Enterprise resource planning software is now far more valuable to businesses than it once was. Kamal Ramsingh, technology leader at Deloitte Africa and Bill Allison, global technology leader at Deloitte, said on ITWeb that ERP has become more controllable, predictable and reliable with more immediate benefits at a lesser cost. More functionality in programs such as Dynamics NAV have meant more flexibility for CIOs trying to do more with less.

"What has also helped this process is the fact that dramatic business benefits from ERP, which traditionally could have taken years to reflect, are more tangible much sooner and, therefore, are more easily justifiable," Allison and Ramsingh wrote. "Competitive pressure is also driving ERP adoption, as companies have to stay at the forefront of their peer group. If they fall too far behind, the ability to remain competitive becomes strained and the bottom line gets negatively impacted."

With a better understanding of what customers want, where business benefits are and improvements to technology, Ramsingh and Allison said organizations can quickly make decisions and more readily adapt to changing environments. Businesses are leading this technology to help them become more competitive.

Not only can big enterprises see the benefits from ERP and other similar software, but small companies can now afford these systems and can get sophisticated solutions far more quickly than in previous years.

What to consider when adopting ERP
Software professional Glenn Wirick told Enterprise Apps Today that there are a few primary points to consider about ERP, including thinking about who the users are, never assuming any bundled package will meet the needs of the company without proper research, finding a solution that gives real time reporting and delivering a tool to employees that isn't too tech-forward.

"A common reason for low user adoption of reporting tools is complexity and poor usability of an otherwise capable product," he told the website. "Reporting is for business users. Make sure you deliver a solution focused on ease-of-use and business empowerment. Again, make sure your users work with the solution during a trial, before a purchase."

The best value organizations will get from ERP, Wirick said, is combining data from multiple sources and information available in real time. This will allow users to get the answers to questions they have immediately and not having to spend hours waiting.

Randy Copperman, vice president of support services at Channel Technologies Group, said on Manufacturing.net that companies must be sure they are planning for a business change instead of just new technology when adopting an ERP program. Not only must there be a vision for what will come from the adoption of this software, but the businesses must have the right tool for the job they need completed and the correct people to get it done.

ERP isn't unlike any other software, Copperman said, as businesses must plan for the changes that will occur before it is implemented. Not doing so will likely make the software much less effective than it otherwise would be.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.