Businesses across every industry are operating in an era of vast globalisation and fierce competition. Unfortunately, given the current cost of business crisis, a 30-year high inflation rate, and supply chain disruptions, this also coincides with an inability to predict challenges that will occur from month to month. As a result, it is crucial that businesses aim to prioritise efficiency gains by gaining clear perspective of their operations and preserve control across every aspect possible.
Although most businesses will have implemented some form of internal management system to manage the challenges created by finances, human resources activities, ecommerce, and the supply chain, many of these systems are limited in their ability to expand beyond day-to-day business processes.
However, the intelligence of enterprise resource planning (ERP) has provided a much-needed solution to these limitations. By gathering valuable data insights, ERP systems are able to streamline internal business processes and break down restrictive barriers across an entire organisation. By enhancing visibility, automating inefficient tasks and preventing the loss of essential resources, ERP adds value to businesses across virtually every industry.
A crucial element of ERP’s success, enhanced data insights enable businesses to proactively address areas of improvement that may have previously limited their success. From improved financial compliance with regulatory standards and reduced risk, real-time insights have enhanced operational efficiencies for data-driven business leaders on a global scale.
With research carried out by Experian finding that 85% of organisations view data as one of the most valuable assets to their business, the efficiency gains of ERP implementation are indisputable in the case of insight and evaluation. The research also uncovered that 50% of organisations have experienced improved customer service, 45% believe ERP has equipped them with greater insight for decision-making purposes, and 44% have increased their capacity for innovation.
Inadequate data handling
Whilst extensive ERP data insights have revolutionised the capabilities of organisations, they have also created new challenges for businesses to navigate. With the primary intention of ERP systems being to increase organisational efficiencies and reduce costs, it is concerning that the avoidable consequences of poor data management are estimated to cost businesses an annual average cost of $15 million. Whilst 78% of organisations are now affected by problematic data debt, 66% are having to implement new data management initiatives as a result. Likewise, half (51%) of organisations believe that the data collected by their ERP systems isn’t clean enough to be utilised, and 28% of businesses suspect their current and prospect data to be broadly inaccurate. With poor quality data and ineffective management systems weakening an organisation’s competitive standing and undermining critical investment objectives, businesses must look to implement additional support mechanisms to combat these challenges.
The consequences on future business success
The data obtained by ERP systems is infinitely unique – it must be continually captured, tracked, managed, and analysed. As 44% of transactional data is created by customers, suppliers, and external providers outside the immediate organisation, one of the biggest challenges for ERP systems is ensuring that the quality and consistency of this data is reflective of business requirements. Worryingly, with 88% of data unable to leveraged and only 12% being effectively analysed, research by Forrester found that ERP systems alone are unable to combat the challenges produced by large and complex data capture.
Besides the potential for data manipulation, incorrectly monitoring market dynamics and failing to respond to customer preferences can have a detrimental impact on business credibility and damage future opportunities. In the short term, any errors caused by poor data management creates costly errors – the longer it takes to rectify, the greater the cost to the business.
Big data as a solution
Big data refers to data that is so large or complex that is can be impossible to process using traditional methods. Unlike ERP in isolation, big data is able to distinguish between various data sources, and, as a result, can convert manipulated data into a user-friendly form for businesses to utilise. Not only does this restrict ERP systems from blocking potential intelligence that businesses require to make accurate decisions, but integrating big data into ERP systems also expands companies’ potential at an unprecedented rate.
Accuracy, availability, validity, and reliability are all characteristics of high-quality data. By overcoming technical deficits, big data provides organisations with data that consistently matches these qualities, consequently enhancing financial prospects that would have been wasted prior to its implementation.
The intelligence of big data analytics provides previously unattainable visibility into customer behaviour, supply chain requirements, and critical areas of engagement amongst key stakeholders. With an extended view of its assets and the ability to monitor data as and when it arises, businesses can optimise the routes involved in the flow of products and their movement within the supply chain cycle. Likewise, a deeper understanding of sales patterns and predictions for future supply and demand is particularly beneficial for the revenue of retail businesses. With greater insight into the desired inventory, supply management is greatly enhanced by reducing the potential for overstocking materials.
Big data shaping business prospects
Global competition is rising across every industry, industries are facing the worst supply chain crisis since the mid-70s, and the extent of the inflation rate rise yet to be discovered. As economic circumstances continue to provide unpredictable challenges, it is essential that businesses do all they can to strengthen their competitive advantage.
High-value data insights hold the potential to determine whether an organisation thrives or is left behind. Whilst optimised inventory, scheduling and management processes encourage businesses to combat external pressures, avoiding big data mechanisms drives organisations closer to achieving the opposite – productivity losses, ineffective business strategies and poor financial management included.
Notes to editors
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Nexer is a leading digital transformation expert, specialising in Microsoft Dynamics. It advises, implements, develops, and manages Microsoft Dynamics applications, alongside other technologies, to help clients strengthen their market position, grow revenue, and improve productivity.
Working with businesses in the manufacturing, field service, wholesale distribution, construction, retail and fashion industries, its leading product lines include Microsoft Dynamics 365, Internet of Things, AI, Business Intelligence, Connected Field Service, the Smart Office and Smart Retail.
Nexer has been operating successfully since 2008 and was established in the UK in 2019. It is part of the Nexer Group (formerly Sigma IT) – a Swedish IT Services firm with over 5,000 employees across the globe. The business is able to leverage its relationship with the group in Sweden and worldwide to add significant and unique value to its customers.