Is Your ERP System Poised to Power the Growth of Your Business? 6 Questions to Find Out

    If you see the value of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, you’re in good company.

    The global ERP market is projected to grow to about $97 billion by 2024. But how do you know if your ERP is ready for the next phase of your business? As your business grows, your technology needs will also change. Where your business is today is likely not where it will be tomorrow, three, five, or 10 years from now. So it’s vital that your ERP system can grow with your company. 

    Here are some of the questions you should be asking to know if it is capable of supporting your growth:

    1. Does your ERP provide a single, unified system without data silos?
    2. Does it offer all the functionality you need to properly grow your business?
    3. Can your ERP automate repeatable business processes?
    4. Can it handle international operations?
    5. Does it provide actionable data analysis?
    6. Does it provide robust reporting capabilities?

    Let’s unpack these with a little more detail, so you can evaluate your current solution and determine if there’s room for improvement.

    1. Does your ERP provide a single, unified system without data silos?

    The term “silo” has devolved into a four-letter word—at least in tech. But in reality, most silos originate from a good place. People want to do their jobs well, so they organize data management systems in a way that makes that easier. In many situations, ensuring other departments or managers have visibility into their information is an afterthought, at most. This practice can continue for years, and individual employees and departments can achieve isolated successes, supporting the “validity” of their siloed system.

    A problem arises when a higher-level decision needs to incorporate data from multiple departments, and some ERPs don’t do a great job with this. Here are some specific questions to determine whether your ERP supports a truly silo-free system:

    • Do you have a central view of all of your enterprise's financial data?
    • Can you get a snapshot, at any given time, of your operational data, enterprise-wide?
    • Can this data be easily shared across the organization?
    • Is the data updated in real time?

    2. Does your ERP offer the functionality you need to grow your business?

    Even though the “planning” in ERP implies it’s a growth tool, some fall short of genuinely supporting the future of your business. While growing a business often involves improving sales, adjusting marketing tactics, and acquiring new infrastructure, there’s a lot more that goes into deciding when, if, and how to execute these strategies.

    Determine if your ERP provides a holistic view of the following elements—all of which are central to planning your next growth phase:

    • Financial data: Can you afford to grow? Can you tweak the management of one or more accounts to enable your next evolution?
    • Human resources: Do you really need to hire more people? How are responsibilities currently balanced? Are key individuals being underutilized or overworked? Are compensation figures where they should be?
    • Customer relationship management (CRM) system: Can your CRM be leveraged to pull in and follow up with new or existing leads to empower a growth phase?
    • Supply chain: Can your supply chain be optimized to run leaner? Where are the inefficiencies? How can it be expanded—or revamped—as you grow?
    • Manufacturing: Is your current manufacturing system scalable? What adjustments need to be made?

    3. Can your ERP help to automate repeatable business processes?

    Employees and executives that burn the midnight oil can be a two-edged sword—their extra work may make it look like you don’t need automation. Your ERP should be able to save everyone time, especially when it comes to repeatable processes. For example, you should ask if your ERP can automate:

    • The collection of financial performance data
    • Customer engagement processes
    • Digital risk and compliance management
    • How procurement and logistics data is gathered, enabling you to renegotiate contracts
    • Human resources factors, such as payments, administering benefits, and employee training and recruitment initiatives

    6QuestionsBlog_12072021_im24. Can your ERP handle international operations?

    In a global economy, if your ERP doesn’t enable seamless access to international business opportunities, it could be more of an obstacle than an asset. With the right ERP solution, you can achieve agility across borders. Your ERP should be able to:

    • Support global, regional, and local accounting
    • Facilitate communication in multiple languages
    • Enable you to assess the cost of sending and receiving international payments

    Further, your ERP needs to make it easy to correlate meetings and communicate with others regardless of their time zone or local holidays. This applies to everything from strategic meetings to marketing campaigns.

    5. Does your ERP provide actionable data analysis?

    Data is gold, and while many businesses generate huge payloads of precious data, some don’t have an ERP that can properly leverage it. Your ERP needs to go beyond collating and organizing data to enable genuine data analysis. It should be able to apply artificial intelligence to both see data and use it to support insights.

    A comprehensive ERP should support data analysis that can be used to:

    • Optimize operations
    • Reduce costs
    • Improve customer service
    • Optimize your supply chain
    • Adjust funding and make other financial decisions

    6. Does your ERP provide robust reporting capabilities?

    All the data in the world is little more than clutter if you don’t have tools to report it to decision-makers—including yourself. An ERP that powers growth makes it easy to generate reports, saving you valuable prep time before meetings. With comprehensive reporting capabilities, you can also surface insights within a matter of moments that enable you to provide valuable intel to team members.

    An ERP that fosters growth can gather information into:

    • Reports
    • Dashboards
    • Graphs
    • Charts

    All of these can be used to outline—with clarity—how to execute the next step in your organization’s growth.

    Do You Have a True SaaS-Based Cloud ERP?

    With a full software-as-a-service (SaaS) ERP, you can easily add applications, users, new business units, and more. In this way, you can scale without having to worry about architecting the underlying infrastructure to support growth.

    With NetSuite services by GSI, you gain access to the full spectrum of tools within Oracle’s NetSuite ERP at a fraction of the cost. With these tools, you can support your business’s growth without silos, and using actionable data, automation, and robust reporting. Contact us to learn more about how the NetSuite experts at GSI can empower your growth today.