The business world is undergoing seismic shifts. Every industry and every occupation is changing in some way. Over the past year, we’ve helped businesses adapt to their new situations, whether it be rapid growth and new sales channels, a disruption in supply chain, or the need to better track financial positions. Thankfully, emerging technology has made the transition quickly achievable.
Top 4 business trends we’ve seen
- Working remote. This trend was propelled forward thanks to the pandemic, but the demand for anytime, anywhere access to business software has been underway for some time.
- Selling online. eCommerce has been well established for B2C businesses but experienced tremendous growth over the past year. B2B companies have also seen the value in doing more online. Some companies have had to add more product photos and descriptions online. Others have converted company websites from just providing product information into sales channels. This shift has increased the need for greater integration with other business systems.
- Inventory challenges. From shortages to sudden drops in demand, businesses have seen it all lately. The challenge has been to maintain proper inventory levels while staying profitable.
- Financial disruption. Many businesses have had cash flow issues over the past year due to changes in inventory levels, supply chain disruptions, and customers in financial distress. This turbulence has increased the need for real-time financial data and the ability for scenario forecasting.
All these situations intensify the demand for agile business software that can quickly enable new functionality while maintaining control of inventory and financial data.
How can ERP support and automate for greater profitability?
Fortunately, the technology needed to thrive in difficult situations is available, even if most companies don’t fully implement it. Many of our customers added on new functionality or switched to newer business software in order to meet new revenue opportunities or improve profitability. Here are 5 of the top benefits they achieved.
1. Cloud ERP increases agility and flexibility
Operating in the cloud has never been more important. We’ve found that Acumatica Cloud ERP is agile, helping our clients adapt quickly to changing environments. Cloud ERP provides that anytime, anywhere access that businesses need in order to support a remote work environment.
With cloud ERP, companies are able to scale up or down as needed as users and transactions increase or decrease. New functionality, like eCommerce, can be quickly added to the core system without having to spend money on unwanted functionality. Extra features, like the ability to upload product photos directly to Acumatica, has made it easy for our customers to switch to new operating paradigms.
2. ERP automation and integration lowers costs
ERP systems have the potential to change the infostructure of companies. First, ERP systems automate work that is done by multiple people. For example, a data entry clerk may no longer need to type copious amounts of data into spreadsheets to prepare reports. Such reports run automatically from the ERP system. Data silos, which create rigid, invisible barriers between departments, are wiped away by the easy access to data in an ERP system.
ERP systems like Acumatica have API connections that make it easier to integrate with third-party applications, such as payment processing, inventory tracking, and more. Automated integration allows data to flow between systems accurately without the need for manual processing. This process automation saves time and lowers operating costs.
3. Inventory control systems improve profitability
Good inventory management can lead to greater customer satisfaction, cost savings, and higher profits. At the distribution center, barcode systems increase the flow of products while lowering the human workload and eliminating bottlenecks. They also improve the accuracy of inventory counts.
When supply and demand are unpredictable, an inventory control system integrated with the ERP system is critical. Real-time, accurate stock levels are needed in order to react quickly to changes in demand and buying habits. ERP integration enables data from your warehouse and distribution center to flow without interruption. This is ideal for companies who have added sales channels such as eCommerce and need to share inventory levels, product descriptions, and customer data.
4. Business intelligence enables improved decision-making
Data isn’t much use if you can’t interpret and use it. More companies are using business intelligence as part of their operations to improve decision-making. Business intelligence provides advanced reporting and dashboards that can be customized to each individual’s needs. The marriage of ERP and BI offers the best option for companies that rely heavily on data for planning and forecasting. Advanced “what if” scenarios can be developed to help improve cash flow and manage receivables and payables.
5. Cloud ERP increases cybersecurity
As more business is moved online, companies are rightly concerned about the safety of their important systems and data. Over the past year, we have seen that cyberattacks are getting much more sophisticated. Some have launched new software aimed at finding vulnerabilities in websites. Still others have found devious methods of issuing ransomware and stealing credentials to access systems.
Businesses need to balance the needs for secure financial data with easy cloud access to ensure secure yet convenient services. Many companies have turned to hosted cloud ERP in order to attain the advanced security available to them. Often, cloud systems offer better security than on-premises systems. Secure physical spaces, expert personnel to manage digital security, reliable access to systems, and continuity of data are just four great reasons why the cloud offers a great alternative to on-premises ERP.
The more you know, the faster you can react
The more you understand about new technologies, the more you can utilize them to improve your work. Although change can be uncomfortable, the more you know about the changes taking place throughout the industry, the better you’ll be positioned to take advantage of them. Making the switch to new technology or adding functionality to your current systems can make sense even in times of uncertainty.