Enterprise Resource Planning from an IT perspective
One of the greatest advantages of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is that it’s designed to be used throughout all departments of your company, from product planning and sales to inventory maintenance and accounting.
Combining your company’s processes into one cohesive system eliminates data silos, and reduces manual processes. ERP provides a unified platform that helps departments intercommunicate, allowing your business to run more efficiently.
While ERP interacts with all of your departments, there’s one team in particular that should be heavily involved in your implementation and ongoing use of your ERP system: your IT department.
IT’s view on ERP systems
When it comes to choosing an ERP system, your information technology (IT) team is likely to have high expectations and particular must-haves. When you find an ERP system that can live up to the expectations of the IT department, there’s a high chance the same system will fit your business as a whole. Viewing ERP from the perspective of the IT team is also a good way to ensure the system you select can be adjusted and scaled to provide the support each department needs.
Here are some of the most common requirements on any IT department’s ERP wishlist:
Because you’re making a transition from multiple systems to only one system, the issue of security is both lessened and heightened. Data integrity and security is easier to manage, as there is only one access point. With no exchanging of hands between systems, there is no opportunity for data to become lost or misappropriated in transfer.
On the other hand, all of your organization’s information can now be found in one location. That means the chosen ERP must follow industry standards, and place focus on maintaining the highest security. Choose a vendor that can prove they hold the competitive edge when it comes to providing the most secure all-in-one system on the market.
2. Error reduction
In the information technology space, data integrity is king. When company data is incorrect, it’s the responsibility of the IT team to find errors and fix them in a timely fashion. ERP software can bolster the integrity of your company data, by removing the manual processes that often lead to human error.
An ERP system also automates business processes -- your production team can collect a real-time snapshot of inventory at any moment; while your accounting team can analyze the financial health of your company down to the cent. Knowing all teams can trust the data in the system makes the IT department’s job that much easier.
3. Easy configuration and customization
It may be up to the rest of the departments to clearly identify their needs, but it’s up to the IT department to deliver. An ERP system that’s easy to configure and customize will make the responsibilities of the IT team less burdensome.
Because IT staff don’t always have the authority to make large business decisions at a moment’s notice, it’s crucial that the system gives them the means to pull a rabbit out of a hat when requested by upper management. An ERP system that is flexible and customizable keeps the IT team from having to challenge superiors at every corner, simply because "the system doesn’t allow for that."
A simple system means fewer headaches for your IT team; because when things get complex and confusing, who will your employees call on first? That’s right -- the IT department! While it’s great to have IT supporting all of your staff, you don’t want them spending too much precious time training employees on how the system works.
An ERP system with simple processes and user-friendly functions will free up your IT personnel to work on the bigger picture -- such as further enhancing the system, and giving your company more fully-featured, customized solutions.
Finding the time to innovate is a challenge for a great number of business teams. Many IT leaders find themselves low on the building blocks of innovation -- such as time and resources -- not to mention budget constraints. Supporting the IT needs of an entire company is time-consuming, and technology integrations can take up a great deal of precious innovation bandwidth.
An ERP system that is fully connected, configurable, simple, and secure is an IT department’s dream; because it leaves more team members free to focus on bringing new ideas and fresh value to the company.
It’s much easier to fit a software system to your business, than to attempt to shoehorn your business into a software system. No one knows this truth better than the IT department, who will take on the responsibility of making adjustments to the system as your company changes and grows. Those in charge of vetting an ERP system will be eyeing its scalability closely.
An ERP system’s ability to meet your company’s needs now, and scale to fit your company’s changing needs down the road is priceless. Adding or removing complexities should be straightforward, and the entire design of the ERP software should work for the business today and tomorrow.
Listen to your IT department
Your IT department will help secure the foundation of your new ERP system; and will flush out the parts of the system that won’t serve your business best. An ERP system (especially one hosted in the cloud) can reduce your IT staff’s workload and remove tedious responsibilities; such as reconciling data between disparate systems, training staff, and managing software versioning.
Your IT team has a huge stake in your choice of an ERP software provider -- and once you select an ERP system, IT will be integral to the successful implementation of that system.
Catering to your IT department’s ERP preferences is a wise move for any business owner. When you choose a system that meets the needs of IT, you’re not only supporting your foundational infrastructure, but also ensuring you get what you need in a fully integrated and maintainable system -- one that can fit the requests of each department within your organization.
Aaron Continelli, president, Cre8tive Technology and Design.
Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Future plc Publication. All rights reserved.