Operations Management Articles

ERP for Head of Class Businesses

by Jennifer Riggins
Published on 23 June 2014

We help you guys find the right enterprise resource planning system (ERP), but we don't always follow up to see how it's going. The fact is, many people pay for an ERP that's essentially useless. If you don't put the time in upfront and implement it the right way for your team, an ERP can be a total waste of time and money. That's why it's essential that you take advantage of free demos and free trials to test out if an ERP is right for your business and, especially, to test if an ERP software company has the right customer service for your business.

This is the theme the folks at FianancialForce illustrate in their newest infographic "How to Successfully Implement an ERP and Grow." The creators of FinancialForce ERP Solution actually go so far as to introduce their piece by admitting that "While this new system will ultimately help your company grow, it is in no doubt a large IT investment." Or as the Aberdeen Report on the "CIO's Guide to Living with ERP" puts it, choosing the right ERP is "the single largest IT investment most manufacturers will make in their business."

But if you're good, you're good, and an enterprise resource planning system will only make you better.


What does an ERP system do?

An enterprise resource planning system is exactly as it sounds. It's a business software, or more likely a system of integrated business software, that allows companies to gather and understand data across different departments or processes. A true ERP like FinancialForce brings together:

  • a 360-degree view of your customers
  • marketing and sales
  • inventory and distribution
  • manufacturing and delivery
  • accounting and finance
  • supply chain management
  • human resources (or human capital management)
  • and usually more

Logically, if it is a resource that can be counted - stock, numbers, even your staff - it can be integrated within an ERP. And then this info is shared across the different departments in the form of consumable business analytics.

Even the best benefit from an ERP

The Aberdeen white paper and the subsequent FinancialForce infographic stay focused on the so-called best in class. Like the teachers' pets of our childhood, these are the benchmark businesses in any field, the standard each business should strive to meet or exceed. There's good reason for this because you can't implement an ERP in a hot mess - you and your various departments need to be ready for this time and IT investment.

So when you are already at the top, where do you have to go? According to Aberdeen and FInancialForce, the best in class companies that fully implemented an ERP saw:

  • 46 percent of employees beat their annual goals
  • 22 percent reduction in operational costs
  • 17 percent increase in profitability over two years

Not numbers to snuff at, are they?

Of course this rampant success might all be due to the fact that these business leaders are twice as likely to measure the impact of an ERP.

How to implement an ERP successfully

Have the right IT team. This indubitable Step One not only is essential for implementation but for the long haul. And then make sure to put the onus on other staff to make sure actions are planned and taken, based on what the IT team uncovers.

Make your department heads accountable. Moreover, while your IT may do the gathering of intelligence, 80 percent of the top of the top, best in class, business frontrunners make each line of business leader accountable for ERP implementation and results.

Measure the Before and After. This should be obvious, but you'll never truly know the effect of your ERP without knowing the status you started with. Not only should your IT team be measuring as it goes along, but it definitely needs to make an honest assessment of the state of each essential department before the ERP embarkment.

Measure Impact and Return on Investment of your ERP. ERP implementation isn't just a one-time exercise. The most successful companies are constantly looking to improve, which means not only measuring but re-prioritizing based on that data to get the best ROI on scarce resources.

Is your business ready to grow with an ERP?

Why not sign up for a free demo of FinancialForce ERP?

Or go ahead and compare ERP Software head to head with features, screenshots, user reviews and more!


Apps mentioned in this article