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Be more responsive: Improve information-sharing and access to critical data

Craig Charlton, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific Operations, Epicor | Jan. 12, 2016
How can an organisation best use IT for productivity gains and to increase responsiveness? The answer lies in the need for modernisation, enterprise mobility and social collaboration.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Most organisations use technology to manage some aspects of their supply chain, yet recent research into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software usage has uncovered an unfortunate ERP Usage Gap. A second research study tells us that, surprisingly, 46 percent of APAC CFOs rely on "gut-feel" and instinct to make business decisions even though the organisations collect relevant data. Those managing the process side of the business are not using their technology resources to their full potential and CFOs are saying they just don't have access to the accurate, real-time data they need for vital decision-making.

ERP technologies provide critical insight into business processes and operations and the majority of organisations with more than twenty staff are using ERP, but 66 percent of CIOs believe their organisations are using less than half of the features of these systems. That's the ERP Gap. On the finance side, more than one-third of CFOs surveyed say the financial IT system they currently use needs updating and 33 percent believe that new or more advanced financial systems investment will deliver the greatest positive impact on their finance and accounting functions over the next two to three years.

Without access to critical data and without making the most of modernised business management functionality, businesses, manufacturers and distributors are not able to be as responsive as they could to changes, demands and opportunities in the market and in their supply chain. Organisations must be more than simply adaptable; responsiveness is about being fit and fast - able to adapt more quickly and flexibly.

CFOs have identified they are still using standalone spread sheets for data sharing at an alarming rate (67 percent of all APAC CFOs), when the information collection, monitoring, sharing and analysis technology exists to do this in a more integrated an effective manner.

Due to factors hampering ERP feature use and a need for more modern technology and information sharing, APAC businesses are limiting their ability to react to day-to-day requirements and changes in operations and business strategy based on real-time, accurate data and analysis.

What is hampering ERP usage?

CIOs identified a range of factors that can prevent ERP from being used to its full potential, including:

  • Inflexible features that are not easy to modify
  • A high level of complexity
  • Poor integration with other applications
  • Poor user interfaces
  • Overall misalignment with business processes.

Modern ERP solutions must ensure they address these issues, and organisations must be sure to seek one that does.

Modernise ERP? What does that mean?

There is an obvious opportunity to realise greater business benefits from ERP software by increasing usage of its features and functionality by staff for most or all of their duties and integrating it with technology. But it is not just about increasing productivity through process automation rather than having people using siloed tools like spread sheets. Today's organisations need to look for the kind of modern functionality and features that will encourage people to make the most use of the technology: mobility, social collaboration tools, touch-screen technology, an interface that is intuitive and makes sense to your employees, and the flexibility to customise.

 

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