So says Jonathan Gross, Vice President of Pemeco Consulting in a white paper we came across recently. His point is well taken, but too often not honored.
Gross made his comments in a concluding section of the paper that rang especially true: that businesses that carry on operations with unintegrated departments and systems will eventually hit a wall in their development. He notes, as have others before, that “manually entering and reentering data in multiple locations is time consuming, error prone, and inefficient.”
We see too many cases of it. As Gross says, “The path forward is one that requires business transformation – transformation into an integrated enterprise… Efficiency is achieved because focus is placed on processing transactions and information throughout the enterprise. In other words, an integrated enterprise focuses [on] processing transactions within and between functions. An ERP system is a prerequisite to the achievement of enterprise integration.”
He goes on to point out that through the combination of “process automation and common data storage” a business has the opportunity to significantly reduce mistakes, operating costs, redundant entry (i.e., time waste) and to substantially improve its efficiencies – and thus ultimately its profits – all up and down the line.
It’s also worth pointing out that a key benefit to that newly centralized repository of data is an additional opportunity: improved Business Intelligence. Companies can use today’s newer ERP reporting tools, drill-downs and dashboards to gain near real-time insights about how they’re doing, where they’re doing well, and where they’re not. And with training, they can do it for themselves, and they can know that the results will reflect not just a single department or area, but even the company as a whole.
Of course, as Gross, concludes, the path there – which is to say, the path to ERP success – can be risky if not well managed. It takes coordination between and among requirements gathering and assessment, system selection, and the various phases of implementation, all the way through training and Go-Live. It takes an experienced hand to guide you, but the destination is worth the sometimes painful steps in the journey.
And that’s the bottom line with ERP.