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5 ways to leverage ERP in the cloud without throwing away millions

Not too long ago, the concept of moving your business to the “cloud” was a cautious and risky gamble. Nowadays, almost everyone is utilizing cloud technology. Like many current technological trends, how to take advantage of cloud services and how to do it right is just as important as actually moving forward with it. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are taking advantage of cloud migration to provide a better user experience for everyone involved in a company. Michael Bathon as Diginnomica explains how a person must understand the full range of cloud deployment, know where they want the direction of their business to go, and consider alternatives before deciding to put their company on that path. Bathon further shares 5 ways to leverage one’s ERP system in the cloud below:

  1. Use SaaS where it makes sense – There are drawbacks to SaaS, but even if you won’t move the whole company, SaaS ERP might make sense for a division, a newly acquired company, or your distributed salesforce.
  2. Lift and shift trusted applications – Those who don’t think their organization needs a heart transplant still may conclude it needs to build new muscles. They can begin running their existing ERPs (customizations and all) on cloud infrastructure and gradually weave in other cloud services.
  3. Take advantage of world-class infrastructure – Unless you work for a Fortune 100 company that has made considerable investments in building cloud-like data centers, and they focused their new investment where it will drive competitive advantage and growth, you can’t hope to match the economies of scale and DevOps expertise that exist within companies such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. These are resources you could never hope to field on your own.
  4. Access leading-edge cloud resources – Strategic use of the cloud allows you to begin asking questions and creating solutions that otherwise would have lingered forever out of reach because of cost and technical barriers. Taking advantage of advanced cloud services becomes much more practical when your applications and data are already there. Microsoft, Amazon and Google are investing billions in creating next generation data management tools – and you can take advantage of them for pennies on the dollar.
  5. Earn your cloud cred – IT leaders of today who are not prepared to go all-in on the cloud as your modernization strategy must often be prepared to explain themselves because “everybody knows” the cloud is the future. You may indeed score points with company leaders by showing you are embracing that future.

You do not have to more everything to the cloud, and you should not rush the migration process either. Strategically mapping out what you can benefit from cloud technologies to better your business is the first step. Remember, Bathon suggests that it’s “about taking a ‘business first’ not a ‘cloud first’ approach.”

 

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Unlocking business potential with AI-integrated ERP software

There is no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay, and is revolutionizing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) space. Mark Bowen at Intelligent CIO recently shared how the partnership of AI and ERP is going to affect the “very essence of the system-controlled business operations.” AI-integrate ERP systems can unlock the hidden potential of your business data.

Impact of AI on industries

  • AI in manufacturing – AI technology help ensure faster production in less time. From planned preventative maintenance to every other operation performed in any manufacturing plant, AI would make them more efficient and less prone to errors.
  • AI in retail –  Virtual reality functionalities in advertising, intelligent chatbot customer service and extensive customer behavior profiles are just a few areas where AI would thrive in the retail industry.

 

AI is transforming the way ERP functions

Integrating your ERP system with AI opens a world of opportunities and shed some light in your daily operations. With detecting customer behavior patterns and performing routine tasks, inclusion of AI in ERP systems can provide the following benefits:

  • Identify the problems even before they occur
  • Automates routine tasks with system intelligence
  • Improves user experience through interaction

AI is still in its early stages, believe it or not. Though it is no doubt that AI will be a part of ERP systems moving forward. So be ready for this change if you want your business to remain competitive in the years to come.

 

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Three Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming ERP

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has greatly impacting the world of enterprise technology. In enterprise resource planning (ERP), for example, AI is already optimizing system-operating models as well as transforming business processes for enterprises and organizations globally. Automating AI with ERP software systems could bring great value to a business. Solutions Review shared 3 ways AI is transforming ERP.

  • Customer Service / CRM – AI-enabled ERP systems could utilize chatbots in order to respond to customer questions and comments. This gives an extra focus on customer service, as they are able to see what their customers are asking about in real-time, while a virtual assistant answers all the pertinent questions.
  • Sales and Marketing – AI allows a business to not only identify purchasing behavior but also hone in on who is buying what. They may find that there is a viable target market that has been left in branding and marketing schemes.
  • Inventory Management – When incorporating AI technology, you’re reducing the risk of over or under production. This means fewer inventory storage issues and no costly small-scale productions to make up a difference.

