Expert Information - 12.09.17
CentERPiece for Efficient Processes
These tips will help you successfully implement a future-proof ERP system.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are gaining more and more importance. According to a Bitkom survey, every third company in Germany is already using an ERP system, and another 21 percent are planning to introduce one. However, a recent US survey on ERP has revealed that this enthusiasm is getting somewhat dented: 26 percent of the persons interviewed consider the introduction of an ERP system in their company a failure. This raises the question of whether there is a universal plan for a successful ERP implementation. Answers and tips by proALPHA.
What should companies pay attention to when introducing an ERP system? This question especially concerns small and medium-sized enterprises, which rely on smooth ERP introductions and future-proof systems to be able to compete in international markets. A first clue is given by the trends and intentions behind investments in ERP, which have been increasing for a while now.
ERP systems are becoming the centerpiece of digital business management
In almost all industries, the most important driver for the introduction of ERP systems is the growing digital network, a development commonly referred to as Industry 4.0 in the production industry. This network creates millions of new data records for all objects and processes in a company. However, these data are useless to business management unless they are processed and prepared by a superordinate system. Today, this is done by modern ERP systems that act as an integration hub in the company, thereby forming the centerpiece of digital business management.
From this function, one can derive valuable tips for the introduction and structure of demand-oriented ERP solutions: These are the five most prevalent tips:
Tip 1: Involve available process know-how in planning
As an integration hub, the ERP system has the task to connect all links of the value chain and production chain in order to optimize business processes. This is possible only if the ERP system is tailored to the processes. To ensure this, any available process know-how should be taken into account. ERP solutions can't live up to their full potential if companies do not involve their specialists in the implementation projects. In the end, their input and contribution are crucial to a successful implementation.
Keep an open system for new opportunitiesThe ERP horizon is getting broader as digitalization and networking are progressing. This calls for a solution that can be expanded successively on a modular basis thanks to demand-oriented functional components. A system architecture that can be expanded anytime is the perfect basis for this. Tasks and functions that used to be separate from the system can be easily integrated, for example using add-on modules that can be configured to meet specific demands. Such modules should be available for customer relationship management (CRM), document management and business intelligence.
Be ready for the Internet of ThingsFitted with appropriate analysis tools, ERP systems are ready for the Internet of Things (IoT). They can be used to analyze data automatically generated by machines and processes intelligently and in real-time. But how do these data get into the ERP system? This depends on the ERP system's integration potential, because the data are collected by sensors and RFID chips. These systems can be integrated in the ERP system using an integration platform like the Integration Workbench (INWB) by proALPHA, which connects third-party systems of any kind with the ERP system. It is highly flexible and scalable, making it the optimum platform for any number of interfaces and any data volume.
Benefit from the cloud "made in Germany"The Internet of Things presents another challenge to small and mid-sized enterprises. To meet this challenge, many companies have to develop and expand their IT resources quicker and further than it is possible within the given financial and organizational frame. These companies benefit from ERP in the business cloud since this gives them more scalability and security at the same time, provided that the cloud is "made in Germany". ERP from the cloud offers a number of other benefits. While there is no need for high up-front investments in hardware and software, flexibility is increased considerably, for example because new subsidiaries can be connected quickly and easily.
Connect worlds across bordersWhen choosing and implementing an ERP system, prospects and customers should ensure that the system can be deployed across national and technological borders. These borders can be different languages and legal stipulations that apply to particular regions. A suitable ERP system therefore supports users with a large number of language versions and country versions. It should also offer the possibility to integrate other systems even across company borders. For example, this can be achieved with fully integrated web portals for customers and suppliers. In addition, every authorized user can access data in the ERP system from anywhere in the world, in real time and online with suitable end devices of all kinds.
Demands on ERP develop dynamically
The demands placed on ERP systems are constantly growing and the fields of application are getting ever broader. For this reason, there can't be a universal method for implementing an ERP system. But one thing is for sure: the importance of ERP is constantly increasing, making it an integration hub and centerpiece of digital business management. You can prepare yourself for the digital future by respecting the tips above when planning and implementing an ERP system.
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