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Multisite ERP implementations are not at all unusual. Unless you work for a small, local company, chances are your business is spread across multiple locations. According to our 2013 ERP Report, 50% of organizations implementing ERP software have four or more sites undergoing deployment.

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Multisite implementations can be arduous and intimidating so a solid integration strategy – decided upon early in the process – is necessary in order to achieve expected business benefits and high ROI from your ERP software.

Integrating your organization’s ERP system across multiple locations can improve data accuracy and accounting projections and slash the cost of invoice processing. An integrated system allows users to scan and email invoices, creating electronic versions of scattered paperwork. ERP system integration also enables shared data from any department to be immediately synchronized across all departments and all sites.

Following are three common challenges of multisite implementations which can be overcome through ERP integration:

1.    Invoice collection – Each of your organization’s locations may have a different method or schedule for submitting invoices. ERP integration can reduce invoice shipping costs and reduce the number of staff members required to process invoices. Throughout the process, an integrated ERP system can report the exact dollar amount of all unprocessed invoices and keep this number consistent across all locations.

2.    Data consistency – Since data collection is often done within individual departments, data can be inconsistent across the organization, or for that matter, across geographical locations. ERP integration can reduce the risk of duplicate or inaccurate information and increase the usability of business intelligence for tasks such as financial forecasting. Before integration, organizations should decide the amount of flexibility to give local entities when they manipulate and use data.

3.    Business process standardization Your organization’s different locations will have different business processes, some of which will need to be standardized. Other processes should be localized to fit the needs of each separate entity. Striking the right balance between standardized and localized business processes is crucial when an organization wants to maintain its competitive advantage and customer value proposition, both of which may differ slightly depending on geographic location.

One of the top three reasons organizations implement ERP software, according to our 2013 ERP Report, is “to better integrate systems across multiple locations.” Not only do organizations aim for integration but most organizations realize it is not optional. Multisite ERP implementations require a solid integration strategy that addresses everything from business process reengineering to data consistency and accuracy.

To learn more about the necessity of integration, download the first chapter of our e-publication, An Expert’s Guide to ERP Success.