Customizing ERPs: Learning from iterations

Business management and ERPs come in the same breath as an industry-standard in companies of all scales and sizes. An ERP makes it easy for the organization to automate and manage a significant chunk of its business processes, from accounting, project, and risk management to compliance and resource management. A custom ERP solves multiple issues simultaneously: reduces costs, improves efficiency, and helps you make better business decisions by providing a single system for managing operations.

The only way to know how you want to customize your ERP is by following a blueprint. Read along as we discover opportunities and learn more about how to customize your ERP system sustainably.

Formulate and set your expectations

Involving only the decision makers and the developers while integrating an ERP will solve issues that only they face. Involving the employees who will use the tool daily is integral in getting feedback on how they want it to be and helps you reach the objectives better.

  1. Identifying the process to integrate: The ERP will support different parts of the process but creating a road plan for each operation will make your life easier.
  2. Determine the goals and objectives: Create an expectation ROI plan on when the integration will show results and reduce the operational overhead.
  3. Implement with intent: Outline the steps and timeline along with how your team adjusts to the system at hand, and identify the problem it solves.
  4. Communicate for feedback: Learn from the first impressions on how your teams think of the product and take the feedback necessary to improve the usability.

Choose the suitable ERP to customize

Follow the three-word rule when selecting which ERP you want to develop for your business: Evaluate- Consider- Test. Research and compare different ERP systems against one another to find which will require minor customization and which is the most customizable to meet your specific needs.

  1. Evaluate the ERP system and the vendor you choose: The vendor’s experience, expertise in handling edge cases, and track record of development and customization projects.
  2. Consider a systematic approach to building customizations into your ERP. Understand the process that the vendors ensure you have a smooth and efficient integration with your business operations.
  3. Test the ERP system and ensure it covers most of the organization’s needs and requirements. Engage in a pilot program or a trial version to test the system before deciding on the right fit.

When does an ERP fail?

Improper planning and hurried execution can cause many issues aligning expectations with the possible outcomes. This can quickly spiral out of control, cause delays, increase costs, and create a lack of user acceptance within your organization. The following are three reasons ERP integrations fail:

  1. Insufficient inputs from the stakeholders: If employees and management are not on the same page while creating a requirement document for ERPs, the goals and objectives are easily missed. When adopting a new system, you should take all the information and feedback to build a product from the ground up.
  2. Complex and inflexible system: Without making an ERP easy to use, you’ll complicate the user journey and make it hard for them to adapt. Meet their specific needs to solve a problem instead of creating one that doesn’t exist.
  3. Lack of domain knowledge: When customizing an ERP, partner with a vendor that has a history of providing high-value solutions and understands the domain you’re coming from.

ERP Functionality: Why customizing ERP is important

Tailoring a system to the business’s unique needs is critical in supporting and automating the processes that can revitalize your teams to be more productive. A custom ERP can:

Customization of an ERP for business needs

A custom ERP’s primary objective is to configure the system to meet the business’s specific needs and align the product towards the organization’s goals. It may involve orientation towards particular processes and functions and integrating other systems before adding custom features.

Finding the right balance of customization: ERPs, Context, and Growth

Integrating with other applications like CRM to provide users with a seamless experience comes with adding custom functionality like a reporting module or a commission management system. After understanding the industry where the system will be used and operated, break down the process of finding balance into three parts:

ERPs: Provide the ability to support critical processes and functions that contribute to the organization’s operations. The customization should be scalable, flexible, and customizable.

Context: Build a tool to support the broader context of the organization’s overall business strategy and goals and align with the organization’s mission and vision. Customization should support growth and promote competitive advantage.

Growth: Design and implement growth strategies within the ERP to ensure it can scale and adapt to meet evolving needs of the organization to provide necessary tools.

Customizations, design, and technicalities

Strike the right balance between the three aspects of the ERP by thoroughly understanding the needs and goals of the organizations:

Wireframe for the future and visibility

When charting your goals, you should also plan how to achieve them. Through wireframing, create a visualization of how it can be helpful in planning and designing future visibility. Concise views of capabilities and potential come from understanding the structure into which the ERP is being implemented. The following is a process you can consider:

Sage 300 Commission Manager

Sage 300 CM is a software solution for managing and automating commission and incentive programs within the system. It provides various tools that help create, track and disperse commissions to all stakeholders. The seamless integration with CRMs and accounting software that CM allows for tracking payouts for employees, partners, and other stakeholders.

Incentives and collaboration

Automatically calculate commission from a definition of what the business considers a profitable transaction and then uses that to calculate the payouts. It helps reduce operational overhead and ensures that the payouts are accurate, reliable, and consistent.

