It’s a tough job running a business – many outsiders simply don’t realize how time consuming it can be. What can come as a shock to many business owners, however, is just how much of that time is spent on small repetitive tasks such as employee coordination and data management. It’s so easy to get into the habit of dealing with these on a day-to-day basis that managers lose track of how ridiculous it is – after all, most of them don’t require a great deal of skill, and it’s amazing to think about what might be accomplished if that time were spent on something else instead.
This is where enterprise resource planning (ERP) comes in. ERP is designed to handle tasks like these automatically. It’s much more efficient than traditional management as it can do things much faster and, if properly set up, it doesn’t make mistakes. Managers need not fear that it will take their jobs though; instead, what it does is make those jobs easier, leaving them free to concentrate on the human side of management and the visionary side of leadership.
What ERP involves
There are many different ERP systems out there, but they are all, essentially, designed to do the same thing: to control the routine systems around which a business is based. They can be used within a traditional workplace or opened up to the cloud, enabling business operations to be carried out from anywhere with an Internet connection. There’s a learning curve, of course, but it’s not a steep one, and even people who are reluctant at first usually agree before long that using ERP is far easier than dealing with the systems they had before.
Getting comfortable with the cloud
Between them, ERP and the cloud represent the two biggest technological changes to impact businesses this decade. They are natural partners, and most businesses that really want to go places use both. The cloud isn’t as mysterious and difficult to deal with as many people think, and it certainly isn’t insecure. It offers businesses lots of advantages, enabling them to do without traditional offices at all if they want, or to expand without having to do so physically. It creates a much more dynamic business environment where work can be done on the go and key business information is never more than a click away.
Applying cloud ERP tools
Making successful use of cloud ERP is all about selecting the right tools for the right business. Maconomy’s accounting and financial management system, for instance, can be integrated with an office system so that specialist contractors brought in to help with tasks like auditing have all the data they need at their fingertips. Deltek Touch’s task management and monitoring tools mean that senior staff can receive instant alerts when something comes up that they need to deal with urgently. People Planner’s forecasting support tools make it much easier to plan ahead, accounting for things like workforce capacity and budgeting.
With tools like these in use, ERP becomes about more than just easing burdens – it becomes about creating opportunity.