ERP solutions are key to overcoming disparate systems in the workplace

ERP solutions are key to overcoming disparate systems in the workplace
Stephen Howe, director of business solutions firm Times 3 Technologies (T3T)

It is not uncommon to still find companies relying on disparate systems; that is, technology platforms which do not “talk” to each other or integrate well within the broader digital ecosystem.

If you think about the technologies you use in your own life, your banking app might have a different password to your favourite shopping app. Social media login criteria may also vary from one platform to the next, particularly if falling under different digital companies.

In a workplace environment, disparate systems can create all sorts of problems.

You can only imagine the chaos duplicate data entries or errors in data synchronisation can cause when there are deadlines to meet and customers to please. At the internal level, a lack of real-time insights that can been accessed by every department can and indeed does wreak havoc.

Managers and team leaders being unable to access reports or essential analytics will invariably hinder and delay decision-making processes. And as we all know, time most definitely is money.

That is why data consolidation has become so important for businesses. Having a single centralised network for information is guaranteed to streamline operations and do away with haphazard decision-making processes.

Accuracy also improves dramatically because the data is acknowledged as the only source of truth. Instead of discrepancies creeping in, all staff can now be compliant with the centralised information hub, leading to a far more responsive business environment.

Data can include everything that is relevant to business operations, including inventory levels, sales information, customer engagement and employee performance.

The most effective tool for data consolidation available today is the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

According to research by business solutions provider Sage more than 70% of large enterprises make use of ERP systems. Cloud-based ERP solutions are in high demand globally.

These systems contain superb features and functionality such as centralised databases, standardised data formats, automated data synchronisation, reporting that can be customised and, of course, state-of-the art analytics tools.

This unified system serves as a repository for data from different departments which can then be accessed by everyone in the business.

It goes without saying that for some companies, implementing ERP systems may seem overwhelming.

The business might be averse to change and believe the “old way” of doing things had served it well so far and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Their existing setup also might struggle to integrate with a modern ERP solution.

The biggest concern, however, is always cost. In most cases there are fears that implementation will be expensive. Owners and managers may also express concerns that staff productivity will suffer since employees will have to take time away from their jobs to be trained on the new system.

However, all these challenges can be mitigated through proper planning. The minute the mindset shifts to one of embracing the technology, action can be taken. Adopting a phased implementation approach alleviates many concerns and from that point effective change management strategies can be implemented.

Crucially, the business should work with an experienced ERP implementation partner that understands the right way to go about introducing the solution.

Once the system is up and running and employees understand how to use it a company can expect to see improvements in:

  • Operational efficiency.
  • Decision-making.
  • Collaboration between departments.
  • Compliance with regulations.
  • Customer satisfaction.
  • Profitability and competitiveness in the market.