When businesses are looking to streamline their operations, reduce core costs and continue to maximize profits, they need to look at all aspects of their business model to decide what are the most appropriate solutions. The relentless onward march of technology means that even small businesses can get in the act of using the specialist business support software that is ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning.
In its early days, ERP was associated more with the manufacturing industry but over nearly five decades it has evolved into an essential tool that is not industry specific but can be tailored to the particular needs of a business. This means that companies working in the areas of marketing and PR can take advantage of the real benefits ERP can bring.
Every business has a variety of processes that are essential to it running smoothly. The number of units that go to make up the business will depend on its scale, but essentially ERP is the piece of software that brings together the various systems, such as human resources, accounting, inventory and customer relationship management, and integrates them into a shared database. The processes and information are thus streamlined across the whole organization, enabling employees in one department to access the same information as an employee in another.
ERP for Marketing and PR
Whether it is a stand-alone marketing or PR Company or departments in a large business, ERP has significant benefits to offer the industry, especially as the cost of transitioning to it has dropped notably thanks to the advent of online ERP. Instead of having hardware and software systems on site devoted to ERP, online ERP is hosted in the Cloud by a specialist provider. This Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly popular, especially for medium-sized and smaller business thanks to it being less resource hungry than the traditional version.
Marketing and PR organizations are constantly juggling multiple clients, so software that integrates areas such as customer relations, campaign planning, accounting and sales is now an indispensible tool for companies to organize and plan their way forward.
Key areas that can be addressed are:
- project management: profitability is increased and resources managed effectively, thus reducing costs.
- accounting and finance management: helps keep a check on billable hours and expenses and aids cash flow management.
- business intelligence: allows decisions to be made based on facts, not guesswork, as managers can access an integrated view of the business.
- customer relationship management: helps keep current customers looked after and on board as well as developing new income streams.
Apart from keeping down costs, Cloud ERP does not require large amounts of hardware such as servers and complex computer systems. It has the added advantage of being able to be accessed by any employee wherever they may be, with high levels of online security to protect the business’s interests.
In the future ERP is likely to be even more manageable, responsive instantly to changing data and accessible by mobile devices as well as through social media channels.