Enterprise resource planning software has grown from a static, monolithic solution run only on internal servers to offering a number of different paths to implementation and use.
There are more options available than before for companies that want to tailor their ERP platform to their specific and often unique combination of needs. This software previously involved implementation of an system that was either generically designed, resulting in less-than-optimal functionality, or completely structured from beginning to end, leading to high costs and long lead times until use could begin. While these versions of ERP still provided significant business benefits to their users, there was room for more responsive and useful software to be in place.
Modular ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows for greater flexibility and better meets the requirements of manufacturers and fabricators, businesses that have a wide variety of needs spread across the production, storage, sales, marketing and financial aspects of their overall operations. By selecting individual components to work along with a strong ERP backbone structure, companies can better participate in the selection and implementation processes and craft a unique solution that targets specific concerns.
Another aspect of flexibility that businesses should consider is the application of mobile technology to their ERP efforts. As Fierce CIO points out, the cloud is currently a hot topic for companies using software to manage various components of its operations. ERP that uses cloud storage for some or all applications can help improve speed of access and allow employees to work remotely, whether they're telecommuting or on the road, or even at a separate facility owned by the same organization. Additionally, having an on-site application like a mobile warehouse management solution in place can be a major driver for improving efficiency.
Sharing timely information
Research from Aberdeen Group shows that a common motivator for companies to implement or upgrade an ERP system is delays in the timely sharing of data. This problem can become especially bothersome when businesses have many locations separated by long distances. Traditional ERP systems may be of limited usefulness in this situation, as the capability to share information is limited. Companies that want to have added flexibility in place should consider using a modular system they can configure during initial implementation and add on to as their operational situations change and grow.