If your company is looking for a way to streamline your business processes and make it easy to access important information, you might consider enterprise systems like customer relationship management software, supply chain management systems and enterprise resource planning systems. In addition to their reporting and automation capabilities, enterprise systems offer benefits in terms of flexibility, data integrity and customization. Since these systems can be expensive, though, it's crucial to weigh the benefits against the cost to check whether they make sense to implement in your company.
One of the advantages of enterprise systems is that they make it easy for your workforce to access the data they need in a central location. While this helps your operational employees collaborate better in their day-to-day work, it comes with even more benefits to managers. That's because these systems make it easy to instantly check key information about inventory levels, project status, financial reporting and employee performance metrics directly from an online dashboard.
In many cases, this access is available to computers and mobile devices outside the office. This especially helps employees who work from home or travel for their jobs. For example, customer relationship management systems make it possible for salespeople to get access to leads and contact customers regardless of where they are. This flexibility can improve the customer service experience.
Enterprise systems also allow managers to keep up to date while out of the office when necessary. This can be helpful when they're traveling or on vacation and some emergency occurs and is more convenient than having to travel to the office from a distance.
Enterprise systems make it easy to generate detailed reports with statistics, graphics and calculations that managers can use to track performance and spot potential problems. This information is often available in real time, making it easier to take action early on. For example, manufacturing enterprise systems can keep track of important metrics like downtime, rejected products and machine utilization. If a manager notices an uptick in downtime or rejections, for example, this would serve as an indicator to check for problems.
Managers can also use these systems' capabilities to assist with planning. Rather than having to create spreadsheets and run their own financial calculations, for example, managers can simply look at the system's financial reports and look for costs that need cut or respond to declines or increases in revenue. Human resources enterprise systems, for example, can provide helpful information about workforce productivity and staffing levels that help plan the need to hire or train employees.
In addition to providing instant information that saves time and makes work easier, enterprise systems can often automate repetitive tasks completely to free up employees and managers for more essential duties. Some examples of this include:
- Customer relationship management systems can automate marketing by sending emails to potential leads on a regular basis, measuring results from those efforts and helping interested customers schedule appointments.
- Human capital management enterprise systems can schedule employees, handle payroll duties and even assist with recruitment.
- Inventory tracking systems can automate processes such as measuring inventory levels and alerting you to get more stock to meet projected demand.
While making it easy to access data companywide, enterprise systems come with the advantages of increased data security and quality. Administrators of these systems can choose who has access to data and what kinds of data based on the type of employee or manager. In addition to having secure access, data is less at a risk for loss or corruption, thanks to automated backups and careful methods for merging information. The companies offering such systems also ensure the security of data to reduce the likelihood of hacks and database crashes.
Other advantages of enterprise resource planning systems include scalability, customization and potential cost savings. Many of these enterprise systems are cloud-based services that can easily be adjusted to accommodate more users or modules. Companies can customize the packaged services to fit their business needs and budgets so that a startup business won't be stuck with an expensive software suite it won't use. Enhanced workforce productivity from automation and flexible data access can also provide the company with cost savings in the long term.