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Navigator Business Solutions
By Curtis Campbell • March 6, 2014

7 Key Aspects of Real-Time, Integrated ERP

real time data ERP resized 600Recognizing the value of real-time information is driving more and more small to midsize businesses to open the door to ERP.  Further, many of these companies are adopting mobile/smart device strategies enabling employees and executives to gain access to the information they need, when they need it.

But access to real-time information is not the only reason small to midsize companies are making this move.  Real-time access delivers at least seven (7) additional benefits that small-midsize businesses may not be enjoying today.

1) Close financials in hours, not weeks or months

Because of regulations and the demands from customers and suppliers, small to midsize businesses are being pressured to accelerate their financial close cycles.  In addition, forward-thinking business executives are demanding more information from their systems to make more effective, more timely decisions.  As part of this, with fully-integrated ERP, businesses are able to close financial cycles each month; when quarterly was the previously acceptable benchmark.

2) Fine Tune Business Operations On-Demand

The global economy never sleeps, and company executives, thanks largely to mobile/smart devices, can work 24/7.  For a business to succeed, it can no longer operate on the lengthy project-based cycles, or complex reporting requirements of the past.  With integrated ERP, companies get faster, more complete reporting capabilities, as well as allow business executives to assess, and if needed, fine tune business plans on an ongoing basis.  They can further take corrective action, including but not limited to, redeploying resources and modifying product strategies, to seize new opportunities as they arise, delivering more revenue to the top & bottom lines rather than having to wait to find out how things finished up.

3) Access transactions anytime, from anywhere

Everyone has a smart phone.  And most people have a tablet.  Because of the wide adoption of such, there has been a surge in demand for easy-to-use mobile applications and web portals that are able to access enterprise applications.  Because of this, employees from the field service team to key managers and stakeholders expect to be able to access the information and resources they need to get the job done wherever they happen to be.  

To combat this, real-time, integrated ERP systems like SAP Business ByDesign & SAP Business One, have built-in support for mobile & web interfaces that enable delivery of timely information and perform instant actions to make sure stakeholders can make things happen when they're off-site, on vacation, traveling, etc.

4) Create closer customer & supplier relationships

Real-time, integrated ERP has made the creation of new kinds of customer relationships possible, when before this wasn't possbile with previous generations of technology.  Today, the low cost of creating these relationships, made possible by automation and enhanced connectivity, makes it feasible to enable partnerships to be formed with customers and suppliers.

5) Personalize self-service offerings and transactions

One of the huge "side" benefits of increased access to real-time information has been the creation of self-service portals and applications.  ERP systems like SAP Business ByDesign offer countless self-service options that enable businesses to reduce delays and overheads, as well as increase employee awareness/learning and enhance customer satisfaction; especially when employees, partners, customers and suppliers can directly access needed information when they need it, from wherever they happen to be.  Another benefit to self-service options is a business' ability to furnish up-to-date information regarding product availability and delivery schedules.  When this is combined with real-time analysis and reports, it can streamline operations and enhance user experience by suggesting next steps as well as cross & upsell opportunities.

6) Collecting real-time metrics remotely

As the marketplace has moved more to mobile/On Demand access, we have witnessed a large expansion in the types of data demanded and subsequently collected from the field and other remote locations.  This has been made possible by the involvement of more smart-connected devices like bar code scanners, RFID tags, etc.  Real-time, integrated ERP likewise enables this data to be collected, matched to transactions and ultimately presented in graphical, easy-to-read dashboards, enabling employees and executives to better track KPIs.

But remote access doesn't stop there.  Products can be tracked after a sale is made, enabling a business to better track customer satisfaction, thus strengthening relationships with customers.  Software vendors, like SAP, also distribute upgrades and "hot fixes" to improve performance.  The information collected can then be automatically fed back into product development to improve future models and enhance functionality.

7) Opens the door to innovation

Successful enterprises today must keep themselves ready to adapt to market change and seize opportunities to gain competitive advantage via innovation.  Rapid change in the global marketplace has become commonplace, where companies that fail to innovate, and do so quickly, will potentially find themselves floundering in the face of competition.

Because of this, a worthwhile ERP must be able to support a business' ability to quickly respond to changing conditions and emerging opportunities.  Since this is largely contingent upon having access to real-time information, a business' ERP system must provide that same level of access.

To learn more about how SAP delivers the above real-time access and much more, visit http://nbs-us.com/sap_cloud, or call 877.395.4SAP today!