By Gerrit Olivier, founder and CEO of About IT
We’ve been helping customers deploy cloud ERP and BI dashboard solutions for some years now and we have learned an important secret about how to make it really cost-effective.
Cloud ERP and BI dashboards are very effective at helping SMEs overcome some of the biggest business challenges they face.
How to balance quality versus growth is a big one. Making standard processes so you can consistently deliver optimal products and services is another. Likewise is being productive linked to having people who are generally aware of the business environment with the lean thinking and capabilities to act so they can improve the business.
Regardless of the acknowledged advantages, there’s more to be had instead of just shifting your data to the cloud and having an ERP system you can access from any device.
The problem starts with our traditions. We have always operated from formal places like offices, factories, warehouses, customer premises and boardrooms. Although we’ve had our data and systems in the cloud, many of us have been constrained by this tradition.
The novel coronavirus pandemic shot that model to pieces in the blink of an eye and forced all of us to shift our thinking. Fortunately for us, we’ve helped some customers who had already made that leap before the pandemic.
What we learned with them is that you can deploy cloud ERP and get the BI dashboards that give you the actionable insights into your business that mean you’re technically onboard with the fourth industrial revolution – that your business is now digital.
But some of these guys took it to the next level. It wasn’t good enough for them that they knew immediately the moment something changed in the business, be it something as simple as updated sales figures. Nor that when they made a business decision, it was based on factual data and not gut instinct because “they just knew”.
These guys saw there was a much bigger opportunity they could capitalise on from having these advanced systems in place. Their salespeople, for example, were coming into the office for meetings, usually Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. It takes a lot of time, takes them away from being with customers, and it was all just to manage them in a very old and traditional way. It wasn’t adding any value.
Another company had technicians who were coming into the office to collect their job tickets for the day, get their spares, some of them all the way across town. Many had to wait while the store issued the spares they needed before they headed off to customers to make repairs. They already lost the whole morning just doing that.
The business systems were giving them the data they needed to be more effective, but it was their business processes that were stuck in the dark ages. So they changed them. They got the reports the day before that they needed to draw up spares inventories for the next day, despatched them with technicians that afternoon, who then went straight from home to the customer’s premises the next day. The technicians were happier, the customers were happier and the business is a lot more profitable.
Getting the right technologies is a very important step, make no mistake. But using them effectively means opening our thinking to new ways of running our businesses. The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of people to scratch deep beneath the surface of what’s been possible, but they’re now just beginning to learn the lessons some of our most advanced customers got right beforehand. We’ve helped a lot of people and companies through this same exercise. We can help yours too.