What does ERP stand for? 

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning- a solution that helps integrate and manage an organisation’s core business processes, both financial and non-financial, through one system. 

What is ERP? 

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a type of business software that allows organisations to capture and centralise important business data from various functions, including finance, human resources, procurement and supply chain.  

What are the benefits of having an ERP solution? 

From operational efficiencies to cost savings, there are many advantages to adopting an ERP solution. Below we highlight some of the key benefits. 

Streamlined business processes – ERP systems enable businesses to automate repetitive, high-volume tasks such as payroll, invoicing and order processing. This reduces the need for manual intervention by staff, streamlining tasks and saving time for value-adding activities. Not only that, but the risk of input error is reduced substantially. 

Improved data quality – As ERP provides a central database for core business data, there is no contradictory information surrounding business processes or financials, as a company has when using disparate systems. Having this single source of truth eliminates problems like data silos and minimises errors that might arise from contradictory or duplicate data. 

Agility – ERP provides real-time reporting and analytics capabilities that ensure managers are always equipped with the most up-to-date information they need to make faster and better-informed decisions. This means businesses can react to market changes or new trends as soon as possible, helping them to remain both agile and competitive. 

Scalability – ERP systems are designed to scale in line with your business needs. As the organisation grows, additional modules or functionality can be easily added to support more complex business processes. 

Security – Cloud-based ERP systems are highly secure as they are often updated automatically to ensure the highest levels of security. Further, you can secure your ERP system with multi-factor authentication and encryption capabilities to protect critical business information. 

Who can use an ERP? 

While the specific ERP features or modules required by an organisation vary depending on industry and business size, ERP solutions are versatile and customisable, enabling their use across a wide range of industries and organisations from SMEs to large enterprises. In fact, the introduction of cloud ERP as a SaaS solution has made the software more accessible to small companies, having eliminated the need for a large up-front investment and replaced it with a monthly subscription cost. Ultimately, any size organisation that wants centralised data, integrated business processes and to benefit from task automation can use an ERP system. 

How does ERP help inventory management? 

ERP systems can provide real-time information about inventory levels, orders and stock movements, helping to locate, track and manage inventory at any given time. Further, ERP software can provide clear insight into stock levels, and sales data and trends, which also allows you to improve stock management and more accurately forecast future inventory needs. 

What is the Difference between ERP and CRM? 

ERP refers to software that provides a holistic view of core business processes across different departments within an organisation, while CRM (customer relationship management) software focuses mainly on managing interactions with customers. While ERP is used by employees across various functions such as finance or human resources, CRM systems are mainly used by employees in customer-facing roles, such as salespeople, customer service agents or even marketers. ERP systems are designed to centralise core business data and automate internal processes like invoicing, whereas CRM systems help with sales, marketing and customer service-based processes. CRM platforms like Dynamics 365 provide a central database for customer profiles and history, allowing users to better understand the preferences of their customers so that they can personalise interactions and target them more effectively. 

How do ERP and CRM work together? 

While ERP and CRM systems serve different purposes, when integrated together they can enhance business processes even further. Integrating both systems ensures that customer-related data from the CRM system is shared seamlessly with the ERP system and vice versa. This is important as it facilitates further automation. For example, when a sales order is generated in the CRM system, the ERP system can be automatically triggered to fulfil the order, reducing the risk of human error and streamlining the order process, which leads to faster dispatch and shorter wait times for customers. 

How to choose an ERP system 

Choosing an ERP system is an important decision that requires a thorough evaluation of software and vendors to ensure there is alignment with your organisations strategic goals and operational needs. Below are some key things to consider when choosing the right ERP solution for your organisation. 

Assess current and future needs – It's important to understand the specific needs and requirements of your organisation. Consider factors such as the size of the organisation, industry-specific needs and future expansion. These will likely affect what functionality you require from your ERP system. 

Scalability – Choose an ERP system that can scale in line with your business’ needs. Find out whether the solution can accommodate additional users, modules and functionality as your business grows. 

User-friendliness – To reduce the amount of time required to train staff on how to use the new system and to maximise user adoption, you need to choose a user-friendly system. Your organisation won’t see much benefit in integrating an ERP solution if the platform is too complex and staff cannot use it correctly.  

Integration capabilities – Check if the ERP solution can be integrated with other systems currently used by the organisation, such as its CRM. Seamless integration with other systems will ensure your organisation is maximising the benefits of its ERP system. 

Security – Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when looking at ERP solutions is security features. Does the ERP get updated regularly to ensure you have the latest security features and defenses? Does the system have advanced security features like multi-factor authentication and data encryption? Perhaps consider whether the integration of Microsoft security tools like Entra ID (formerly Azure AD) is supported. 

At Storm Technology, we have both the expertise and the experience needed to help your organisation successfully adopt an ERP system and ensure you get the most out of the solution. To learn more about ERP, contact one of our experts today.