERP Solution for End-to-End Digital Transformation
Since an ERP suite typically impacts most areas of an organisation’s business processes, it’s a logical place to start to facilitate this transformation. According to a recent Accenture Digital Transformation Update, Digital transformation is the process by which companies embed technologies across their businesses to drive fundamental change.
Some of the benefits of this style ERP driven digital transformation include:
- Increased efficiency
- Boost revenue and competitiveness
- Greater business agility
- Enhanced customer service
- and, ultimately, the unlocking of new value for customers and employees
Many different roads will lead to digital transformation and each organisation’s digital journey will be unique for them such as, an organisation might introduce AI or cloud computing to enhance its customer experience. Or indeed it might choose to redesign its supply chain processes to leverage the use of machine learning. An organisation can also access reliable and accurate predictions about the products their customers will want in the future and then to update production processes to be prepared for this future demand and changing patterns and trends.
- It’s all about the Cloud ERP
Traditionally, when choosing an ERP system companies used the on-premise ERP systems and were slow to move to the cloud due to the unknowns. Today, this trend is fast changing with more and more business seeing the real value of an ERP cloud deployment, reduced costs, easy access to upgrades and version releases and more. There is also no longer the dependence on IT resources as well as having the ability to easily add more users as and when needed.
Organisations are now looking to reduce costs due to the recent pandemic impact, ongoing global economic uncertainty and evolving market conditions and looking to better support the remote working practices. These factors have all resulted in a big increase in investment in ERP Cloud deployments.
- On the Go with Mobile ERP
ERP solutions are rapidly evolving to provide real-time-on-the-go access to the business data which really matters and enable data driven decision making for users. This Mobile access enables personnel to carry out all tasks even when not in front of their desktop and regardless of location and it also supports for better team wide collaboration while on the go.
Everyday tasks such as call logging, time tracking and expense report management can now all be done via mobile phones. Employees can quickly and easily view workflows and make approvals direct from their mobile device.
Mobile ERP solutions provides a whole host of other benefits such as improved productivity and efficiencies, reliable and real-time data capture, increased agility and an always on / easy access remote mode.
- Two-Tier ERP
Traditionally, organisations took an approach to deploy a single ERP solution across all business groups – from the Corporate Head-office to the subsidiaries and locations and which quite often can prove to be a challenging and costly roll-out as it might not be a one size ERP fits all to meet the various business structure requirements.
The two-tier ERP approach is now one of the latest trends in ERP deployment, essentially a strategy used by the larger organisations and corporations that will use the tier-1 ERP for the financial management and some other core business processes at corporate level, while tier-2 ERP is used by the subsidiaries and other smaller locations of the company to address more unique and specific business needs.
The successful outcomes of this style approach may be influenced by the ability of organisations to easily share data between the ERP tiers and where some of the cloud ERP tier-2 solutions do provide for easy and flexible integration with the corporate tier-1 ERP systems.
Some of the key benefits:
- More cost effective than modifying a corporate ERP system approach to meet all the business system requirements.
- Tier-2 ERP solutions may be easier to roll-out and give the corporate subsidiaries more flexibility to address evolving business needs and is probably a better route for those organisations who are expanding in size and performance.
According to a recent Gartner Report – 2-Tier ERP is modernising the Hidden Jewels of the Enterprise… “large organisations should look to assess whether a two-tier ERP strategy would offer more business benefit than a single-tier approach, especially by modernising small, potentially fast-growing business units.”
- ERP integration with wider business technology
Organisations are now integrating their ERP solutions with other new and evolving technologies. Examples of this include integration of ERP systems with online / ecommerce solutions to enhance the online order workflows, order fulfilment, inventory management and payment tracking and social media platforms.
- Social ERP
Another impactful evolving trend is the growing integration between ERP systems and Social Media platforms. This provides organisations with greater visibility of their customer and prospect’s social media activity which enables an organisation to identify and understand their ideal target audience and customise their digital marketing campaigns.
The integration of ERP and social media help organisations access real-time data-driven insights into their customer and prospects online activities, resulting in stronger sales pipelines and improved sales performance. It helps the sales team to develop new forms of online interactions and enable social selling.
