Choice and flexibility are now the paramount for businesses regardless of their size and type of operation.
The recent State of Industry Report released by AFGC shows that consumers want choice. We want options when it comes to all aspects of our lives, from the cereal we eat to the cars we drive.
Every business possesses a unique persona and in itself can be considered a consumer with preferences on how to achieve tactical and strategic goals, some of which, are reliant on specific business systems or technologies. In other words, the needs of business inform the deployment of technology at a pace that makes sense for its sustainable growth.
An ERP system is an integral part of operations, but your requirements of this system would be different whether you are operating a tin can factory in Toronto or manufacturing stereo equipment in Sydney. This means that a one size fits all approach won’t take into consideration the industry nuances at play, nor embrace the individuality of your business which ultimately enables your competitive edge.
The reality is the choices you make right now will affect your competitive advantage and your ability to remain relevant in a rapidly-changing business environment. The aspect of choice should be extended to the selection of elements that make-up the solution whilst also addressing your immediate business priorities as well as offer the potential to extend the solution in with your business development and longer-term strategy.
Although cost remains an important aspect of choosing a new business management system the desire to self-navigate the technology deployment decision journey is gaining momentum with the relevant decision makers in the business. Ultimately the flexibility of your ERP solution should allow you to implement the solution at an adoption rate that the business is comfortable with and at a rate that is in line with your cash flow.
To this end, an appropriate ERP system should offer you options when it comes to how you prefer to commercialise its use. At the bare minimum this should include choice on when you pay; either upfront or ongoing, whether you want to lease, rent or own your licenses, and the choice of how you administer the solution and deploy its licensing. All of these elements have an effect on price and you should be able to choose how to structure this in line with your growth projections.
The next consideration is whether you have the choice as to how you deploy your solution?
Depending on your requirements you should be able to choose whether your ERP solution is deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or both. This is important in today’s globalized market and the big differentiator is not only in selecting an ERP provider that offers that choice but also offers the flexibility to change that decision at a later stage.
Another major consideration relates to whether your ERP system offers choice on how different personas within your business engage with the solution. Studies have shown that an engaged workforce, provided with the right systems and tools, increased productivity. One must acknowledge that there are possibly four different generational cohorts within your organisation at any given point. It is, therefore, a gamechanger to partner with an ERP provider that offers you the choice on the preferred engagement interface for each user’s role and personal preference.
Lastly, it is important to plan for the future of your business. New technologies are disrupting the status quo and digitalization is opening the door to infinite possibilities – with profound implications as to the way companies will do business going forward. It is, therefore, becoming increasingly important to ensure that businesses make the right choices regarding their transition to digital by leveraging new methods that add to their competitive advantage.
Research shows that we are in the midst of the next manufacturing revolution and yet we find many manufacturers still on the sidelines of this revolution struggling to make sense of the shifting landscape. These businesses may need an ERP provider that embraces key emerging technologies, recognizing the importance of keeping ahead of modern architectures and technologies, but that is also critically focused on offering real and practical solutions. It is important to take advantage of emerging technologies where it makes sense to do so, without disrupting your business in the process, and to choose solutions that will solve old, recurring problems as well as new ones.
By embracing new, exponential technologies, such as machine learning, A.I., and Digital Citizens, and by implementing a future-fit ERP solution that allows for their incorporation, organizations can make the digitalization process easier, and open the door to greater efficiencies and growth.
Choice and flexibility are now the paramount for businesses regardless of their size and type of operation. With the right ERP partner, you can safely invest in this technology knowing you are in good hands for many years to come.