While some may still be on the fence to adopt AI technology in our work spaces, this new technology presents an innumerable amount of benefits for organizations already utilizing an ERP solution. Ultimately, AI in ERP means lower costs and higher revenue.

 

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How to maximize your ERP investment

It’s not enough just to have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place. If it’s not evolving alongside your business, it’s not giving you the full competitive edge. Syspro expert Doug Hunter shares a few pointers as to how companies can optimize their ERP systems for their future business needs.

  • Map your system to your processes and strategic objectives – There is no “one size fits all” ERP system, nor the right road map for each company to follow. But with thorough research, you can find an ERP system that fits best with your business needs. To get the most out of your ERP system, you need to draft a predefined list of goals both short and long term – and attainable – tailored to your business’ specific needs.
  • Beyond basic functionality – Getting true value from your ERP is more than simply enabling more efficient processes and generating transactional data. The data that the system produces is the competitive advantage your business needs to grow. This means you should be assessing elements such as the type of reporting packs your business produces, questioning whether they will ultimately give you the information you need.
  • User Experience – The usability of your ERP system also requires significant consideration. Its simple navigation, availability of resources and real-time data is imperative not only for you but for your employees who need to stay current on information.
  • Plan for growth – Your ERP system should be able to grow alongside your company, and an effective ERP partner should be able to help you optimize and innovate across your business. Advanced ERP systems can leverage technology like Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These technologies can identify trends across your business, giving you greater insight as to where your company’s risks and competitive advantage lies, and predict where your company is headed.
  • Keep employees up to date – Optimizing the implementation of your ERP system includes making sure employees understand how it operates. Your employees interact the most with these systems and they are the catalysts of growth for your company. Keeping them in the know on any changes, updates and new processes is essential for your ERP system to be of great benefit for your company.

At the end of the day, your ERP system can provide a huge return on investment, but only if you have a clear road map as to how to leverage the system to its full potential.

 

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Are you thinking about integrating an external project system to your ERP?

There are several things that you need to take into consideration:

  1. What are the accounting needs?
  2. When do the commitments need to be booked in the GL?
  3. Budgets:
    • Do you want a budget to be tracked in your external Project tracking system?
    • Do you want a total not to exceed budget in your ERP to make sure someone is notified when the budget is exceeded?
    • Do you want a detailed budget in both places?
  4. If there is retention from supplier invoices to be paid at the end of the project, when does the retention need to be booked?
  5. Where is the project initially setup? In the external project tracking system or the ERP?
  6. What are the touch points that need to be considered when determining what the interface points are?
  7. How will your ERP know when the project is complete so it can be marked as closed?

How to maximize your ERP investment

Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can be beneficial to your business operations. However, if you don’t fully understand its benefits, you will never reap the rewards of your new system, or worse, create problems. With many ERP options available be sure to invest in the ERP system that best aligns with your business needs. IT Web outlines a few ways to maximize your ERP investment.

  • Map your system to your processes and strategic objectives – Consider aligning yourself with an ERP service that understands the scope of your business and its processes, ideally mapping your desired (not necessarily current) business processes with its assistance, placing the organisation in a solid position to help you develop a tailored but still supportable ERP solution that is mapped to your specific business requirements.
  • Beyond basic functionality – Getting true value from your ERP is about much more than simply enabling more efficient processes and generating transactional data. At the end of the day, the data that the system produces is the competitive advantage your business needs to grow.
  • Plan for growth – It’s important that your ERP system is able to grow alongside your company, and an effective ERP partner should be able to help you optimise and innovate across your business.
  • Keep employees up to date – Because the system will be evolving constantly to meet changing business needs, employees’ knowledge of how to operate the system will also need to be updated continuously.

The ERP system you choose can offer a massive return on investment, but only if you have a clear roadmap as to how you should implement and leverage your system appropriately.

