Every ten to fifteen years, a major disruption occurs in technology that has the ability to transform the way we live and work. What’s happening with cloud computing and big data today is comparable to what occurred when the smartphone transformed communication and business in the early 2000’s. It was revolutionary in what it did for bringing limitless information and convenience to people’s fingertips. Now with the cloud, data can be combined from numerous sources all over the world, processed and analyzed with incredible speed, and used to take human knowledge and business capabilities to heights we never could have imagined before.
The vast majority of innovation occurring in the business world today revolves around the cloud and big data, and a true “digital transformation” can’t occur without the cloud being at the center of it. As we begin 2020, structuring your business to be compatible with all of the latest and greatest tools and resources available in the cloud should be one of your top priorities. Because the cost of being left behind is too great to ignore.
So, today we’ll talk about some of the major things going on in business tech. What are technology providers and software vendors doing that can help drive your business forward? We came up with a list of the top 20 difference-making features in modern ERP systems:
– Does the system you intend to implement have what it takes to complete a true digital transformation? The kind of transformation that will allow you to play on a level playing field with your competition for the next decade? A true Cloud ERP system.
– A true Cloud ERP system breaks down barriers of communication, gives more people access to more data, helps drive collaboration and knowledge sharing, and helps push organizations and people to new levels of success.
– Many systems appear to have a modern look and feel, but beneath the surface lays an older foundation, leaving you susceptible to performance issues, incompatibility with other key applications, or security issues.
2. UX / User Experience
– How user-friendly is the interface?
– Does the system make your life easier, reduce clicks, streamline processes?
– Companies are investing heavily in UX. Be sure to investigate how much the software vendor invests their time and capital into the user experience.
3. Personalization – Role-Based
– Business systems are being designed for that you can tailor the user experience for each user/department role in the company.
– Reduces the amount of information a user needs to sort through
– Increases user adoption and facilitates change management
– This isn’t a “feature” per say, but with the information available on the web, you can find out a lot about software and vendors without speaking with someone directly. What do you see when you Google search the ERP vendor and software you’re evaluating?
– If you review a business’ YouTube channel, what kind of video testimonials are available with positive feedback about the solution and the company?
– Are customers and partners enthusiastic about their experience with the vendor?
– Modern applications remove barriers to access, and give you flexibility in a world where many companies have a dispersed workforce
– Mobile apps give you the ability to work on the fly and access Timesheets, Expenses, Approvals, KPIs, and Real-time data.
– User security settings are transferable to multiple devices with user authentication tools
– What if your business doubles in size next year? Can your business grow with this solution?
– Is it capable of processing a large volume of transactions?
– Will it perform well over the web? Modern cloud applications are optimized to perform well, even with average web connections.
7. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
– Voice assistants such as Alexa/Cortana are being integrated into every ERP as we speak.
– Microsoft is giving people the ability to create smarter applications by integrating with Azure Cognitive Services, allowing you to tap into AI natural language processing, voice and form recognition, and much more.
– The potential for AI in the business world is limitless.
8. Internet of Things (IoT)
– Rather than having staff out in the field send in periodic reports about how things are doing in the field… why not connect directly to the source, and get real-time data and insights.
– Manufacturers are now connecting to sensors in warehouses for inventory management, grocery stores can monitor refrigerator temperatures in real-time, agriculture can monitor moisture in their crops for perfect consistency, and the military can monitor the health of its soldiers with wearable devices and sensors.
– Moving to a connected cloud services world is happening as we speak. Customers can move between their third-party applications without feeling the seams between the products and the services. The search for the right solution must rest on the idea that no one-size-fits-all option exists.
– Does the system play well with others? Does it utilize modern REST API web services integration?
– Best of Breed systems when combined can create the worst result for your business without the proper tools for sharing data in real-time.
– Has the software vendor built the necessary infrastructure and provided the required documentation to facilitate compliance with NIST 800-171 and the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)?
– Does it have essential capabilities such as Single Sign-On (SSO) and 2-factor authentication?
11. Access to Real-time data
– When transactions happen, it’s beneficial to your organization to have access to the data in real-time to drive more efficient decision making
– When an employee enters a timesheet, can you see the data immediately? When the business development team creates a new opportunity, will the dollar amount be visible in your forecast?
12. Dashboards & KPIs
– Does the system give you the ability to take large amounts of data and display it in easy to understand and digest data visualizations?
– Can you setup Key Performance Indicators that notify you when different thresholds are met?
– Can the system organize dashboards and information by department/role?
– End-to-End Connectivity between the front and back office in real-time
– The ability to assign tasks to team members, get real-time notifications when business events occur, and track activities on your team’s projects
14. Approval Workflows
– Automated routing to multiple approvers
– Customize different workflows for different business processes
15. Document Management
– Store documents on any screen in the system
– Version control
– Easily look up and sort documents
16. Automated Invoicing
– No more exporting data into Excel to get invoices manually created and sent out to customers.
– Specifically tailored to customer requirements
– Get paid on-time
– Can you manage multiple entities with the same system?
– Does it allow you to run financials for each individual entity, and also roll up financials to the parent company?
– Will it allow inter-company journal transactions?
– We live in a global business environment, where companies have international subsidiaries, vendors, and customers
– Can the system automatically compute realized and unrealized gains and losses, perform account revaluations, and translate complete financial statements?
19. Industry-Specific Feature / Function
– For the government contracting industry, tracking each unique contract and subcontract, with all of the correct invoice formats and funding requirements are critical
– Most service-based federal contractors require Job Costing / Project Accounting for DCAA compliance purposes
– Time & Expense Management, charging to approved projects, providing reason codes for changes/late submits, tracking per diem rates, and much more can be troublesome without an industry-specific solution.
20. Process Innovation
– Does the software use innovative ways to tackle traditionally labor-intensive processes?
– How about an easier way to create an Incurred Cost Submission, or handle Service contract Act (SCA) / Union labor management?
– Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a step-by-step guide to the Contract Closeout Process?
To view an on-demand webinar on this topic, you can view it HERE. At JAMIS, we keep an eye on industry trends and adjust accordingly to best serve our customers and the market in general. Stay posted on all of the latest and greatest information with Prime Insights blog, and all of the upcoming events on our Webinar Series page.