Using IT to Improve Business Processes
There comes a point in the growth of all businesses where IT systems that have developed organically over time begin to creak.
For many an entrepreneur and small business founder, the systems used to achieve and log activity were probably initially an afterthought – a necessity in the path to the end goal rather than a considered priority as they had their focus on making a product or service that could be a success.
Disparate Excel spreadsheets may be used to log various processes, email inboxes double as vital contacts lists, passwords become a shared commodity to allow access to vital documents by different employees.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning?
It may be at this stage that businesses begin looking towards Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. ERP being the integrated management of core business processes, often within one software system, typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organization can use to collect, store, manage, and interpret data from many business activities.
The cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market size is estimated to grow from USD 18.52 billion in 2016 to USD 29.84 billion by 2021, at an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent.
The cloud ERP market is driven by a range of factors such as the increasing need for creating efficiency across the enterprise and elimination of inefficient processes and data redundancy, along with a rising demand for ERP solutions and services from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Is ERP a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut?
Whilst the attraction of adopting an all-in-one ERP software is clear, the investment may not be timely for every business.
Most IT users access only the smallest percentage of the capacity of the system at their fingertips and learning to use what you already have, such as Excel, smarter may negate the need for a bigger change for now.
Or a smaller change could be in order. A bit of time researching alternative solutions will be time well spent.
More Advice on Business IT Decisions
Ultimately, finding the right IT solution can seem like a complex and bewildering task, but it is worth bearing in mind you are the expert on the most basic needs of your business and seeking out the systems that allow you to achieve them.
This is something John Ewert, chief financial officer at Nvoicepay – a firm at the forefront of financial technology and creating payment automation software for companies to help them shift away from paper-based processes – told Forbes in September.
Crucially, he said: “Better use of technology will always add value to your organization, but what that looks like will vary depending on an organization’s stage of development. A startup needs a basic accounting system and a planning tool to close the books accurately and forecast results. Later on, when there are thousands of employees you must leverage more elaborate business intelligence tools.”
By upscaling your IT at the same rate as your business, you can ensure your processes fit your circumstances and can help you to work as efficiently as possible.