- ERP, AI and Advanced Analytics
The evolving AI, IoT and Advanced Analytics space is continuing to be a game-changer as these evolving capabilities are now at the heart of ERP Solutions. AI and IoT (Internet of Things) are enabling organisations to address the growing demand for the personalised customer user experience. AI functionality and capabilities are now inbuilt into ERP Solutions and offer some powerful benefits including:
Real-time Data-driven Insights – As organisations gather more and more end-to-end business data , they now use AI technology to access and deliver the data driven insights which really matter to the business.
AI solutions can analyse huge amounts of structured and unstructured data and information – and very quickly identify value-add trends, patterns, and predictions.
AI driven automated business processes – AI technology is now central to how businesses are automating their end-to-end processes. As an example, recent Industry Reports show that ever increasing numbers of manufacturers are planning to implement AI for inventory and logistics management and where many are also planning to introduce AI for their production scheduling management as well as the wider customer relationship management processes.
Another ongoing industry focus and evolving trend is the use of predictive analytics to discover trends, patterns and future predictions and outcomes. An example of this is by deploying solutions with machine learning capabilities to deep scan the data and information of say a maintenance / repair services organisation, to help identify and predict likely breakdowns etc., This enables the organisation to plan accordingly and optimise repair maintenance work schedules as well as spare part replacements long before actual repair maintenance issues actually occur.
- Personalising the ERP Experience
Organisations are increasingly taking advantage of cloud ERP platforms which are designed for fast and easy configuration enabled by the use of evolving low code / no code technology. There is also a developing trend of optimising the flexibility of ERP customisation to offer a more personalised experience to meet specific industry, business, and user needs.
As organisations move to deliver a more personalised, focused, and unique customer experience, organisations are selecting ERP solutions which can deliver on this.
ERP solutions will continue to develop feature-rich and powerful real-time dashboards and visualisation stories across the end-to-end business operational performance. With the growing trend of AI interfaces and chatbots is also enabling the interpretation of voice and text recognition to rapidly respond to customer queries using the customer data and information generated across the ERP Supply Chain.
Conclusion & Some Key Takeaways:
Below is a brief summary of some of the key takeaways in understanding how to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation and key industry tends.
- Cloud ERP – Businesses will continue moving to a Cloud ERP environment. According to a recent Statista Report, the global cloud ERP market is expected to grow 13.6% annually and reach $40.5 billion spend by 2025.
- Two-tier ERP – The two-tier ERP strategy approach will continue to evolve and in particular to meet the needs of the larger corporations and expanding organisations.
- AI and Advanced Analytics – will continue to enable organisations to automate and optimise their business systems and processes. It will also provide for powerful real-time data-driven Insights as well creating focused personalised customer experience, interactions and responses.
- Social ERP and Other integrated technologies – ERP is further integrating with other technologies, such as internet of things (IoT) devices and social media to automate even more and provide greater visibility and a greatly enhanced customer experience.
- ERP for the modern-day workforce – ERP solutions that support the new way of remote working is now critical for many organisations who increasingly rely on sourcing the right talented remote workforce in the era of the new way of working in the digital age.
If you require any assistance in helping you to better understand how to choose the right ERP solution for end-to-end digital transformation – Contact Us Now, we’re here to help
Like any good implementation – should always start with a Business Process Review and the right ERP Implementation Partner. Essentially, you want to have a defined Roadmap to Success for your Dynamics 365 Implementation. BPR’s are mainly requested for key aeras such as:
- Project Costs & Budgets
- Implementation Scoping process
- Workflow instruction for a holistic end-to-end view of the project
- Continuous process improvement plans
At Simply Dynamics, the key aim of our business process review services is to take a closer look at every area of the business, every detail of daily tasks and any associated risk factors. By doing this, the real expectations of what the ERP system can do will be set. This will help in the long run to engage end-users in realistically using the solution and support the user-adoption process and ensure you enjoy the many benefits of the ROI in your ERP Technology Investments.
To learn more about how your organisation can drive your Business Success with the right ERP Selection Process – Contact Us Now or why not request a Free 30 Minute Consultation with our Dynamics 365 ERP & CRM Specialists Now – we’re here to help