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In SBO Quick Word, business owners and professionals share with us a slice of their industry, business and life over a quick email interview.
Why is cloud ERP the way forward?
[pullquote]The ability to efficiently collect, manage and analyse data to make insights-driven business decisions has never been more important than now.[/pullquote]
In a fast-paced, connected and increasingly digital environment, growing businesses benefit from focusing their investment in areas that can help them become more competitive. The ability to efficiently collect, manage and analyse data to make insights-driven business decisions has never been more important than now. One way of gaining that capability is by leveraging digital tools such as cloud-based ERP.
By integrating systems and centralising data, cloud-based ERP processes can provide businesses with clear visibility into their operations which in turn, offers a holistic view of their customers’ buying behaviour. Simultaneously, cloud ERP can also aid business growth by streamlining processes and address many other needs such as regulatory requirements if and when the business is ready to expand into other markets. Another advantage of a cloud-based ERP is that businesses can dynamically scale their business infrastructure up or down as and when required. This allows businesses to be more active and agile to pursue strategic objectives, respond faster to changes in the market and meet changing customer requirements.
How is AI transforming ERP solutions?
By incorporating AI into ERP solutions, businesses can drive efficiencies by automating processes such as inventory management; as well as determine the next best action through predictive actions. For example, AI allows businesses to immediately identify anomalies and trends that affect the business, so they can make proactive and timely decisions to keep business performance on track.
[pullquote]AI will become more accessible to growing businesses in the future as it will increasingly be integrated into business apps…[/pullquote]
Growing businesses are often in a better position than large corporations when it comes to taking advantage of some of the ways that AI can reshape the business, as they are not constrained by infrastructure costs. In fact, we believe that AI will become more accessible to growing businesses in the future as it will increasingly be integrated into business apps to deliver specific outcomes, instead of being offered as an ‘add-on’ solution.
What are some factors holding businesses back from moving to the cloud?
Moving to the cloud, or digitising, is often wrought with misconceptions. For example:
[pullquote]Some cloud vendors even offer a customer engagement methodology, which provides businesses with a set of best practices in their industries, with everything fully configured and packaged.[/pullquote]
- It is expensive and requires upfront costs – Cloud ERP available as a SaaS offering can in fact help reduce costs, as you only pay for the services you need, without upfront costs.
- Using Excel will be sufficient – It’s important for growing businesses to have the right systems in place for sustained growth. This way, businesses can eliminate time-consuming tasks such as manual data entry, freeing up employees’ time for more value-add and revenue-generating work. The use of Excel can create silos of information, leading to poor data visibility that can hinder business growth.
- Digital technologies are only for larger businesses – Cloud ERP can help businesses of any size to streamline processes, get better insights into operations and ultimately foster growth. Some cloud vendors even offer a customer engagement methodology, which provides businesses with a set of best practices in their industries, with everything fully configured and packaged. This enables businesses to go live in a matter of weeks.
What are some of the things that businesses should take note as they consider adopting an ERP solution?
Ignoring the benefits that you can potentially gain from a cloud-based ERP solution can result in increased threat by competitors, slower response to market trends or changes in the business landscape.
Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for growth, businesses should first identify a clear purpose for implementing a cloud-based ERP. By doing so, it’ll be easier to get buy-in and consensus from all stakeholders. Realistic expectations should be set for the ERP implementation and it is important to ensure that the right resources are in place to see the project through to completion.
[pullquote]… identify a clear purpose for implementing a cloud-based ERP.[/pullquote]
To ensure the success of their cloud-based ERP deployment, businesses can also take cues from other growing businesses that have effectively used cloud-based ERP to enhance their operations.
An example of a local business which has successfully embraced cloud-based ERP is DocDoc, a Singaporean start-up that connects consumers to the most relevant doctors, clinics and hospitals. DocDoc is using NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP, OneWorld, to support its local and international growth by unifying its ERP, CRM, HR and finance processes across its five offices in Asia onto a single cloud platform. This allows DocDoc to manage the business seamlessly across its offices and adjust currency, taxation and legal compliance requirements at the local level.
Another example is Craftmark, an exclusive distributor of quality leather goods from international fashion brands Picard, Shilton, Jane Shilton and FX creations in Southeast Asia. By using NetSuite OneWorld to integrate its disparate accounting, sales and inventory systems, Craftmark managed to improve its operational efficiency, such as spending 75 per cent less time on issuing purchase orders. It also gained access to real-time data, which enables it to make insights-driven decisions that drive growth.
Why is NetSuite targeting growing businesses?
[pullquote]With access to data analytics and dashboards, business owners can become true leaders by focusing on their business purpose – to grow and prosper by providing a superior level of customer service.[/pullquote]
The mandate for growth has always been there, for any business. The biggest immediate challenge is that growth is unpredictable, making it harder for business owners to predict their next move. Business owners are faced with a plethora of questions. When is the right time to invest? How much do you invest in your business and where do you invest in the business? And more importantly, what new or unexpected costs and complexities will an investment in growth bring?
To manage growth, many business leaders are required to keep a watchful eye on their financial performance. With access to data analytics and dashboards, business owners can become true leaders by focusing on their business purpose – to grow and prosper by providing a superior level of customer service.
Common complaints that are seen on online reviews are mostly about the tedious setup process and the steep learning curve. What are your views?
NetSuite is helping business of all sizes and from various industries to grow and scale.
As such, we take a consultative approach from sales to implementation through to support to ensure continuity across the customer lifecycle. This also provides customers with a clear pathway to success as they can leverage industry-based leading practices built from our nearly 20 years of collective implementation experience. In addition, we offer a stairway approach to allow customers to consume and expand their NetSuite deployments at a pace that works for them.
Several websites have rated NetSuite as one of the best ERP software solutions. So what’s next?
One thing is clear: We are firmly tying new features and improvements to our products to support our customers’ business growth. We’re closely listening to the thousands of businesses from different industries across the world which we work with, to understand what they need from us to stay focused and successfully grow.
Those insights led to the addition of localised product capabilities for some of the fast-growing economies around the world, including China and Japan. For instance, NetSuite customers can now open subsidiaries or new businesses in China without the need for third-party products as OneWorld is able to provide support for local China-specific reports and the China Golden Tax System.
Are you a business owner or a professional? Connect with us if you’d like to share some business lessons and professional insights.