Businesses scale and change and so should your key operating systems. Yet software and solutions are often put on the back burner during times of growth. Have you taken a step back lately to evaluate if your systems are working efficiently and effectively for you? Here are the top signs you may have outgrown your current business systems.
Have You Outgrown Your Business Systems?
- Is it taking longer and longer to drive reports out of your existing business applications?
- Do you have different applications to run different processes?
- Is your business struggling to keep up with order volumes?
- Are the decisions you are making around inventory management based on outdated and inaccurate information?
- Is customer satisfaction faltering because you do not have the information at hand to cater to your customer’s needs?
- Is your sales forecasting, demand and supply planning and product enhancement based on guesswork?
- Would growth of your business today require the need to increase your administrative headcount?
- Does the management of upgrades and integration of business systems suck dry both cash and time?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then you would most likely benefit from reviewing your business systems. Below you will find an elaborated response to some of the above issues that many businesses are facing today.
You Have Lots of Different Software Applications for Different Processes
Think about how your employees record, track and process information. Do accounting staff use one system for receivables and payables, and sales use another to enter in customer orders? Is the process of taking those orders and getting them fulfilled and into accounting system a time intensive, error prone and manual endeavour? Do employees in your warehouse use a completely different solution to track shipping and receiving?
When various front- and back-end systems run separately, it can wreak havoc on the processes that are meant to ensure your company is running smoothly. Without accurate data from sales, inventory management may suffer, while not having the latest information from accounting can trigger a ripple effect on everything from marketing budgets to payroll.
Rationalised ERP software integrates these systems so that every business function relies on a single database, single customer record and single reporting repository providing one source of information that contains accurate, real-time data. A good ERP will help staff make better decisions more quickly and frees up their time to work on more high-value exercises like helping the business grow even faster.
You Don’t Have Easy Access to Critical Business Information
If someone asked you what your average sales value or margin is, how long would it take you to find out? What about other key performance metrics, like orders per day or sales to date? For companies that rely on siloed systems and spreadsheets that need to be constantly updated and reconciled manually, it could be a long wait as consolidating this information can suck up hours or even days of effort.
Pace of business is faster than ever before, which means employees across your company need immediate access to key data. With a business management suite that allows varying levels of access to the same information, executives can get a holistic view of business operations at any time, while other staff can get the information they need to do their jobs more effectively. For example, sales representatives should be able to view a customer’s full transaction history and more proactively engage the customer to increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Accounting Takes Longer and Is More Difficult
Often, the first noticeable signs that your company needs better software will come from your accounting department. If your employees rely on paper-based invoices and sales orders, spend hours every week manually entering them into different accounting and sales systems than you need to consider how much time is being wasted on tasks that a good software application can handle in an instant.
The same goes for financial reporting; if it takes ages to consolidate or reconcile financial information across systems and through countless spreadsheets, an ERP solution can make a significant impact. With all financials in a single database, accounting staff won’t have to spend hour’s cross-posting information, rekeying numbers, or reconciling data manually. Your accounting staff will be more productive, freeing them to deliver critical reports without delays and frustration.
Sales and Quality of Customer Experience is Declining
As companies grow, one of their biggest challenges is often inventory management. Ensuring that the right amount of products is in the right location at the right time is a vital part of business operations.
When sales, inventory and customer data are maintained separately, it can create serious problems across your company. If you run out of a popular product, sales will be off until the next shipment arrives. Meanwhile, if a customer calls to inquire about an order and employees can’t track it to see if it’s been shipped—or if it’s even in stock—your company will start to develop a poor reputation for reliability and service. All of this can be avoided when you move on from an outgrown business system.
With an ERP system, on the other hand, staff in every department will have access to the same, up-to-the-minute information. Customer-facing reps should be able to answer customers questions about order and shipping status, payment status, service issues, etc., without having to hang up the phone and check with another department. Better yet, customers should be able to simply go online to their account and view status information. Meanwhile, the warehouse manager can see that stock is getting low and can reorder.
Your IT Environment Is Too Complex
One of the biggest downsides of having multiple systems across your business is that IT management can become a nightmare. Modifications and integration of business systems while maintaining them with patches and upgrades can be complex, costly and sap critical time and resources.
If your patchwork of systems includes on-premise, legacy business software, system upgrades can be more trouble than they’re worth. Not only are these updates expensive and time-consuming, but they may also undo customisations implemented by IT staff. The pain point associated with on-premise and legacy software is the biggest indicator of an outgrown business system.
Cloud based ERP has proven itself to take the pain away through the automation of upgrades, the lower cost of ownership and the improved flexibility of delivery but the biggest benefit to cloud based applications is the paradigm shift to an industry vertical based best practice configuration that has been tried and tested by thousands of businesses that operate with the same general requirements.