Enterprise Resource Planning, otherwise known as ERP, refers to the software and systems used by companies to collect and manage different types of business functions as well as stored data in an organised manner. It is essentially the software backbone used by most established companies where they can manage all aspects of business, from complex logistics to customer support.
Initially, it started as something simple that could easily collect important account information of manufacturing companies. However, over time ERPs have grown and become one of the most important tools used by a company. An ERP can now not only collect and manage but even help analyze and predict business results.
In the recent past, this type of system was referred to a large, expensive and complicated software requiring consulting firms to assist in its implementation. They were more generic, affordable only to large corporations and in many cases the business had to adapt its process around the existing software. ERPs like SAP have grown and dominated this segment.
With the increase in technology accessibility, the growth of Cloud and more affordable development cost ERPs are becoming more specialized in different niches, easy to use and purposely built to solve specific industries requirements. Being big and complicated doesn’t mean being good and appropriate. Every business needs a well implemented software in order to run its operation efficiently, but simplicity and adaptability are becoming the norm.
If an ERP is niche based, it is probably going to have the right integrations to it to allow the best benefits of its use. Niche ERPs allow companies to focus on exactly their market because they are designed and built specifically as a solution for that market, making it more convenient and efficient as a management tool. Over time, ERPs have become more of a SaaS model than they used to be. This is due to expectations that a software should be always evolving, maintained and constantly being integrated to other systems. Manufacturing companies of all kinds require ERP for its back office solution, be it catering or retail, as it improves efficiency, accuracy and the manner in which these companies collect and utilize their information.
When one thinks about the manner in which IOT has changed ERPs and made niche ERPs even more practical and easier to use, it demonstrates the turn of how companies run processing in general. Take any Internet based ecommerce company, for instance, the data after the shipment of products is much easier to collect through ERPs than it used to be once this data is now in the clouds and available to third parties via API. Customer service, a part of companies that now can make or break a product or service, becomes much easier with a proper ERP software running its ticketing system integrated with its CRM, for example. This is because the ERP software can collect better information, store it regarding different preferences such as likes and dislikes of consumers, among other aspects about how people feel about the product once it is being used.
Moreover, because of the availability of constant data and information, managers can implement better strategies to supply chains and overall create better future sales pipeline because the prediction of customer taste becomes more prominent. Furthermore, cloud ERP platforms allow access to information in a higher speed, this leads to information being transferred between departments in an easier manner as well. This amount of information well used can become a competitive advantage within the organisation.
Even small businesses are now recommended to use a niche ERP platforms in order to get a better view of the business and operate efficiently under one software. The more competition there is in the market the more important it becomes to have the right software for collecting and analyzing company data. Small businesses can range anywhere from packaging to retail to catering companies looking for their niche ERP to fulfill its business unique requirements in form of data available, process, requirements and even industry specific standards. There are several industries which are under supply on its software solution, presenting a great business opportunities for entrepreneurs.
ERPs allow businesses to get information on one platform but they also work as a collective software not allowing the same information to be processed twice and blocking or minimizing the user from making mistakes such as data entry. The real-time monitoring process that ERPs take, allow companies to lower risks and possibility of problems in any department. Take professional catering for example, with the availability of its niche ERP, the kitchen, it’s utilities, orders, customer feedback and even delivery can be managed through one single event and catering software. Evaluation, CRM, among other factors may be included in the ERP software, highlighting the best opportunities for businesses growth and optimum decision making. The predicted growth of the ERP market said to be crossing $50 million by 2022, demonstrates the manner in which it has been influencing business and becoming a necessity.
It is necessary to understand that all ERP applications work differently, offering its own data set, services and focusing on different departments according to its niche. In a market that is so vast, it is almost impossible to encounter an ERP that works for all kinds of industries. With growing competition, most businesses prefer a software with a proven track record of servicing a specific industry or niche.
With the advances in technology, it is possible that more specific ERP platforms will be available offering a higher level of services to each business. Growing competition in the ERP market also demonstrates a better understanding of what companies want and require in terms of data. The cloud-based ERPs are also growing, these are allowing User testing and improvements to take place much faster. These tests which used to take companies several hours and a lot of trial and error are now easily available in different platforms. Some ERP platforms that focus on the financial end of businesses allow incredible revenue analytics, creating easier ways to utilize billing and subscription, allowing businesses to take a step forward in terms of planning and revenue models.
This increasing level of availability of different forms of niche ERPs are making a switch in the economy and the power of companies to grow profits through efficiency and better use of available data. Overall, the growing ERP software base will create a better understanding of business models and over time influence markets with better data, analysis and solutions.