What do vendors mean when they talk about ERP end-to-end processes, cross-functional processes, and value chains? We’re here to shed light on this industry terminology.
The terms mentioned above can be used interchangeably. For simplicity, we’ll use the term, “end-to-end processes.” This refers to a set of processes that allow organizations to complete a function from beginning to end.
If a vendor says their solution is “end-to-end,” what they’re really saying is that their solution includes a set of preconfigured processes that span various functional areas. This integrates these functional areas for seamless data transfer and communication.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at how these solutions work and the business benefits they provide.
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An Overview of End-to-End Processes
There are a few different traits that processes share if they are end-to-end:
- They encompass an entire, comprehensive value chain
- They have an emphasis on customer value
- They are categorized based on perceived value
- They take an outside-in approach
As you might imagine, it can take a great deal of effort to manually integrate these processes. This is where an ERP platform can be an invaluable tool.
By allowing users to access enterprise-wide data in just a few clicks, ERP supports end-to-end processes that are seamless and efficient. Ultimately, this allows companies to conserve costs, optimize production, and deliver on customer expectations.
4 Benefits of ERP End-to-End Processes
To achieve organizational goals related to market entry, business agility, customer centricity, and more, you need to know where and how your company derives value. You also need to understand how your business processes work together to achieve a common purpose.
This is why taking an end-to-end approach to business process reengineering is so important. In fact, when helping clients define their future state, we always take a cross-functional approach. This typically involves adopting the ERP system’s preconfigured industry best practices wherever possible.
Adopting these ERP end-to-end processes in your own implementation can make it much easier to achieve your business goals because you have a blueprint that can help you define workflows and streamline communication.
Let’s review some of the specific benefits you can expect when you take this approach:
1. Eliminate Siloes
Think about how your business processes currently operate. Are department team members working on their own projects, completely separate from one another?
When it’s time to start tackling your organizational goals, it can be difficult to encourage company-wide participation if such operational siloes exist.
End-to-end processes give everyone a shared purpose to work toward, and they facilitate cross-department collaboration. This results in easier data transfer, smoother transactions, and less blame between functions.
2. Big-Picture Perspective
It’s easy to focus on the individual components that make up a workflow but doing so restricts you from seeing the bigger picture.
With an end-to-end approach, you’re taking a long-term, holistic view that allows you to understand how changes made to one function will influence the others.
3. Emphasis on Customer Satisfaction
End-to-end processes encourage you to think about your business from an outside perspective.
For example, what areas do you need to optimize to create workflows that delight current and prospective clients?
When you focus on the value you’re generating, you can make process improvements that enhance the customer experience.
4. Leverage Digital Technologies
Digital technologies, like ERP systems, are designed to automate a range of different functions. In fact, many software solutions include integrated tools that enable end-to-end process development. This allows you to strengthen your core business areas, automate workflows, and improve efficiencies across the board.
How to Approach End-to-End Process Development
Are you ready to integrate end-to-end processes at your organization? While every business is different, there are a few strategies that can help you approach this transformation successfully.
Let’s look at a few of the most important steps to take:
1. Prioritize by Business Value
It can be tempting to dive right in and connect every process into an end-to-end workflow.
Instead of taking an all-in approach, start by focusing on the processes that deliver the most value to your organization.
Which ones are directly linked to your strategic objectives? Rank those by their complexity and potential impact, so you can create a roadmap that makes the effort easier to manage and implement.
2. Connect Processes to Key Benefits
It doesn’t matter how well-executed a process is if it doesn’t help you reach core business metrics.
To ensure you’re headed in the right direction, we recommend creating a benefits realization plan during the ERP implementation planning stage that clearly outlines the outcomes you expect from your end-to-end strategies.
In addition, you’ll need a project plan that outlines the steps you’ll take to achieve those benefits.
3. Get Inspiration From Others
Another way you can simplify the path toward end-to-end process optimization is by gleaning inspiration from others who have done similar work.
For instance, you can find businesses that have successfully developed end-to-end workflows by asking for names from leading technology vendors, industry associations, research organizations, and more.
While other companies’ approaches might not fully align with yours, you can use it as a template for your own project scope.
4. Implement a Change Management Strategy
Any time you make changes to a business process, you’re affecting the employees who depend on that process for their day-to-day work. As such, there may be some initial hesitancy around transforming processes into integrated, end-to-end workflows.
Developing an ERP change management plan can help you minimize this resistance. By developing a strategy, communicating clearly, and asking for feedback, you can ensure that your workforce is fully prepared before it’s time to put the changes in place.
5. Create an ERP Center of Excellence
Once you’ve gone live with new ERP software, it’s important to make sure that it stays aligned with your ever-evolving business needs and requirements. This is where an ERP Center of Excellence (COE) comes in.
This initiative can help you discover operational pain points, areas of resistance, new training needs, and more. Ultimately, you can continuously improve your end-to-end business processes to ensure they’re always helping you reach your goals.
Optimizing Your ERP System for End-to-End Functionality
No longer are business leaders required to cobble together a business strategy using disparate and disjointed processes. ERP end-to-end processes help employees work together to achieve business goals, improve performance, and keep customers happy.