Reporting and analysis

Commission Manager provides a range of reporting and analysis tools that help organizations understand and optimize their payouts to the performance of the individuals. The software can generate reports on individual performance, team performance, and sales channels that help the team identify opportunities for improvement.

Why CI Global?

As pioneers in the software development field and the architects of Sage 300 Commission Manager, CIG is always at the forefront of innovation and execution. As an auxiliary to your team, we bring experience and expertise that boosts productivity and shortens delivery timelines. Click here to learn more.

How is predictive analysis the future of Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence and Data Analytics for ERP

In the age and time of data-dictated rules, business intelligence comprises procedures and infrastructure for collecting, storing, and analyzing the data produced by a company’s systems. It includes data mining, visualization, performance tracking, and descriptive analytics of the plans until that point in time. Predictive analytics is a branch of data analytics that estimates the scope of the future and utilizes data modeling and statistical algorithms to determine future outcomes.

Creating a structure for raw data

Data is scattered and unstructured when derived from the systems because it comes from different sources. By an ETL(Extract, Transform and Load) protocol, you can work on the part of the data that does not affect any part of the running operations. The extraction is when all the desired information is pulled from their respective tables and systems. The transformation includes preparing the collective data for a predictive AI model and generating the desired attributes to fit business needs. The loading step is when the data is ready to be analyzed, and you get insights into the running model of the business.

A journey from statistics to insights

Deriving insights from data is done through data visualization and a thorough analysis of the business situation. Numbers tell the stories that employees hesitate but to derive the pointers, you need to take one extra step. Data insights are achieved through AI/ML models analyzing a dataset. An ML model translates data and numbers into real business value, like targeted advertising efforts and accurate loan predictions. These insights allow users of all skill levels and teams to understand the model’s meaning and where its usefulness could be improved. Through data visualization, see the numbers turn into graphs and pie charts to categorize and visualize the growth of your business.

Predictive Analytics- Vision to the Future

Predictive analytics is the base built in the present for the company’s future. ERP channels the data into data sets that view the present from the perspective of past events. With ERP being used across the industry as the norm, beat your competitors by understanding key areas of improvement and establishing KPIs within your organization. This addition to your ERP structure helps you steer your business away from stagnation points and improve the following parameters:

  1. Boost client retention and address churn
  2. Improve core business capabilities
  3. KYC- Understand your customers better
  4. Spot opportunities and optimize for productivity

Cleansing Data and Forecasting

Avoid manual processing by investing in specialized software that simplifies the continuous data cleaning that reduces manual processes that are time-consuming and inaccurate. For unstructured and structured data, removing data anomalies and defects helps validate insights and improve the data quality. The broad categories for a forecasting process come under actual and forecast data. The extraction can be automated or through custom-built forecasting tools.

Automation and Machine Learning

ML algorithms are assisting in improving maintenance, repair, and overhaul performance through predictive accuracy broken down into components. Integrating ML intelligence into an ERP allows organizations to get insights into their processes, customers, and workforce simultaneously. In a data-led world, standard ERPs and only live dashboards help in monitoring but don’t give insights into planning. With the help of predictive analytics and ML, invest in the future. With increasing amounts of data, feed data through an AI engine that provides insights and patterns that affect the product life cycle. Automate report-making and essential tasks for rechanneling that time into problem-solving.

Analytical Models

Predictive analysis is not just about predicting; it involves strategizing a method depending on the requirements and where the perspective is coming from. Once you understand the business model you’re following, devising a way to integrate the models is that much easier. The following are some of the most sought-after models:

Forecast Models

A forecast analytical model is based on predictive analytics of how much the demand needs and which way is the right way to invest in a sales team. For example, a forecasting model can help predict consumption and usage with smart meters and give you an accurate forecast of how much power you’ll need to borrow from the powerhouse if you’re a power distributor.

Classification Models

Suppose the likelihood of a business opportunity reciprocating the intentions is high. In that case, it makes better sense to invest money and time in that direction instead of pushing for a broad campaign. A classification model helps categorize customers into yes or no batches; this will help target marketing campaigns well.

Outlier Models

Outlier models spot anomalies like a sudden surge of demand for a particular product in W&B and the need for power in an area or a sudden unexplained dip in receiving input from the power meter of a home. They alert users to data points that stand out from the expected predictions. The model helps track what doesn’t correspond and indicates where the decision-makers and leadership team need to concentrate.

Time Series Models

This analytical model gives insights into changes caused by holidays that come each year, and decoration manufacturers and many food manufacturers get the data on how their stocks need to be to sustain the demand. Turkey during Thanksgiving, plum cake during Christmas, or the market for a particular kind of wine and the expected demand in the future, is one of the best examples for getting data on what you need.

