This is a huge undertaking. If you compare two departments within ta typical organization, HR and Finance, you’ll find that pre-ERP they have their own standalone computer system optimized for their specific tasks. ERP takes these distinctly different tools and combines them together into a single database.
Course Notes from ERP 101 (Part 1b)
The end result is that the various departments can more easily share information and communicate better with one another. One hand can finally see what the other hand is doing, and pitch in, in a sense. If the ERP software is installed correctly, this integrated approach can have huge and transformative payback.
Here is an example of how ERP can create significant efficiencies and productivity increases. Suppose a customer places an order with a company that hasn’t yet adopted ERP software. The order will most likely come in on paper, and be keyed in over and over again as it makes its rounds through the department. Every department in the company will have the order in its system, but no department will be able to tell the status of the order at any single time. Enter ERP. By integrating the systems, the various departments in the company can now track the status of the order whenever they need to.
As with buying any piece of software, especially one as all-encompassing as ERP, the best place to start the buying process is by taking a look at your business and determining if ERP will be of benefit. If your company is like the one described above, taking in orders on paper and having the information on the order processed by each individual one at a time, with no communication between the groups, then ERP is definitely for you. Tip: There are plenty of independent ERP consultants you can bring in to help with this evaluation; yes, they are biased towards ERP almost always being a good idea, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you know it going in. As long as they are vendor agnostic, they can provide an essential perspective that can inspire your ERP search and point you in the right direction.
Continued in Part 2