ERP for the SME: What is it and why do you need it?

ERP System

Think about the many essential processes involved in running a business – HR, finance, sales, project management, reporting… That’s just scratching the surface, but the sheer number and complexity of functions can seem overwhelming even in a medium-sized organisation.

As businesses succeed and grow, their processes become more complex, the number of transactions and projects on the go increases and it becomes more difficult to keep an eye on what’s happening in every area and at every level.

When we work with mid-sized companies at a crucial tipping point in their growth, we see a familiar pattern. Each department appears to be working well as a self-contained unit, but when we take a step back and look at the organisation holistically it’s clear that processes differ from team to team. Crucial functions – data entry, for example – can be duplicated, leading to inefficiencies, inconsistencies and an increased risk of error.

Growing businesses need to be built on strong foundations if they are to succeed, so putting robust systems and processes in place at this crucial stage is essential.

This is where ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning – comes in. Put simply, an ERP system integrates multiple functions into one process. It is made up of different applications that are designed to seamlessly talk to each other, share information and keep up with vital information such as costs, inventory and invoicing.

Although it includes the term “Enterprise”, ERP is increasingly being adopted by mid-sized businesses, a shift fuelled by the growth in cloud technology and subscription-based software.

ERP breaks down the barriers that can form between various areas of a business and can automate core functions such as order fulfilment, lead generation and payment processes.

If you take a step back, it’s relatively simple to spot some of the signs that your organisation needs a step up and could benefit from the ERP approach. If your teams are spending more time than they should be on administrative tasks, or relying on spreadsheets, or using simple accounting systems more suitable for small businesses, then these are indicators that it’s time to move on.

ERP can transform a business – reducing costs, minimising duplication, saving time and decreasing the risk delays or errors caused by misinformation. And, importantly, a well-designed system can easily grow along with the business it serves.

No two businesses are the same, and so each ERP system should be unique to the organisation it supports. Before implementing any kind of IT infrastructure, Aura Technology’s specialists carry out a unique, in-house developed Technology Roadmap process designed to gain a deep understanding of a business’s IT now and in the future.

Armed with this information, we can ensure the most appropriate technology – including ERP systems if appropriate – can be deployed to meet the business’s needs.

Find out more about our Technology Roadmap process.