A common struggle companies often have is integrating their ERP systems with other existing enterprise applications to meet growing business demands. Although ERP systems are made of complex frameworks, the most important thing to keep in mind about them are: that they are built on a comprehensive database for the sole purpose of sharing information across an organization or enterprise.
An integrated ERP system simply means that the ERP is programmed to optimize business processes by interconnecting a company’s business applications. Integrating ERP systems to outside applications are essentially just joining functions within departments of an organization to make business processes go more smoothly. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?
The benefits that an integrated ERP system can bring to an organization are almost too compelling to ignore. Not only do they increase accessibility and reliability in an organization’s data, they also reduce redundant tasks, improve the speed of data exchange, provide real-time information for informed and accurate decision-making, and they help organizations to discover previously unseen process strengths and weaknesses.
The most important benefit of an integrated ERP system is the fact that important and crucial business processes are streamlined to help create an efficient workflow between departments and functionalities.
The basic ERP integration tools that are a part of an ERP system include:
- Accounting and Financial: audits, cash flow planning, reporting and payroll
- HR: employee training, payroll and time management
- Supply Chain Management (SCM): inventory control. routing and warehouse management
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): contact information and social media management
- Project Management (PM): scheduling and task management
These tools reduce costs and are able to promote better risk management for organizations. At the very core of every ERP solution, these strategic tools are included.
To meet the needs of scalability and business growing demands, other business applications are able be integrated into your ERP system, like information/workflow management tools. These are the tools that establish workflow across different departments and functions within an organization. Think of a workflow as the mind sending signals to other parts of the body in order for it to carry out functions. Without information/workflow management tools, the ERP system is sure to fail.
Reporting and dashboard tools are other important integration modules. These are in charge of managing report generation from a management, department and team level. Reporting tools are usually available in dashboard forms, that provide important information such as: real-time data like orders received and/or shipping, or payment information. The good thing about these tools are that they can be customized. If you prefer them to be in word format you can create them like so. Same goes for spreadsheet format.
Analytical tools can be easily integrated into an ERP system as well. These are important for business intelligence and predictive analysis. These tools are used to gather important insights so that well-informed decisions can be made with relevant available data.
Communication is a must within any system working across multiple departments. This is why communication tools make it as a top integration tool within ERP systems. By offering tools for action based automated chainmail generation, instant messages or chat features, everyone in the organization is up-to-date with the current happenings in the organization so there is no lag in operations.
Looking for more? Download our ERP Buyer’s Guide for free to compare the top 24 ERP software vendors head to head! The guide also includes 4 key capabilities to consider while selecting a new ERP solution and 10 questions to ask yourself and the software vendor before purchasing.
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