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I’ll admit it: I tend to focus on the negative aspects of ERP. The technological failures, the budget blow-ups, the organizational implosions . . . these things all happen. And they happen a lot and companies need to be prepared if and when they do. But, in the spirit of the season, I thought it’d be a nice change to “accentuate the positive” and write for a bit about all of the benefits a new or upgraded ERP system can bring an organization:

Company-wide Integration: If selected and implemented correctly, ERP systems connect and support all the processes and systems of an organization, reduce redundancy of effort, and offer visibility into what each segment of the company is doing and how it affects the whole.

Company-wide Standardization: The very act of selecting ERP software often leads to company-wide procedure and process-mapping to ensure the software is the right fit. The next step is to use the process map to create at least some measure of standardization, which is supported by the ERP system and leads to gains in efficiency and cost savings.

Improved Customer Satisfaction: A robust ERP system enables organizations to access data about their products, services and customers in real-time, which can lead to better forecasting, reduced production times and increased quality — all of which make customers very satisfied indeed.

Improved Operations: By providing access to a company’s true performance, ERP systems can enable the executive team to improve the business in a number of ways, including better financial budgeting and reporting, enhanced regulatory compliance, and streamlined staffing.

Improved Positioning: Only an organization with the kind of processes and results explicated above can be positioned for growth. ERP systems are fully scalable, meaning they not only provide the structures needed for success today but support new business opportunities as they arise.

If you’ve ever sat through a vendor sales spiel, none of the above will be surprising. But it’s hard — if not impossible — to achieve any of these benefits if the ERP software chosen is the wrong match, if the organization isn’t taking the time to improve or standardize its processes, or if employees are demotivated to use the system to its full capabilities. We see it a lot: organizations spend a substantial amount of money on ERP software to achieve a full roster of business improvements and end up with a clunky, underperforming system that people find intimidating and hard to use. In fact, our 2011 ERP Report found that nearly half (48-percent) of companies receive less than half of the business benefits they anticipated. That’s a substantial and disturbing disconnect. The key to avoiding it is to know what the system is capable of and then make sure the business is ready to capitalize on it. Panorama can help. Contact our team of independent ERP consultants today to ensure your organization is positioned to achieve all of the business benefits possible from an ERP system.

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