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Core Building Blocks to Consider in Debate over ERP vs. Personal Information Systems

By Wayne Thomas June 13, 2019 by Kelly Kuhlman
ERP System Debate

Integration: The supply chain is one of the most critical processes within an organization and it demands that all systems and processes always remain linked. Using multiple personal information systems prevent an organization from becoming fully integrated. Tracking the details of business performance through a series of spreadsheets can quickly morph into a complex patchwork of failed consolidation efforts and redundant, error-prone data that does not reflect the most up-to-the-minute reality. As the volume of spreadsheets grows, so too does the burden on employees to manually integrate the data into conclusions. Yet, problematically, the team cannot fully trust the data it sees.

Aligning SAP Best Practice functionality with organizational needs translates to reliable, accurate, current data. This gives employees their time back and eliminates the concern that a ticking time bomb of undocumented information or even a missed decimal point may be skewing the results.

Total visibility: Unlike spreadsheets, an integrated, single source of data allows complete access to every crucial business process for increased collaboration, easier tracking, and maximum productivity. It becomes easier to quickly glean the answers to vital organizational concerns such as, “Are our inventory levels too high? Who are our most profitable customers? Where should we invest more of our resources next year?”

Using a singular truth, people across all locations and departments are working from the same playbook. Since all employees have access to the same updated information, there is no need to worry if there is a newer spreadsheet version, and no need to confirm a change with any specific person. An SAP implementation done correctly supports the organization, enabling business rules (master data) and business behavior (process) to match, thereby deriving business value and balancing the supply chain. SAP does the heavy lifting, and informed people with the appropriate business insights add value by managing to the exception rather than firefighting.

Process efficiency: With an SAP utilization strategy in place, there is no need for time-consuming and redundant data entry, or combining data from various departments into one cohesive report. Wherever a team member is, he or she has access to all business information and real-time business insights anytime. The result is that decision-making functions like clockwork, not unlike a business flight with multiple itinerary legs. The minute a flight is delayed, that information is relayed to the connecting flight, and automated schedule shifts are made accordingly. Similarly, once a change is made in SAP, it is dynamically reflected on all processes, so everyone benefits from the instantaneous transfer of knowledge. There is no lag in cross-departmental communication.

Security: In this era of enhanced security and enforcement actions, just one inadvertent slip could lead to exorbitant regulatory fees. When sensitive business information is stored on employees’ computers, companies become highly vulnerable to security breaches and damaged reputations. In addition to computer crashes and viruses, disgruntled employees might deliberately enter inaccurate information onto a spreadsheet or delete important portions of it. An SAP solution eliminates these potentially devastating problems. A digital platform offers automatic documentation of work and a documented audit trail that is as close as possible to sabotage-proof.

To learn the comprehensive framework for delivering this change, read our white paper on “Evolution of Integrated Business Solutions Through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems.”

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