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Keeping up with digital transformation: Is your ERP software holding you back?

Digital transformation should not be a scary term. It is also not something that should sit with the IT department at your company. We are all involved in the digital revolution. Put into context, by 2020, forecasts suggest that there will be around 6.58 network connected devices per person around the globe (Source: Statista). You probably won’t even realise how much you connect to the cloud in your home, see some examples below:

Smart plugsHome energy monitorsWi-Fi bulbsSmart thermostat – “Control your heating from your phone.”Amazon Echo

Do you know what I mean now? It’s not that we are ignorant in any way. You often hear something along the lines of, “oh no, that is too technical for me”, but, is it is really? Digital transformation at home or in the workplace does not need to have a primary focus on implementing new IT solutions. Instead, transforming your business requires an acceptance and acknowledgement of cultural change. Failure to invest time and money into innovations and upgrades will inevitably hold back the growth of your company.

"Digital transformation refers to the adoption of digital processes and tools to achieve strategic business goals. It’s a complex, multifaceted process that represents a massive cultural shift in the workplace and changes that affect every part of an organisation." 

- Source: Slack

Some scenarios may ring a bell with you. If you can relate to any of the below, then we would suggest evaluating your digital transformation strategy. Furthermore, deciding to upgrade or implement an ERP solution.

Enabling more impactful, data-driven business decisions

To be the front runner or at least stay on par with your competition, you should have an edge. Reacting to changes in market conditions is an essential function of modern day businesses. You want to act upon a vital piece of information that has come to your attention. First, you need to gather the data, then analyse and report on the data collected. Now you need to get it past the board before being able to do anything else. All the while the ship has sailed, the opportunity was missed.

We argue that a driver of digital transformation is ERP. You need to invest in software that is capable of giving you an up to date, real-time view of your company’s operations. The information should tell you what is working and what is not. It is essential to have almost-instant access to information such as this to aid critical decision making and problem-solving competencies. Don’t miss the boat!

Whether you choose an on-premise or cloud-based ERP solution will be dependent on your company and the factors associated with each. Cloud-based options usually have a lower upfront cost. However, the success of a deployment relies on both the capability of the data centre’s offering and your availability to a suitably fast and consistent internet connection. On the other hand, on-premise solutions are arguably more secure because the hardware is installed locally and can be more closely monitored. There are many other comparisons between the two which you will consider when drawing up your requirements.

Collectively connected

Business transformation will only pay off with the right tools to do the job. We understand that business is continually changing and it can be hard to keep up. Your next software upgrade needs to align with your business strategy and goals. You’ll want improved customer service and better operational productivity and efficiency. ERP software enables a business to connect people, data and processes to get the job done more productively and often in less time, usually saving costs.

If you are looking for streamlined workflows and a better experience for both your employees and customers, then you could completely transform the way you do business in the new digital world. Of course, it's not as easy as just that. Many companies struggle with digital transformation as it requires changing many processes throughout an organisation, which can cause unrest. Working with a consultant will lead your business leaders in the right direction to encourage your staff to embrace new ways of working; we will show you the bigger picture.

Inconsistent data

Do you ever find that you are hesitant in making an important business decision as you aren’t sure that you trust the data to hand? Various studies report that nearly 9 out of 10 spreadsheets (88 per cent) contain errors. We’ve all done it; it’s a matter of fact, we have all created personalised worksheets at one time or another. This practice results in multiple versions of the truth. Teams are analysing the same sets of data and coming up with different outcomes. Departments are not aligned with one another or working towards the same goals. Your businesses data is inconsistent.

ERP software allows for systematic data retrieval and reporting. To ensure a successful transition with your employees, remember what we said at the beginning – digital transformation is not something that should sit with the IT department.

Include all of your staff in the requirements analysis process in the beginning. Set your strategy and explain the reasons for the change from the outset, and you will receive a lot less resistance. Arrange a training schedule at the start and at any necessary times when updates occur. Your staff will see that as the business grows, so does the piles upon piles of spreadsheets. Consequently, this causes an increasingly stressful bottleneck for decision-making, for both you and them.

The cost of doing nothing

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it? Wrong. Investing in a digital transformation strategy is paramount for any 21st-century business, one that is wanting to be successful. Don’t wait for the cracks to start showing before taking the initiative. Transforming your company does not happen overnight. It takes months, sometimes years to fully integrate a new solution and have it working to suit your requirements.

Here are some examples of what may happen when you do nothing:

Your competitors outdo your companyTime-consuming manual data entry continuesSupport for legacy systems terminatesNever ending firefightingLow employee moraleStart your journey today

The term ERP first came about in 1990, but its the origins were way before then. You may think that if you embraced it back then that you are still on your game. Remember that businesses change day-to-day now because of digital transformation. What worked for you in 1990 is probably not working for you currently.

Digital transformation is enabling SMBs to operate just the same as industry leaders. The technology is there you; it’s up to you to leverage it in the right way for your business.

Kayleigh Ogley, Marketing, GradientImage Credit: Wright Studio / Shutterstock

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