Clustering Models

Clustering is making smaller data groups so companies can categorize an experience unique to this subset. This is one of the patterns used in targeting and segmenting an outreach campaign into different groups. In this analytical model, the best example is identifying what your customer is likely interested in if they’re interested in one product.

Automation: Refining the ERP Ecosystem

ERP: Automation leading into the Future

Living in a time where the survival rate of a business over a decade is only 30%, there’s a need to optimize for leaner and less manual operations. The key is in the details; automating repetitive and redundant processes will save you time and costs in the long run. The only way ahead is to develop your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as part of your business plan. An automated ERP system has the potential to become the one-stop solution for providing insights and visibility about your business and the workforce behind it.

Growing a business comes with multiple opportunities across domains. However, a cutthroat pace comes at the cost of constantly prioritizing with limitations on what you can do. With the amount of data flowing in and understanding its critical aspects, automating the reporting process is a crucial step in managing a business. Like Eric Kimberling once said, “The potential pitfalls are that the technology is not as mature and tested as other ERP functionality, and organizations don’t know how to integrate automation into their operations.” Awareness about the problem needs to be followed up with an understanding of the solution; let’s see how automation can revolutionize your business.

Automation: Why and how it affects operations

Process automation is helping businesses promote growth and profitability with the help of AI. When you can identify what is repetitive with a particular set of patterns, it is possible to automate the process for better manual efficiency. The same logic applies to ERP automation as well. ERP Automation aims to bring smoother operations, improve team member productivity and increase quality while reducing errors and wastage.

In the Mobile SalesPerson offering from Scanco, connecting the funnels has improved Sage 300 functionality. The add-on helped every salesperson know what to do and how much they should aim to sell when they meet their clients. By managing orders on the go, SalesPerson makes it possible to cut down on time spent on crucial order fulfillment areas whenever the salespeople need to use it by digitizing a significant bulk of the processes.

Reduced Manual Errors and Report Digitization

Manual errors can be minimized to a bare minimum as your employees can save time and eliminate the chances of unintentional errors while duplicating or entering data. From having the whole process set in the paper route, go completely paperless by digitizing reports, insights, and records into digestible and readable formats. Provide information with the structure it deserves on secure servers and streamlined, centralized databases.

Accuracy and transparency directly improve and boost customer satisfaction. Instead of asking your workforce to create reports on daily updates that negatively impact their efficiency, learn about your teams through automated reporting. From the Sage Mobile Salesperson’, the real-time numbers on the available inventory give the salesperson visibility on what he can promise to their client and approximate the time it will take to get the following stocks in order.

Improved Productivity

Integrate several business processes for error-free data and to-the-point insights into your business operations. A streamlined data flow makes information uniform across various departments and gives the decision-makers the necessary scope of operations.

With a tool that gives real-time data on what the salespeople need to do, Sage 300 Mobile Salesperson cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks and re-routes wasted time into sales calls for building a customer relationship.

Flexibility for Process Management

The goal of any organization while developing ERP is to reduce the manual processes and make their employees work on tasks that drive high value. From indexing to deriving information from a device, access business processes from anywhere to make a game-changing difference. The flexibility makes room for empowerment that makes a difference in the long run.

A tool becomes comprehensive when it can solve every problem a user faces. The Scanco sage 300 MSP product contains multiple uses for the salesperson: from the visibility on inventory and sales orders to purchase order converter, delivery tracker, and importers for sales, work orders, and accounts that can provide spreadsheets with all the relevant information.

Controlled Operational Costs

When the primary processes are automated and getting insights is a daily routine, you empower your organization to become agile and better at controlling expenses and boosting revenues.

Routing every dataset produced by the MSP product to a database gives you a collective view of the business through minimal user intervention. You can perform in-depth analysis and check data integrity by automating the data dump and load backups. The process helps you understand and plan the next step in your business journey. And with the help of a Commission Manager, you can focus on making the best out of your workforce by dividing each commission plan based on geography, the discount given, and auditing.

Finding the right balance: ERPs and keeping up with updates

The mobile salesperson product was ideated and built from scratch at CI Global. With innovative solutions for everyday problems, the tech became a go-to add-on in the market. When a product is made with cross-platform functionality, the responsibility boils down to the service provider to update the product whenever there’s an update on either platform. In the premium versions of the Sage 300 offers, this logic is used to provide extra functionality to the product. CIG has led the future of the product by making things easier, functional, and streamlined.

From providing the context for your business to your software to automating repetitive tasks, the need to automate is now more than ever. With the help of AI/ML algorithms, the future of technology looks more data-driven than ever before. Utilizing the expertise of over two decades in the ERP Ecosystem, let CIG optimize your time and boost your team’s productivity. With domain expertise and in-house frameworks that speed up product engineering processes, get the solution you need at a place for every need; click here to learn more.