Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software is one of the most valuable software systems in an organization. Today, ERP solutions have become a necessity for every industry. They streamline business processes and help companies achieve more efficiency and productivity. SAP Business One is excellent ERP software for small businesses in India that can help them boost their growth more efficiently.
If you’re a business owner or want to know more about ERP solutions in general, here is a brief about what they are, different methods of deploying an ERP solution, and their benefits.
An organization comprises several different departments and processes working together towards the growth of the business. Every department can have its own system or solution to organize, manage, and optimize specific tasks. An ERP application binds these different systems together into a common platform so that business leaders can access every component and get real-time information about different processes through a single interface.
ERP software, at its core, provides automation of business processes, actionable insights, and internal controls. It can not only collect information from different departments but also allow them to communicate with each other and share information about different activities. This cross-departmental visibility empowers business leaders to discover process improvements, adjust to customer demands, analyze different scenarios, and generate major efficiency gains for the company.
These solutions can be tailored according to the needs and requirements of an individual or a business—no matter their company size or industry. It helps in unifying the core business processes, people involved, and the technology used across departments. While choosing the right ERP solution and a partner vendor are important, businesses need to consider the mode of deployment of the ERP solution as well. You can refer to the following:Why Your Business Needs ERP and How SAP Business One can Help
There are several ways to implement or deploy an ERP solution. Your delivery model and preferences will decide the kind of deployment best suited for your business. Here are the different ERP deployment methods:
Many companies still use this traditional method of deploying ERP software. In an on-premise deployment method, the company buys the software from the ERP provider or the vendor and install it on their own servers. This deployment method can appear to be expensive as you’d have to buy your own hardware and infrastructure, however the investment you make once will keep proving your returns for next 5-8 years at the least.
The second option is of hosting the solution in the cloud. You’ll own the software but use their servers to run it, hence taking care of any security and maintenance. You get access to the servers for a monthly fee.
Apart from providing the server space, many vendors go a step beyond and offer the complete ERP solution to a company over Cloud. The software is publicly owned and hosted by the ERP solution provider and it offers its services through a license or subscription model. This model is often known as Software-as-a-Service as the vendor is providing the same ERP software as a service to different clients for a monthly subscription fee.
Private cloud is a bit more complex and secure version of public cloud. Here the company doesn’t own the ERP software and still employs the services of a third-party vendor but the data and backups are managed on their private servers. These servers are mostly on-premise with the service providers managing them remotely. This method gives the flexibility of customization to the company while keeping the data secure.
Advanced ERP systems store, process, and analyze data from a centralized location. Data about business processes, sales, customers, finances, and more are available in a single place and can be accessed by anyone.
This reduces the need of maintaining manual records for everything and also eliminates duplication of data. With such visibility, business leaders can make effective decisions for optimizing the performance and productivity on all levels of the enterprise. Inventory management and supply chain are some of the activities that get the most benefits from an ERP implementation.
ERP solutions are not only capable of storing and processing data, but can also create enhanced reports about different business activities, sales strategies, employee onboarding and more. Small business ERP software like SAP Business One provides interactive and visual reports about different departments making it easier for the department heads to make a decision.
With the reduction in paper-based products and manual processes, ERP software helps in reducing errors during data entry or other business processes. It creates a link between every enterprise activity requiring management such as HR, sales, customer support etc. Data from one department can be easily accessed by another department in the most effective and fastest way possible. This data synchronization ensures no manually induced errors.
In any business, several departments are working simultaneously towards achieving the common objective. Lack of cooperation and coordination between the departments can lead to delays, bottlenecks, as well as errors in the final product delivery.
Robust ERP software unifies every department and brings their business-related data in a single platform. Not only does it enhances the cooperation between departments and branches, but also gets rid of any delays and improves the overall efficiency of the business. For a company having a distributed setup, this could contribute a lot.
The more data business analysts and the management staff have, the more efficient decisions they can make. Most often than not, business analysts and leaders have to work with incomplete, or even incorrect, data supplied by the people below in the chain. Not only does this make it difficult for them to make a decision, but it can also backfire as well since the data isn’t coherent. With ERP software collecting data automatically from different departments, the chances of this happening reduce to a great extent.
World class ERP solutions like SAP Business One offer flexibility and scalability. The addition of new products, hiring new employees, expanding to a newer branch, adding production facilities, vendors, supplies etc. can be easily handled by an ERP solution as and when the need arises. ERP systems can handle any change and adapt to the business conditions accordingly.
An ERP solution provider can help you with customer relationship management modules as well. With centralized storage collecting crucial information about customers, their buying behaviors and demographics, it becomes easier for the customer support staff as well as the sales managers to provide superior service to the customers.
They can leverage the data to reduce delays in-order delivery, resolve queries quickly, optimize marketing strategies based on their past behaviour or forecast customer demand and stock up inventory before a surge in demand.
