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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Challenges to Implementation of Retail ERP Software Solutions

Retail ERP software solutions can drastically enhance the set of business processes an enterprise applies in its day to day activities; although implementation of ERP systems usually force corporations to reassess current business practices and introduce various changes. A reputable ERP software company would always suggest taking into account all challenges to established corporate practices that the deployment of an ERP solution might bring and offering a solution that is either customised or configured to meet the particular needs of an organisation.

ERP software offer unrivalled advantages to businesses, but small and medium enterprises (SME) face certain challenges in deploying software solutions that are extremely complex in nature. Thus, it should be implemented only after proper due diligence and detailed review of all pros and cons enterprise resource planning software would introduce within an organisation.

Retail ERP providers (Indonesia) have proven record of accomplishment in the sphere of implementing ERP systems for regional specifics, forced to be very flexible and well prepared to meet demands and requirements of corporate customers, that would like to take advantage of a fully functional ERP solution while often working within a tight budget.

The main challenge to SMEs that intend to implement ERP solutions lies with changing existing business processes and procedures, although most ERP systems feature built-in best industry practices functionality. A company should be aware that introducing best practices is not always advantageous because it might prove inappropriate in particular scenarios, where a different approach to optimisation of business processes is required. Modernising overall business process is usually beneficial in the long run, but a thorough analysis on current and projected effectiveness of each and every process must be conducted to achieve best results.

Typically, SMBs utilise a kind of automated solution to run their business, therefore benefits of implementing new ERP solutions should be gauged against current software options, taking into account possible non-interoperability between two conflicting software solutions. Implementation of ERP systems should be conducted according to a carefully designed strategy that fits both business and IT needs of an enterprise.

At present, even relatively small companies tend to decentralise their everyday management activities and decision making process due to shifts in overall corporate culture forced by globalisation and growing pressure to introduce more flexible management styles. Thus, data migration within a more decentralised enterprise poses challenges when ERP implementation is on the horizon and may require further customisation of the software. As mentioned beforehand, retail ERP providers (Indonesia) are able to overcome these difficulties by offering both tailored and ready to use solutions that can be configured easily, while not sacrificing functionality of the software.

Properly configuring an ERP solution, which is an essential part of the overall implementation process, is a challenge per se because a vast number of changeable parameters have to be set for the ERP system to work by the book. SMEs can boast simpler organisational structures compared with large multinational corporations, allowing an ERP solution vendor to configure all required options and parameters of the system faster, which greatly reduces time-frame for implementation. Actually, implementation period can take months within an average SME thus flawless transition to ERP systems is crucial and depends to a great extent on proper configuration of the software.

Recently, some ERP software vendors offer considerably shorter implementation time by providing software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that are web-based systems hosted on third-party servers and accessible via Internet connection. Such retail ERP software solutions can be a safe bet for small businesses for which the main challenge in implementing ERP systems is to secure the funds required to purchase the necessary hardware and software licence.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Fundamental Advantages of ERP Solutions in Indonesia

In the past two decades, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems emerged as a powerful tool to manage a successful business with a growing number of enterprises looking for cheaper yet reliable and fully functional products offered by vendors developing ERP software solutions in Indonesia and other countries in the region. Indonesia’s proximity to large Asian markets like India, China, and Singapore makes the country an ideal place for foreign companies to enter in the early stages of a planned expansion in Asia. Additionally, the country produces well-educated software specialists who are familiar with local market specifics and can provide a tailored or customised ERP solution that a large multinational ERP software company can hardly offer at the same price level.

ERP system implementation brings various benefits with some fundamental advantages coming to life immediately after implementation, while others start to payback in long-term. An enterprise that plans to deploy an ERP solution apparently operates through a variety of business processes that a good ERP system is able to integrate, saving time, labour resources, and reducing overalls costs of running the business. Business processes integration allows corporate executives to take strategic decisions faster and assess data more precisely across the organisation, while executives at lower managerial levels are enabled to follow day-to-day business operations easier and communicate daily tasks in a more appropriate fashion.

Configuring ERP systems to work according to customer requirements is not an issue for a reputable ERP software company; however, customising ERP systems can be a procedure that is far more complicated and potentially troubling and can annihilate all advantages offered by ERP software. In fact, ERP systems are entirely based on wide accepted industry best practices but configuration options cannot cover the full range of requirements a particular business may have. Therefore, ERP implementation often includes either re-modelling of existing business processes to comply with built-in functionality of the ERP system or customisation of the software by re-development of particular software modules that were originally intended to be implemented “as is”. Such rewiring of the software and addition of new functionality can cost dear, so precise due diligence and thorough assessment of corporate needs, business processes should be conducted along with detailed market research on available ERP solutions.

Business data centralisation provided by ERP systems is another fundamental advantage widely acknowledged by corporate managers worldwide. A small sized business can afford to run successfully its everyday activities using a good selection of business applications that cover different business processes. Medium and large businesses definitely require centralisation of business data across multiple platforms and applications to save time, costs and boost efficiency. ERP systems are able to provide consolidation of data on core business processes like accounting and finance, sales and marketing, manufacturing, human resources, etc. Thus, ERP systems consolidate a variety of software applications that usually run as separate systems in different departments.

The ERP software operates in real time, providing additional advantages to top executive and managers alike. Ability to operate in real time is taken for granted by majority of modern-day customers who are not aware that not all advanced business applications are able to perform in real time and provide extended functionality like real-time order tracking, for instance. Bearing in mind that a typical ERP solution supports all applications within a corporate system, with all of them using a common database, operating in real time and providing forecasting functionality is not an easy task to put into operation even by today’s IT standards.

Initially, ERP systems started as software applications (or modules) addressing the needs of accounting and financial enterprise departments, gradually expanding to human resource and maintenance and support. Later on, vendors relatively quickly managed to address all core business processes and functions of corporations with rapid development of Internet communications accelerating the speed of integration of modules like customer relationship management (CRM) and supplier relationship management (SRM) due to introduction of standard protocols for data communication over the Internet and ability to transfer fast large volumes of data. As a result, contemporary ERP systems offer also fundamental advantages they inherited from business applications that vendors developed and shipped in the pre-online world.
In the early 1990s, few vendors were able to deliver a reliable yet affordable ERP solution to end-customers. A decade later, the market for ERP systems is more diversified in terms of vendors, their geographic location and the overall cost of solutions available. ERP systems are neither cheap nor easy-to-implement enterprise software solutions due to the complexity of business processes they address. A typical ERP solution may require over a year to be fully implemented, including proper training of all employees involved in the process.

Thus, selecting a vendor emerges as a crucial element of the overall ERP implementation procedure. Fortunately, a globalising world offers more options to enterprises that wish to take advantage of all benefits offered by ERP systems at affordable price. ERP vendors in Asia have many competitive advantages over rivals in other parts of the world with vendors providing ERP software solutions in Indonesia being in a particularly advantageous position to offer reliable solutions both locally and to international customers.