Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software offers many benefits to businesses. As a software suite, ERP includes many popular features for customizing your company operations across multiple departments. However, before implementing a new ERP system you should be aware of some potential drawbacks.
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Get to know all the benefits and drawbacks of ERP systems:
ERP systems are designed to offer multiple modules to handle many of your business processes in one centralized location. Just a few of the most popular software applications are:
With so many applications, ERP can speed up internal processes across every department. Hr can inform management of new hires while accountants can simultaneously send spending reports. By providing a common software interface, the entire company database is managed in a singular manner, allowing much more efficient processes.
Adding a brand new ERP system to your company can take time, especially if you're operating with outdated hardware. It's not uncommon for some ERP implementations to take 2-3 years, depending on the scope of the software. This means if you want an ERP system you have to start planning years in advance to avoid disruptions to your work. Cloud-based ERP solutions may be faster to install, though they can still take time.
After installation, it's time for training to start. Every user will need some degree of teaching before they can comfortably utilize the new software package. Some may learn faster than others, but a steep learning curve can slow down your company's transition. Even experienced tech experts will need to start from scratch with a new ERP system, so make sure your workers are ready for the challenge before implementation.
As mentioned before, ERP solutions have modules for forecasting and reporting a wide variety of data. Analytical tools go through historical and real-time data to provide the best possible information for informed decision making.
Reporting in particular is one of the key features of ERP solutions. The applications are capable of sorting data by region, location, profit center, employee, and other customizable ways based on what your business needs most. This wide range of data allows for more nuanced and accurate decision making in the short and long-term of the business.
Any new software will cost money to implement, especially if you have to upgrade your hardware system as well. And ERP software usually requires some level of training from the vendor before you can get started. While the training is generally included in installation costs, it might be a separate fee if you need a lot of sessions. Any updates to the platform may require additional training as well.
Opting for an ERP software as a service (SaaS) can also increase the price. Plans are usually paid in monthly or annual installments, with the yearly plans offered at a slight discount compared to the monthly ones.
There are some free ERP options available, though additional features to supplement the base software come at a price. Extra modules may be available at a set cost or at different subscription levels. And, once again, training may be required.
Managing security permissions and access across a variety of systems is a daunting challenge. A common control system allows organizations the ability to ensure key company data can be shared without being compromised. With all departments using the same Cloud-based ERP system, everything can be stored in one shared database which can be accessed anywhere.
ERP provides mechanisms to monitor your day-to-day processes for continuous improvement. This also adds a layer of transparency to all your work. ERP allows organizations to consider new ways to optimize workloads to save time and money.
The first time you use a new ERP system, you'll have to input your existing data into the new format. Depending on your industry, this can take a lot of time to complete manually. The more data you have, the longer this process will take. Even digitized data will take time to fit into a new system. You'll have to double-check no data is lost or duplicated during the migration process.
Fortunately, many ERP solutions are compatible with existing data storage software systems for easy uploading and organizing. Once the data is added, it's smooth sailing.
How your company communicates matters. Phone and video conferences, emails, and scans of physical documents are all used by modern businesses. An ERP helps manage different forms of communication so employees can stay in touch, whether it's with their own department, vendors, or customers.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) compatibility is another beneficial module included in many ERP packages. This software application allows the exchange of digitized business documents in a standardized electronic format from one computer to another. This can be used for interdepartmental exchanges, or working with third-party contractors who have their own formatting. Creating a standard eliminates the delays of manual B2B communications while cutting down on errors.
Of course, one of the biggest advantages of ERP software is also a major disadvantage: complexity. Since ERP software is capable of so much, it can be hard for users to focus on singular tasks. Training can reduce the confusion, though for some companies all the applications offered by ERP systems are simply too much.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of ERP, find out if it's right for your organization. The benefits of ERP outweigh the disadvantages, though it's worth checking over first. Can you afford a complete software overhaul? Are your employees receptive to training? How long will it take before the long-term benefits outweigh the initial drawbacks? It all depends on which ERP software you select. Consider starting by exploring the top ERP software vendors of the year.
Explore some of the most popular ERP systems now:
Need help choosing an ERP software? Get free help from one of our software advisors.