Businesses in the process of an ERP implementation and those using a completely developed system need to focus on horizontal and lateral communication to get the most out of the programs.

Picking the appropriate software for a company's needs is an extremely important component of the process, as is ensuring the open, honest and proactive sharing of information between employees in different departments and of different levels of responsibility.

Researcher Supply Chain Insights recently presented some statistics about companies working with business partners using ERP. One significant finding was that while 97 percent of organization surveyed put a priority on having an agile supply chain, just 37 percent are actualizing their desires and meeting goals.

Interactions inside of and between companies
Supply Chain Insights' study focused on the inter-company interactions that are hampered by a lack of configurable and sharable ERP processes, along with deficiencies in understanding and communication between executives and IT departments.

While the problems of increasing visibility for the supply chain between organizations is much more difficult than using ERP to enhance internal accounting and data access, the concept of communication issues is one that can apply on many levels. Businesses using the same ERP software, especially a modular solution like Microsoft Dynamics NAV, may be able to normalize processes by using the same modules when tracking supply chains and associated concepts.

However, this situation is unlikely unless effective communication strategies are in place inside of companies and with business partners. Just as there should be certain employees in charge of guiding ERP implementation, development and continuing use inside of a company, business partners with strong relationships should collaborate to solve supply chain visibility issues by standardizing various practices. This action may be significantly easier when a common ERP provider is used.

Aberdeen Group's research into the utilization and effectiveness of these software platforms determined that the best strategy using ERP is to plan for the use of the programs after initial development, good advice for individual businesses as well as companies working together to develop extended supply chain efficiencies. By including both top-level executives who have strong understandings of overall business practices and IT professionals with exceptional understanding of the technical aspects of software, more effective solutions may be reached.

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