Your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system needs to move at the speed of your business.

Is your ERP Agile? 5 steps to ensure flexibility

Glenn Johnson | Magic Software


Your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system needs to move at the speed of your business. Being able to quickly adapt to disruptive business processes and changing business needs is key to success and survival. Flexibility and near real-time response to changing business processes is especially essential for an organization’s core ERP system.

Here are 5 reasons why flexibility is key for ERP:

1. Cloud Configurations – Companies should be prepared to extend their core ERP systems with a variety of cloud-based services to take advantage of best-of-breed and supplemental capabilities. They also may want to support a two-tier ERP model in which companies run more than one ERP system, often a primary one at headquarters and additional cloud ERP services at subsidiaries. Companies should have the flexibility to create efficient, seamless work flows across multiple ERP systems, add-on services, and different applications, including CRM, HCM, EPM and SCM – regardless of whether they reside on-premises or in the cloud.

2. Changing Business Models – Companies shouldn’t have to limit the way products and services are offered because their ERP system is inflexible. For example, to meet the growing demand for subscription services, insurance companies are providing insurance coverage for young drivers by the day and jet engine manufacturers are selling air time instead of the engines themselves. An inflexible ERP system that can’t support dynamic business practices such as new revenue models and depreciation methods can be a serious inhibitor to positive changes. No company wants to be limited to outdated business models because of its ERP system.

3. Secure ERP Integrations – Weak ERP security can lead to a loss of assets and compromise data privacy. Securing ERP data also needs to take into account the possibility of integrating with public clouds and tools. In order for sensitive data to be protected, ERP systems need consistent secure integrations to back end and reporting systems.

4. Prepare for Mobile ERP – The ability to perform day-to-day business functions on the go, including approving purchase requests, signing contracts, and viewing inventory levels boosts efficiency considerably. Mobile ERP applications benefit everyone from sales people to warehouse workers to CEOs who want immediate access to financial reports. Enterprises must be prepared to mobilize relevant ERP data and processes, update data based on real-time transactions and support offline use cases.

5. Plan to Scale for IoT Data - Companies wanting to leverage data from IoT systems for predictive maintenance, predictive analytics, and optimized manufacturing, could be flooded with huge volumes of data coming from sensors.ERP systems can connect the device data with business data and must be able to process, analyse and show all this data in real-time. Elasticity with the ability to scale up quickly will become essential as more and more ERP business processes are data driven.

Given ERP size and complexities, and the introduction of new technologies as part of digital transformation, there is always the need to modify and expand ERP systems. And yet the reality is that a full ERP implementation can take more than a year and customizations made in the name of flexibility can delay future upgrades for months. Planning ahead to include the necessary flexibility, and using solutions that are fully interoperable is the best way to be prepared for new data, security and reporting requirements that come with digital transformation.   


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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