By: Lotfi Al-Sarori
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a suite of integrated software systems that work together to optimize the various business processes in a company. Systems comprising an ERP suite usually use a common unified datastore, have centralized administration, and operate in real-time (or near real-time). Like any other business software, ERPs must provide solid system security, effective access control, and flexible user rights management.
Going Beyond the Basics…
Going beyond the basic aforementioned attributes that every ERP system must have, there are various aspects to consider when contrasting ERP systems. However, the three most important characteristics companies should focus on when looking to acquire an ERP system are:
An ERP software suite needs to have the functionality required to run the different operations of the organization. All business processes in the branches, business units, and departments across all functional areas need to be using the same system to realize the full value of running a streamlined unified operation. Regardless the department, be it finance, HR, supply chain, or production for example; whether you are in the headquarters or accessing the system from a branch or remote office, having access to the same system is optimal.
Thus, an ERP suite needs to fulfill business requirements from across the company. Using an all-inclusive system used across the organization streamlines the exchange of information, eliminates data duplication, saves cost and effort,
and minimizes errors.
and minimizes errors.
There is a big debate in the business software community of build vs. buy. That is, should companies build their own customized solution or buy a readily-made system. There are a number of pros and cons to either way companies go. A business system that has been deployed and tried can serve as an expert system and guide to implementing best business practices in the company. However, there is usually a certain level of unique requirements that a company needs the system to accommodate as well.
The goal is to achieve the right balance between implementing a proven system that adds business value to an organization’s current processes while also having the flexibility to configure the system based on the organization’s specific requirements. Hence, the need for business systems to be adaptable.
While companies should implement one ERP suite of fully integrated systems, there may be other systems in the organization provided by different vendors. In addition, businesses don’t operate in isolation. They interact with all types of organizations on a daily basis: from partners and customers to government agencies and more. Business operations extend beyond organizational boundaries. Hence, the need for software systems to interoperate with other, internal and external, systems.
Business process interoperability (BPI) is a property referring to the ability of diverse business processes to work together, to so called "inter-operate".
Business applications need to operate and interconnect with one another to exchange data and share relevant information. For instance, a financial system needs to exchange data with systems in other departments such as payroll or sales. In addition, companies’ internal systems need to have the ability to exchange information with 3rd party software of vendors, customers, or government entities. That is why it is crucial to implement an ERP suite of fully integrated systems that can also easily integrate with 3rd party systems, i.e. systems provided by other software vendors.
ESKADENIA’s ERP is an example of a full ERP software suite that is comprehensive, adaptable and interoperable, for more details, check out ESKA Business Manager.