Digital transformation is the talk of the town, often associated with innovative technologies such as IoT. AI & predictive analytics. ERP, however, seldom receives similar enthusiasm but can play a crucial role in the transformation of companies. But how does ERP enable transformation?
ERP technology is, by no means, new or disruptive, but recent advancements have seen the rise of innovative cloud-native ERP solutions that transcend the business management usage of their predecessors.
A well-configured ERP can enable organizational strategic advancement by providing a flexible foundation upon which new cutting-edge technologies may integrate.
Data is the lifeblood of your business, and ERP provides a centralized information platform and a single point of truth. But the insights you glean will only be as good as the underlying data.
You’ll need to maximize the utility of your data with a comprehensive data governance program and strategy for cleaning, managing, storing, and archiving disparate types of information. Data must be interoperable across all relevant sources to achieve real insights into your business performance.
It’s also essential that data is accurate, particularly when implementing data-driven technologies like predictive analytics. When centralized on the ERP platform, this data becomes a single point of truth for analytics across the organization. It should be clean and consistent to seamlessly flow from the ERP across the ecosystem.
Focus on Customers
One of the most powerful strengths of ERP is its ability to improve the customer experience. That’s also a key driver – and an ideal outcome – of digital transformation.
ERP can help you align internal processes to deliver on customer needs. Business leaders should first identify critical customer interactions and leverage digitized data to tailor the experience. You’ll also need to refocus business processes on the customer and combine the right technologies. ERP should be integrated with systems like CRM and e-commerce to unite customer data, as well as help enhance inventory management, pricing, and supply-chain operations.
Rethinking Business Processes
Digitally delivered customer preferences, market shifts, and rapidly evolving business models have made efficient processes critical to operational performance. Deployment or upgrade of an ERP system provides an opportunity to re-engineer and document operational processes from the beginning of the project. The goal is to redefine and streamline your business processes in ways that standardize operations across functional units and enable the integration of leading-edge technologies.
You can, for instance, harness the power of RPA to automate manual processes across multiple functions to quickly and efficiently make low-level decisions. Another way to streamline operations is the use of AI to automate tasks like end-to-end processing of invoices for accounts payable.
It’s important to note that simply applying new technology to old processes isn’t effective. Now’s the time to strategically rethink your business processes in ways that, in combination with new digital tools, can really transform the organization.
If your organization currently has a robust, well-integrated ERP system, you could be poised to build on that foundation and maximize your ERP investment by adding on emerging technologies like AI, RPA, and advanced analytics. Doing so can open a world of new possibilities. Consider, for instance, that businesses are beginning to deploy AI-driven products that automate functions like accounts payable. AI tools, when integrated with ERP, can programmatically capture, process, and pay invoices, as well as extract business-critical information that can be parsed to better understand performance and profit.