Do you want to learn more about enterprise resource planning (ERP) functionality so you can make an educated decision for your business? ERP software plays a critical role in corporate digital transformation as companies look to adopt intelligent software solutions to improve their business processes and operations.
While you have likely heard of ERP software, you might not fully understand all of these tools’ capabilities. This post will explain the key ERP functions and features businesses should look for. When your organization decides it is time to invest in SaaS like ERP software, use this informative post to help you evaluate which ERP system best meets the needs of your business.
Key ERP Features and Functions to Look For
ERP software is popular with companies of all sizes because of the many capabilities it possesses. However, not all ERP software is the same. Features and functions will vary between different ERP solutions. Evaluating which software is the right fit for your business can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.
Below we have compiled a list of critical ERP functions and features to evaluate when looking for ERP software. They include:
- Data analysis
- Data reporting
- Supply chain management
Integration features might be the most critical aspect of ERP software. Enterprise resource planning tools are valuable to businesses because they provide a central view of essential data points from every corner of the business, from financial and HR to operations and customer management.
Most companies are inefficient because their data is siloed and departments and groups work at cross-purposes. ERP bridges the gaps between data silos and departments to share valuable business data across the organization in real-time. Without data integration, your business cannot implement intelligence tools or meaningfully analyze the data you collect.
When evaluating ERP software for your business, look to see if the solution you are interested in is a standalone software that integrates with other tools like CRM or if it is a suite of tools designed to operate together as a single integrated software solution.
ERP software collects and stores all your business data in a centralized location. Therefore, it is essential that this software also runs data analysis on the collected information. Data analysis features create actionable insights that your decision-makers can use to chart the course of your company.
Each ERP will likely have some data analysis features, but they won’t be the same from solution to solution. Look for ERP solutions that include data analysis features such as forecasting, budget creation tools, and operational performance tracking, among other things. The business value created by your ERP will depend largely on the actionable insights it can generate.
Too often, people use data reporting and data analysis interchangeably. Data analysis provides actionable insights, but data reporting translates these insights into understandable graphics, charts, etc. If you can’t understand your data, you won’t be able to benefit from collecting and analyzing it.
Businesses looking to get the most out of their data reporting, should look for ERP software that allows users to create custom dashboards and reports. Users should also be able to create a variety of different reports based on the data. For example, some data is best represented in a pie chart, and other data is best represented in a heat map. Quality ERP will have several data reporting options for users to take advantage of.
CRM, or customer relationship management software, is a different tool than ERP. However, top-line ERP will include a built-in CRM mobile app. In addition, businesses should also look for ERP solutions that have a built-in CRM with an open API. Organizations can easily integrate their ERP with Salesforce or other popular third-party tools with an open API.
You’ll find that some ERP software will have a CRM. Others won’t. Customer relationship management tools are vital to success, especially when employees work remotely or on the road.
One critical ERP feature to analyze when looking for the right solution for your business is automation. Your organization can automate repetitive, repeatable tasks with the right ERP software. For example, tasks like data reporting, payroll, order processing, invoicing, etc., can be automated by ERP.
Automation saves your employees valuable time. Instead of working on low-value, repetitive tasks, your employees can spend more time working on tasks that have high value to your business operations. Furthermore, automation reduces errors in manual data entry tasks.
Evaluate which tasks in your business processes can be automated. Consider these things when you are comparing ERP software. Almost all ERP solutions will include automation features. However, some will be more capable than others of meeting the specific needs of your business.
Supply Chain Management
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how simple it can be to disrupt supply chains. So look for ERP software with in-depth supply chain management features. Supply chain management features allow your business to track demand, orders, inventory levels, manufacturing efficiency, and distribution.
Supply chain management (SCM) systems also help companies set realistic inventory goals and create distribution resource plans. In addition, the real-time data provided by SCM features in ERP software can help businesses pinpoint areas of inefficiency and give them more control over inventory levels.
Managing finances is a complicated task that ERP software makes easy. With ERP, businesses can quickly track, analyze, and store financial information from every corner of the organization, from accounts payable to the budget for HR. In addition, more advanced ERP systems will offer high-end features like budget forecasting, tax management, multi-currency reconciliation, and fixed asset management.
To best utilize the resources at your organization’s disposal, you need accurate information from every department, team, and facility. ERP software brings all of your financial information together so your key decision-makers can make educated financial decisions with the company’s resources.
Every ERP software will be slightly different. Therefore, it is important to evaluate software based on your needs and the available features. If you have difficulty determining which enterprise resource planning software is the best fit for your business, reach out to an app development partner. An experienced development partner can help you determine which ERP functionality is best suited for your business needs.