With more than 25 years in working with accounting software and ERP solutions such as Sage 100 ERP (formerly known as Sage ERP MAS 90 and Sage ERP MAS 200 software), we have recognized a trend in some of the most common limitations experienced by those using older business systems. While at face value, the decision to put off investing in newer technology may seem to produce a cost savings, many find that once they make the move to a more scalable solution, that they were actually losing productivity in three major areas.
1. Internal Collaboration
The comments we receive the most when it comes to discussing the weaknesses of older ERP systems have to do with the lack of collaborative (or social networking-style) communication features. Companies working on older systems report that they feel productivity is reduced when data cannot be shared across all sectors of their business. For example, when customer service addresses an issue for a recurring client, do the sales people who directly serve that client have easy access to the issue and resolution?
While most ERP applications throughout the ages have assisted companies in improving efficiency and inventory control, the concept of organization-wide internal communication features is a newer benefit that promises to take business productivity to an even higher level. With most employees familiar with social networking-style communication, businesses are well positioned to take advantage of this skill for the benefit of the company. Built-in communication features in newer ERP systems allow your staff members to collaborate with co-workers and managers regarding issues and ideas pertaining to: customers, processes, challenges, tasks, reporting and more. When internal communication is improved, operational costs are inherently reduced.
2. Decision Making
While older ERP systems have many benefits, they require a large amount of unnecessary manual report building which slows the decision making process. In the last several years, ERP technology has been updated to provide much more comprehensive real-time data access allowing managers and CEO’s to quickly find the types of information they need to make the right decisions for the benefit of the organization.
Some of the features one will find in more up to date systems include easy to use inquiry and analysis applications as well as Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards which can be customized to reflect the kinds of data you deem most important. Not only can you choose which items appear on the dashboard, but you can configure it to show as much or little detail as is necessary. With the functionality gained through up-to-date BI features, clients have been thrilled with more powerful data-access and streamlined reporting which allows them to make faster, and more reliable business decisions.
3. Unnecessary Complexities Holding Back Productivity
No two companies are alike. Each of them has their own goals, standards and more importantly – business processes. When many of our clients first came to us, they were struggling with the complexity of their older ERP and Accounting systems. While some were using startup applications with reduced overall functionality, others were struggling with more complex systems that were unable to bend to match their unique business process. From processing data outside the system in external applications, using installed workarounds, or instituting a more difficult and less efficient business process – they were all unhappy with the level of efficiency and ease-of-use of their software products. Not only were upgrades difficult, but worse yet, productivity and data accuracy had been sacrificed along the way.
The good news is that the newer technologies are being created by some of the top ERP software companies with a much greater level of flexibility. From user friendly designs and intuitive interfaces to numerous customizable options, you will have the tools you need to enhance workflow and increase organization-wide efficiency over the long-term.
If your organization has been struggling in one or more of the areas we mentioned, please contact us. We would be happy to provide you with a consultation to see if a more scalable solution like Sage 100 ERP or Sage 100 ERP online might be a better fit to assist your organization in streamlining productivity and improving efficiencies.