In a Post-Pandemic World, ERP Becomes Even More Strategic

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As the COVID-19 global crisis continues and the world begins the journey back to normal, exactly what will “normal” look like? Will everything indeed change, as we’ve heard it will?

In just a few weeks, a global work from home (WFH) revolution occurred, supply chains were reconfigured, and business models were re-invented overnight. Our whole sense of what is normal, what is possible, and where the world is headed has been turned upside down.

One thing is certain: businesses will need to find ways to adapt and optimize on the profound changes in how they do business because customers, partners, suppliers, and employees will certainly have entirely new expectations and requirements.

Amid all that upheaval, all that change, and all that potential chaos, modern ERP systems can serve as the highly intelligent control tower that stamps out the chaos, ensures newly configured processes are increasing productivity and profits, and turns disruption from an existential threat into a competitive weapon.

In the past, ERP software was often trapped in silos and only able to deliver fragmented views of what was going on across the business. Too often, such applications were either an inch wide and a mile deep—telling you way more than you wanted or needed to know about an isolated process or function—or were a mile wide but only an inch deep, giving you top-line generalities that could not drive timely and strategic decisions.

In the same way, the manual approaches that many businesses use today to run their operations—printouts, some spreadsheets, faxes, manila folders stuffed with paper receipts—simply can’t keep up with the demands of the always-on business world here in 2020. Those businesses are looking at adopting technology that’s designed for today and scalable for tomorrow, is reliable and secure, and has a modern and intuitive user interface.

For example, flexible scheduling with WFH options would be a nightmare to configure manually.

And what about getting new suppliers on board? If it takes 4 weeks for your current system to complete the onboarding of a single new supplier, how can you meet the CEO’s demand to have a dramatically reconfigured global supply chain in place by the end of the month?

If customers in the post-COVID world come to you with an entirely new set of requirements that they expect you to meet within 10 days, will you be able to move at that pace? Or will the radically different realities of the new normal simply overwhelm your current processes?

Here’s an informal ERP health-check for businesses beginning to respond to the post-pandemic world and adapting to the new realities by reinventing their processes and policies on the fly:

  • Internally, what are your new policies for employee safety, health checks, redesigned workflows, family leave, remote work, and overall support?
  • Internally, will your company need to establish new schedules, break times, PTO policies, sick leave?
  • Externally, how dramatically has your supply chain been affected? Can you get all those new suppliers onboard? Which traditional processes can stay in place, and which must be reconfigured?
  • Manufacturing and production are also likely to require significant changes—can your software handle those essential adjustments and reconfigurations? How do you meet the new expectations of not only your customers but also your employees?
  • Shipping and logistics: can your ERP system incorporate the adjustments you’ve had to make on the fly during the COVID-19 crisis? What new steps will you have to take in meeting new delivery expectations of customers?
  • Billing, payments, financial reconciliations: what stays the same, what needs to be adjusted, what needs to be replaced?

These new challenges can be daunting, particularly in the current climate of lingering uncertainty and fear. But at the same time, businesses in every industry that have battled their way through the past few months should take great pride from their achievements, their people, and the innovations they’ve had to forge along the way.

ECI Staff Contributors

About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.