If you are evaluating yourbusiness management softwarewith a view toreplacing or updating your system, it is important to understand the key elements required.
Each element will deliver different value to your business but collectively they offer a single source for all information, enabling you to easily view the status of your company and make decisions in real-time.
The 'financials' are at the heart of any system with the general ledger being the core. All financial data will be recorded and monthly, quarterly and yearly management accounts will be produced here. Also included, will be accounts receivable and payable. If you trade in different currencies it is important the system also supports multi currencies.
Your financials are key to monitoring your company's overall financial health, reviewing organisational processes, satisfying legal requirements and managing finance staff.
The 'Commercials' incorporate the recording of both purchase and sales orders and should allow end users to schedule demand, manage inventory and provide the flow of information across the entire organisation. Other elements to consider here are price management and supplier performance.
Your commercials can deliver significant automation to your order processing procedures along with efficient and intelligent stock management.
3. Customer Relationship Management
One of the most important modules in any business management software is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Depending on your type of business, this is what will indicate how well your business integrates with its customer base.
All correspondence with customers should be accessible to everyone within your business through a fully integrated CRM system. From here you can send anything from a normal email to quotes, orders, deliveries, invoices, statements and order acknowledgements. Your sales pipeline should be built into this module to enable you to forecast sales for the months ahead.
CRM is vital to finding, attracting and winning new clients whilst also nurturing and retaining existing ones
4. Business Intelligence
This module is now considered to be a standard element of any business management software solution. Business intelligence can come in the form of a dashboard, automated scheduled reports or a data analysis tool. What is important here is that the data displayed makes sense to the viewer and gives them an insight in to their part of the business to help make informed decisions.
Gathering, storing, analysing and accessing information is critical to your organisation’s success
The last element I can't ignore is INTEGRATION. Not only are the above core modules critical but they also need to integrate seamlessly to ensure a continuous flow of data across all departments.
If you depend on the import or export of data and find yourself manually integrating between various disparate systems then you are not going to be running as efficiently and effectively as you could be.
Unlike some legacy systems that try to ‘merge’ stand-alone systems into a one application, modern ERP systemshave been specifically designed to share a single definition of every object or data element in the system.
Paul Marry, Co Founder & UK Business Development Director, Intact Software