At some moment, nearly all companies face a critical question: which planning software to use. Some businesses stick to basic tools like spreadsheets in Excel or even paper-based systems. Needless to say that such an approach is outdated. Other teams invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into complicated digital solutions even if they don’t require such expensive tools. But what’s the best option? How to choose and implement ERP properly?
In this brief yet comprehensive guide, we’re unveiling some secrets of ERP technologies to help you find the best digital solution for your brand.
Modular and Packaged ERP Systems
Overall, the main difference that divides the entire ERP market lies in the software structure. While providers claim that all of them have unique development approaches, there are just two basements that can be used to design an ERP tool:
- Modular. These systems consist of several interconnected modules that focus on core areas like CRM or accounting. A client can ask to add, remove or replace each module to get a unique solution that meets his/her requirements perfectly.
- Packaged. Unlike the previous type, this one combines irreplaceable modules that come as a single package. Such tools are based on the market best practices, they include the most demanded modules. But they also don’t support customization.
Both development models have their pros and cons. For instance, multi-modular systems allow clients to purchase only the needed functions, simplify the learning curve, and drive down the costs. Simultaneously, packaged apps provide more space for scalability as they include all the core features from the very first launch. They also may be cost-efficient if a business really uses all the implemented tools.
Core Modules for Enterprises
While both development approaches are viable, we want to talk about modules more. The most popular types mentioned below are usually added to all ERP applications, including modular and packaged ones. Study this list to understand how ERP software covers functional areas. As well, this section should help you to find the most demanded features for your company.
Just like stand-alone CRM apps, the eponymous modules in ERP packages are vital for businesses. They store information about clients, make it accessible and structured, help with customer interactions. The main goal of any CRM module is to improve the satisfaction of your clients by nurturing personalized attention. Advanced tools can enable AI functionality to predict customer behavior, study the audience, and suggest the next marketing actions.
Unlike manufacturing or supply chain management tools, finance/accounting modules are essential for all brands, without exclusion. They cover daily financial operations, ledgers, balances, taxes, and more. With a high-quality finance module, you get a complete overview of the enterprise cash flows. These systems also can analyze data in real-time, provide reports, and protect financial information thanks to their own security features.
People are the most valuable asset you can ever have in the company. According to modern vision, it’s impossible to make your customers satisfied until your employees are unhappy. That’s why HR modules are also crucial. With tools like time trackers, attendance sheets, performance evaluation forms, payroll management systems, and automation upgrades, they make the entire HR process more efficient. And this leads to employee satisfaction.
4. Project Management
According to the name, ERP apps should help with resource management. With project-focused modules, it becomes easier. Tools help with activity tracking, notifications, reports, deadlines, and resource allocation overall. PM solutions connect managers, workers, and clients, so all parties have a clear view of workflows. As a result, the business improves its productivity and builds a better reputation.
5. Sales and Marketing
Last but not least, enterprises have to sell their products or services. A sales module included in your ERP solution takes care of this process. It keeps core info like inquiries, orders, invoices, and shipments. Modern sales modules come with significant automation that also improves productivity. As well, marketing modules focus on promo campaigns on different platforms to optimize cost/result ration.
Choosing the Best Architecture
Evidently, modules are core structural parts of any ERP. That’s why it’s vital to know which areas you want to cover. As long as you realize which modules must be in your brand new ERP system, you can compare offers from different vendors. Hence, if any packaged app suits these demands, feel free to choose it. Otherwise, consider investing in custom modular development that allows you to combine functional parts without limitations.
Finally, mind the costs/benefits. Sometimes, it’s better to sacrifice one feature to get more cost-efficient software. For this, you will need a detailed implementation plan that takes into account all the pros and cons of each solution.