When it comes to ease of access, spreadsheets and manual ledgers are quite inflexible. ERP solutions on the other hand can be easily accessed through a smartphone while you’re travelling.
While paying for a world class ERP like SAP Business One can feel like a substantial investment upfront, they provide a lot of benefits that counter that cost. By reducing manually induced errors and paperwork, optimizing business processes, and eliminating the need for performing repetitive tasks, ERP systems can save a lot of money for the business. They speed up business processes as well so that you can serve more customers, close more deals, and generate more revenue.
Now that you’re familiar with what an ERP solution is and what benefits it can bring to your organization, it’s time to understand the different phases or stages an ERP implementation process goes through. Navigating through these phases is really important for the successful implementation of the ERP system.
This is one of the most important phases of the implementation lifecycle and paves the way for future additions or benefits to be realized. In this phase, the company needs to set up a project team that identifies the business requirements and chooses ERP software and an implementation partner best suited for the same. You can refer to:
One of the main goals of the project team would be to understand the current issues in the business clearly, identify any inefficiency or bottlenecks during the process, and document existing workflows. They’ll also decide on whether the ERP solution would be hosted on cloud or on-premise and which deployment model suits the organization.
The project team will also be responsible for planning the implementation, setting up target dates, defining different roles, managing day-to-day activities, making design and product decisions, and ensuring that adequate resources have been allocated for the implementation.
The design phase consists of designing newer workflows and business processes that are more efficient than the existing ones. The workflows should be designed in such a way that it takes the most advantage of the ERP system and streamlines different business activities. However, the design phase isn’t limited to creating new workflows and requires the project team to analyze existing workflows as well.
It is important to understand the intricacies and quirks of every process to accurately analyze any gaps or shortcomings and overcome them. These newer workflows can demand a change or customization of the ERP software, changes in the process, and some time for the users to get accustomed to the new system. An ERP solution provider can help companies with designing their customized solution.
Next comes the development phase. With the business requirements and design plans already identified, it is time for the development of the solution. This can involve customizing the software to meet the project requirements, training employees on how to use the software, replacing legacy systems with the new ERP solution, integrating the ERP solution with an existing application, and much more.
Processes during this phase change depending on the deployment method as well. For instance, if you opt for an on-premise solution, you need to buy the software, procure the hardware, and hire people who are experts in working with the ERP solution. If you opt for an on-cloud solution, you need to compare different ERP solution providers, their prices, features, license terms, and more to decide which is perfect for your organization.
Another important task during this phase is data migration. Since there is going to be a complete overhaul of how you store and manage data, it is important to decide which data you want migrating to the system and which data is irrelevant.
While this is a different process, testing can be done simultaneously with development as well. For instance, once the sales module is developed, the sales team can test the features of the new module while the development of other modules is still ongoing. It can go vice-versa as well where the project team tests the existing sales module, look for any issues or bottlenecks and then start developing its module.
Initial testing is important for the successful development of the ERP solution but rigorous testing should always be done after the development to look for any mistakes, issues, complications or more. Employees testing the solution for their day-to-day activities will get a better idea of the full capabilities of the system.
Several ERP solution providers give training resources as well for pre and post-development of the solution to help their clients. Organizations should also use the materials they made during the development cycle to train their employees in using the solution and getting the most out of it.
This is the most important phase of the complete cycle as it deals with the actual implementation of the ERP system. Any bottlenecks, errors, or pushbacks during this phase can cause issues such as duplication of data or data not being captured for a certain department or more.
The deployment phase is what this whole process was about and this operation must go smoothly for a successful ERP implementation. You should keep the project team ready for answering any questions the implementation partner might have and the implementation partner should be ready to fix any issues that occur during the deployment. The deployment method depends on what the company needs. You can deploy the complete ERP system at once or do it in phases by deploying high-priority modules first.
The deployment phase is not the end of the process. You need to keep nurturing the software after implementation to make sure it works smoothly and can achieve the objectives for which it was implemented. While the focus might shift from deploying software to using it, there might still be some room for additional customization or development.
Your implementation partner should provide regular updates for the ERP software if it’s cloud-based and should be ready to support you in case of expansion, new hiring, or any other such issue. New staff will be added from time to time and they’d need to be trained on using the system as well.
There’s no denying the importance of an ERP system and the benefits it can bring to your organization. However, it is still recommended that you perform thorough research before diving in for ERP software.
The next thing you need to figure out is the ERP software and the ERP solution provider that will deploy the solution in your business. For small and mid-sized companies, SAP Business One is one of the best ERP software for small businesses in India. Praxis Info Solutions, an SAP-certified SAP Business One partner, can help you in deploying the ERP solution in your company. Industrial Revolution 4.0 is coming and companies who have still not streamlined and optimized their business processes are going to miss out on several opportunities due to inefficient processes and lack of data visibility. So, do not be left behind.
Commonly Asked ERP Questions
Looking for the best ERP software companies in Pune? Contact Praxis Info Solutions.