Managing a business can be quite demanding so it is essential to have the right systems in place to help you run it as efficiently and effectively as possible. One way to ensure you do this is to have the right business management software in place.
Essentially what you need is a system that gives you access to accurate, real-time financial, accounting and business management data. It should be flexible enough to enable you to capitalise on the latest technological advancements. It must include some sort of customer relationship management functionality to ensure you can offer superior customer service. It needs to be adequately supported by your provider for when issues arise. And finally, your system needs to be able to grow and adapt with your ever-changing business needs and processes.
An inadequate business management system is a major factor contributing to missed opportunities and often business failure. Recognising where your current ERP/business management software is failing your business is your first step to aligning your software needs with your business strategy.
Spotting business management software failings
It is very easy to get so caught up in the day to day running of your business that you miss valuable opportunities to save time, money and resources; all of which could be crucial to your company’s survival. Take a look at the following system inhibitors that could slow you down…
1. Poor reporting capabilities
When you can’t get the information you need to make sound business decisions you can miss out on crucial ways to improve your bottom line…
- Are reports difficult to generate?
- Can you create ad-hoc reports when required?
- Are you still manually exporting to excel for analysis purposes?
- Do you have access to ‘live’ up to the minute real-time data?
- Have you got the ability to drill down to the finer details of your reports for further analysis?
- Can you unlock the value of your data to make accurate forecasts for the future?
- Do you have seamless access to data to support a more efficient and robust decision making process?
- Can you set up scheduled reports with automatic emails sent to a pre-set list of recipients?
- Can you get KPIs automatically delivered to your email or smartphone?
2. Usability poor and insufficient functionality
When end-users start to complain or improvise, things can get messy…
- Are staff frustrations and complaints rising?
- Is your software inhibiting users from completing tasks?
- Are staff resorting to manual processes in order to carry out their jobs?
- Are you entering the same data more than once?
- Can you maintain effective stock levels to maximise profit margins and manage cashflow?
- Can you easily customise end users screens and dashboards to reflect their unique requirements?
- Can you automate processes using workflows to simplify repetitive tasks?
- Can you manage user restrictions and access capabilities using role based security policies?
3. Inadequate Customer Relationship Management
Poor customer service spreads like wildfire…
- Are you able to effectively communicate with your customers?
- Are you able to fulfill request for statements/invoices to be sent via email?
- Can you access vital customer sales information at order entry/point of contact?
- Can you target special offers or marketing campaigns to different categories of customers?
- Can you manage your customer credit terms and debtors days?
- Do you have a returns policy that enables you to deal with queries efficiently and effectively?
- Does you software offer an online customer account management portal that allows your customers their account with you 25/7?
4. Outdated Technology
It’s understandable to want to hang on to the familiarity of your existing system but at what cost to your business?…
- Are you still working on an old legacy system?
- Have you had bespoke work carried out and are now unable to update your system?
- Are you able to modify your software to facilitate changes in your business operations (e.g. pursuing new markets, acquiring other businesses, increase your product line)?
- Are you confident in the security of your data?
- Have you got the ability to back up your data online?
- Have you got access to full historical traceability throughout your system?
- Are you using the Internet effectively? Can you carry out business electronically?
- Are staff downloading software to bridge gaps in your software capabilities?
- Are you able to take advantage of the new technologies that are now becoming mainstream e.g. mobile solutions, eCommerce, customer account portals?
5. Insufficient Support Services
Downtime costs money…
- Have your support costs risen significantly?
- Are your support issues dealt with efficiently?
- Has your vendor discontinued a product and removed all related support services?
- Have you got access to local support services from front line support personnel to the development team?
- Have you got access to useful tools and resources to help you utilise your software solution more efficiently e.g. hints/tips, manuals?
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it may be a good time to review your system(s).
Changing or upgrading your business management software is never an easy decision to make but sometimes it can be crucial to your survival.
Think of it this way – the longer you stick with a system that no longer meets your needs, the less efficient you become and the more costly it can get for you in the long run. It costs nothing to take a step back from your daily routine to take an objective view of your current business management system.
ERP Needs Analysis Test
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