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How will an ERP help your business?

An Enterprise Resource Planning tool (ERP) can help you:

  • Gain insights from complex data
  • Improve profits
  • Monitor and improve performance
  • Innovate in light of trends
  • Enhance customer relationships

So read on to learn how an ERP could revolutionise how your business is currently operating.

Image by Vecteezy


Does my business need an ERP?

There is an ongoing and increasing pressure on enterprise businesses to use data more effectively, be more responsive to ever-changing forces, anticipate market trends and be agile when it comes to decision-making and future design.

So many businesses we work with describe the need to demonstrate efficiency while at the same time harnessing the complex information that comes from multiple software solutions. They also report the ongoing need to improve customer relationships and manage brand better.

The enterprise landscape is always shifting, and there are multiple factors that trigger a need for change, including:

  • Global concerns- such as climate change planning or the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Increased need to outsource parts of the business
  • Supply chain access or limitations
  • Customer preferences and demands
  • Changes to laws, guidelines, procedures and regulations
  • Technological advancements

Your ability to remain competitive in the face of these changes can be improved through an ERP.


Frequently asked questions about ERPs

Here are our top ten frequently asked questions about ERPs, starting with the basics!

1. What is an ERP?

One of the conceptual challenges posed by ERPs is that they mean different things to different people. ERPs are technological systems than can be defined as software solutions. But ERPs also offers a process for carrying out activity within the business. So ERPs are both systems and processes.

2. How do users describe ERPs?

Given the varying definitions of ERPs, the following are some helpful ways that users have defined their ERPs and what it helps them to achieve:

  • "A set of integrated components that span our internal systems."
  • "The configurable software solution we use to pull our information together from difference sources."
  • "An organisation-wide resource that gives everyone accesses to the knowledge the need, regardless of the team they work in."
  • "A tool that sets out how we complete certain processes like invoicing."

3. When did ERPs become popular?

Resource planning became a planning tool in the 1970s, and shortly after that, technological resource planning tools emerged as packed software solutions for businesses. They have continued to grow in use since then.

4. What does an ERP do?

ERP solutions integrate any number of business tools and existing software solutions to present data and activity records that span the entire technological network. The ERP is a tool well beyond one single database or operating system.

The ERP can handle diverse business activities such as:

  • Purchasing
  • Stock and stores
  • Asset management
  • Sales
  • Distribution
  • Cash flow and accounting
  • Project management
  • Quality assurance
  • Strategic planning
  • Data reporting

5. Who uses ERPs?

Many large enterprise businesses and complex organisations have already implemented an ERP. Now more and more small and medium-sized enterprises are investigating and implementing ERPs as well. ERPs are suited for use in many industries and sectors. Government, education and health organisations are also exploring and adopting ERP solutions to consolidate complex data sets from across multiple applications.

6. How much are ERPs worth?

ERPs are a billion-dollar industry, with some very large software companies (like Microsoft) using them to deliver solutions to the biggest companies on the planet.

7. What are top reasons that businesses implement ERPs?

Reasons for deciding to deploy an ERP do vary. These are the top performance outcomes most commonly sought by potential ERP users:

  • The need for consolidated information and a common operational platform
  • To help improve business processes
  • To make the most out of data
  • To reduce cost and inefficiencies in operations
  • To be more responsive to customers and their needs and preferences
  • To improve decision-making capability

8. Does an ERP require configuration?

At least some degree of configuration will be required for the implementation of any ERP. By its very nature, an ERP is highly configurable to be able to be used in to suit the specific needs of a business. This includes collating and handling data from the unique solutions and activities of the business.

Typically, the ERP will be installed and adapted to the particular business. Some ERPs are considered generic, and suitable for use in any industry or environment. There are also certain solutions that have been developed for use in certain sectors, such as manufacturing, finance, retail or health.

9. Are ERPs hard to use?

ERP systems are now so advanced that they offer a clean and consistent view of business operations. Information about business activities that draw information from your multiple sources are presented seamlessly and consistently. The typical ERP user needs to learn to use only one system rather than multiple. A central dashboard can be set up, and in many cases will not even be aware of which data system or application they are working from.

10. What are the options for ERPs?

ERPs can also be run from multiple operating systems, most commonly Windows by also UNIX operating system and Linux.

Traditionally and in most cases, ERP systems have been located, hosted and maintained internally on-premises. This has proven challenging for some businesses through difficulties with implementation and the frequent need for additional expert services and customisation.

More recently, many businesses have been keen to take their ERPs into the cloud. In this case, the ERP is hosted by a third party in the cloud, and local installation is not required. The benefits of cloud-based ERP include:

  • Improved scalability
  • Easier modifications
  • Cost benefits
  • Time and labour saving
  • Better availability of support

A 2020 report by Panorama Consulting group found that almost two-thirds 62.7% of new ERP installations that year were cloud based, while a later 2022 survey amongst companies considering ERPs found that 97% of them were considering going with the cloud.


Business growth with ERP

ERP is the tool that will make organisation-wide systems integration a reality. An ERP can help your business:

  • Innovate
  • Improve financial viability
  • Interact at a global level more easily
  • Implement new organisational activity and design
  • Monitor and improve performance
  • Enhance customer relationships

Decision points for customised ERP

So should you choose an out of the box, or customisable solution? The following questions will help you decide if you would benefit from a customisable solution:

  • Are you hoping to have an extensive and complex information network?
  • Are hoping to be able to produce specific and highly specialised reports?
  • Do you have low levels of data maturity?
  • Are you in a niche industry?
  • Do you need to be able to access data across a range of environments?
  • Do you want to be able to provide certain access to certain user, including external stakeholders?
  • Do you want to innovate and provide major change in your organisation?

Benefits of customisation

When you select an ERP solution that can be customised, your software can be set up with the framework and features that you need. Some ERP systems are more flexible than others, and in some cases you can access no-code or low-code elements that will suit and benefit your business.

When you select a customisable ERP, you will have the opportunity to work with developers to help you adapt the solution to your own processes. Beyond the benefits of having a system that suits you from the onset, you will also have more opportunities to scale and adapt the solution as your business grows and evolves.

In summary, the benefits of a customisable ERP include:

  • Cost benefit- spending a little more upfront can ensure good future use
  • Better integration opportunities- so you can harness the power off the information contained in your existing information systems
  • External expertise- when you work with developers who can really understand your pain points and help you design a system that suits you perfectly


How Pimcore handles ERP

Open-source product Pimcore is a powerful business tool that operates as a Master Data Management (MDM) system. Pimcore is not an ERP, but has similar functionality in that it consolidates data from multiple points. Pimcore presents accurate information through a single source of truth, regardless of how many systems it spans. Pimcore can also deliver digital asset management and be used for stock and store control through its Product Information Management (PIM) component.

Pimcore can be integrated with popular ERP systems such as SAP. Pimcore can be used as a PIM in these cases, enabling product information to quickly and accurately flow through to the ERP. Pimcore also adds rich data to an ERP in the form of extra images, videos, specification sheets and safety reports.



Related Questions

What is Pimcore?

Pimcore is a sophisticated and multi-faceted software solution that offers both MDM and PIM, as well as components for digital asset management, customer data and digital experience. Pimcore was conceived in 2009 and the Pimcore Company was founded in 2013. More than 100,000 companies across 56 countries use Pimcore today. There are more than 130 Pimcore partners, like us, around the world and international companies such as Audi, Pepsi and Yamaha are among Pimcore users, as well as hundreds of startups and small to medium-sized enterprises.

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