Every successful company needs to establish appropriate targets and strategies in a timely manner, and that means understanding data. Richard Murphy, head of business solutions at Datapac, said that this is where enterprise resource planning (ERP) comes in. After all, data is at the centre of everything.
“Data is one of the most important assets in an organisation and helps them to make the right decisions at the right time to ultimately achieve targets,” he said.
Ideally, he said, organisations should think about how to capture data and rapidly turn it into useful information.
“This will help them to make effective and competitive decisions, including identifying business patterns and trends and making predications, and enhancing the efficiency of the business.
“In order to achieve this, it is a significant advantage for any organisation to have the business applications and data in place to support that decision making,” said Murphy.
Cost comes down
This rationale has long driven ERP adoption at the level of massive enterprises, but today the cost of investing in business software has come down.
Datapac is a Microsoft partner and offers Microsoft ERP solution Dynamics 365 Business Central, formerly known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Apart from brand recognition – which should not be underestimated – this also means that smaller business should feel more comfortable.
In fact, Dynamics 365 Business Central is already popular with the small and medium business (SMB) sector.
“Many small businesses think that ERP is the preserve of larger businesses. What some businesses don’t realise is that a solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central requires a much lower capital investment and offers a more flexible system than other [enterprise] ERP solutions,” Murphy said.
Dynamics 365 Business Central is aimed squarely at this sector and can be easily configured with business processes, and, so, rapidly implemented. Different levels of licence are also available.
“Light users who only need to perform specific limited tasks, can be assigned a very cost-effective license,” said Murphy.
The Microsoft pedigree also guarantees interoperability. After all, Microsoft software already dominates the desktop and also has a large presence on the server.
For a start, it has direct integration with other Microsoft products like Outlook, but it also goes further, ensuring that information can be captured whatever software a business uses.
“It is important for ERP platforms to have integration capability with other applications to enable it to capture data from different systems and create the big picture for any organisation,” said Murphy.
The software has been developed in a way to facilitate integration with other applications and information sources. For example, the sales application has an inbuilt integration with LinkedIn.
“Another good example in the Irish context is integration with Eircode providers to automatically populate address information based on a customer’s Eircode. This type of integration reduces the time it takes users to enter information into the system, streamlining the user experience and reducing the risk of manual input mistakes,” said Murphy.
Once the data is in, though, there is the question of getting it out to users in a useful manner.
“Captured data needs to be analysed and visualised effectively and efficiently to make competitive decisions,” said Murphy.
It should also be easily shareable with the users or stakeholders to make decisions and noted that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has its own report writing tools. It can also be integrated with business analytic tools such as Power BI and Sales Insight with minimal effort.
And in today’s era of working from home, crucially, it supports the way people are working today.
“Information also can be easily shared with relevant parties, and can be accessed from mobile devices by using the inbuilt mobile app of MS Dynamics,” Murphy said.