It is sometimes difficult to get staff buy-in to ERP systems for two main reasons: Employees may balk at learning new software and processes, and be reluctant to replace their favourite stand-alone applications. But, the pain of the transformation process is worth it compared to the frustration and wastage of time in many organizations where employees (unhappily) put up with an all-too-common common workplace challenge: App overload, a problem smart ERPs like NetSuite are designed to solve.

App overload has a negative knock-on effect that often goes unmeasured

Most employees throughout a typical working day switch repeatedly between different applications in their software toolkits:

  • Traditional data processing (e.g. MS Office)
  • Online communication (e.g. Slack)
  • Cloud document storage (e.g. Dropbox)
  • Project management (e.g. Salesforce)
  • Accounting (e.g. QuickBooks)
  • Marketing automation (e.g. Marketo)
  • Data visualisation (e.g. Tableux)
  • Customer support (e.g. Zendesk)
  • Billing (e.g. Zoho)
  • Collaboration (e.g. Jira)

The cost to organisations of this app multi-tasking can run into billions. These costs include staff demoralisation and frustration, time wasting and lost productivity, multiple application maintenance, data management, and accuracy audits.

A simple but cogent example of the effect of app overload is app switching:

  • A RingCentral survey found that “69% of workers WASTE UP TO 60 MINUTES a day navigating between apps”.
  • Three quarters of respondents in a ie survey said they usually had more than five (up to nine) apps open at a time with nearly half admitting that switching apps affected their productivity.
  • Other studies show that it takes people up to 25 minutes to re-focus on the job at hand after a distraction.

Employees said app overload was disruptive, impacted negatively on their creativity, affected ideation, hampered focus, made information disjointed, and resulted in them easily losing their train of thought.

The solution: One platform, one database, one application

By consolidating disparate software requirements in one application, it is easier to normalise an organisation’s relational data on a single platform, automate complex and tedious processes, and integrate department interfaces.

One platform

NetSuite is web-based; there are no complicated installation hoops to jump through. Implementation and upgrading are automated.

Being multi-lingual, it can be instantly deployed internationally to subsidiaries using other languages.

Customisable dashboards enable real-time interaction with colleagues and customers, and connect personal communication channels on multiple devices via a single portal that also displays visual reports and enables the sharing of measurable performance indicators.

One database

It provides for the intelligent digital automation of business processes, so an organization’s employees can focus on innovation and customer service instead of data management, resource allocation, and communication black holes.

Consider the lifecycle of the humble invoice: In an ERP system, an invoice is transparently managed from the time it is input manually (and this can be automated too), through inventory control and billing, to accounting. Automated processes initiate stock re-ordering, report on shrinkage, notify relevant parties about the status of the transaction, and updates the GL.

Easily accessible, information lives in one place in the cloud, not scattered on workstations around the organisation.

One application

NetSuite obviates the need for multiple software and consolidates the tools employees require in a single-source, from email to payroll.

System interfaces between departments and processes are transparent to the user.

Some NetSuite modules to add to your shopping list:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Provides a 360-degree view of customers from sales and service automation to procurement and inventory analysis.
  • Employee Resource Management (ERM): Automates and centralizes expense reporting, purchasing, time and billing, and document management.
  • SuitePeople: Streamlines employee management, e.g. hiring, payroll, induction, and security.
  • Services Resource Planning (SRP): Project manages and consolidates the bidding-to-billing lifecycle for service industries.
  • Project Costing Module (PCM): Intelligent budget forecasting frees up accounts departments to make intelligent decisions from generated cost analyses.

Best of all, an ERP like NetSuite provides a modular framework you can customize. If you choose to retain individual applications (e.g. your sales people love SalesForce, Amazon or Shopify), NetSuite integrates seamlessly. You get to use the software you love but it’s more easily accessible, manageable, and efficient.

And, if you are a disruptive player in your industry, sophisticated development modules give your IT department the tools to innovate bespoke solutions they can code and control.

Is it AI? Yes, we call it Application Integration.