 

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The Top Challenges for ERP Implementation in SMBs

Most SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) have the general perception that Entreprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are suited for larger enterprises. This perception is due to the high cost of ownership, the complexity of implementation and the continuous maintenance costs. ERPs as of late, however, have made it possible for businesses ofsmaller sizes to benefit from these systems. While ERPs can be beneficial for SMBs, they still come with few obstacles, especially during implementation. Elizabeth Quirk of Solutions Review shares some of the top challenges small businesses face during ERP implementation.

 

  • Customization – Every company is different in its own way, so your ERP system may require some minor adjustments. This can often be a slippery slope, and as you begin to run into more complications, you’ll be tempted to address them with some customization. By over-customizing, you may face costly upgrades, so beware!
  • The Users – To prepare employees for the ERP system, you should also address some of the potential problems that may arise when using it, such as lack of understanding, poor adoption, and even selecting the wrong ERP system
  • Investment in Internal Hardware –  Working with a slow, heavy system can leave you incredibly unproductive. A properly managed ERP with the adequate hardware system has the ability to increase customer satisfaction and improve employee productivity. You should also consider looking into a cloud-hosted ERP system.

 

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Acquiring a new Hospital? Here are some things you should consider…

If you are acquiring a new hospital in the near future, below are 5 things to consider:

  1. Will adding the new hospital cause a difference in your GL structure?
    • Are there different management hierarchies that need to be addressed in the new departments/cost centers?
    • If you are using automated flows for approvals will the current structure work for the new location as well?
  2. Localized vs. Centralized purchasing and AP
    • It is often thought that just centralizing purchasing and AP is the norm when acquiring a new hospital. This is often more difficult to achieve then it seems on paper.
    • There are item number differences – how will those be handled? Is there some normalized data in the item master that will allow for consolidating the item master? Does the new hospital provide specialty services that requires adding many more items into the item master? Who will maintain the new items?
    • There are long term contracts in place at both locations – often different prices and terms – Will these stay separate or renegotiated?
      • Different locations often have different sales reps for the same suppliers. How will these relationships be affected? And what affect will it have on the local service if the local rep is no longer involved?
  3. What kind of reports are used at the new location that are not used currently in-house? Are the reports necessary? If these are not canned reports- how will the reports be created and maintained?
  4. What amount of history is necessary to bring over to the new system for each module that is being transferred to your ERP? How will older data be accessed when needed?  Will the old data be available for research?

The Problem of Creating Purchase Orders for Store Local Purchases

The procurement modules in large ERP systems are great for buying in bulk and keeping stock supplied for your larger purchasing needs.  Usually items are shipped to a receiving dock and are received into the ERP system by the receiving personnel.  This makes doing AP matching viable for these purchases.

What do you do with the items that your local store needs that are not shipped to a warehouse for distribution?  What about when the items are not part of a current contract or even needed on a contract? A store may need light bulbs for their light fixtures, for example, and the local manager has the authority to place an order for them without getting them in his regular warehouse deliveries.  This type of local purchase does not need approval beyond the store manager.  Waiting for a long process to establish a local supplier of light bulbs could leave the store in the dark before the process completes.

You still want these local store purchases to have an approval process that is tracked for audit compliance and a way to know what your commitments are.  How do you deal with these purchases now?  Wouldn’t it be great to have a local purchasing solution that doesn’t require a receiving department and still allows you to know:

Who approved the order

What your total corporate commitments are

Where you purchased something before for when you need to purchase them again

A solution is coming – stay tuned for more information soon!

 

 

 

 

How integrating CRM and ERP can increase revenue and profitability

One of the main reasons that enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations fail is that businesses try to lever ERP into a system that it’s not been designed for. While ERP can automate and manage many back office functions for a company, it does not solve or replace other aspects of the business. One such area is customer interactions. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) systems come in. Using a CRM system enables a company to learn and act upon every single customer interaction – something ERP is not designed to do. Integrating both ERP and CRM systems to work side by side could open many possibilities for a company. With such an action, a company has a single view of all customer interactions including contact details, meetings, emails, quotes, orders, products purchased and warranty details. A significant reduction of errors or repeat data means a much more efficient process. In order to get the best out of the two types of software, the most efficient approach is to take an example of each and get them working together. It’s important to note that CRM and ERP are two very different systems. But it’s apparent that with some time and effort, successful integration of the two systems can produce an efficient and cost-effective way of working.

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