Getting dissimilar software to sync up can seem like an unsolvable problem. To be sure, it’s not a huge challenge when you run a small startup that only uses a couple of systems. However, it can become a living nightmare when you want to scale your operations—and your systems just won’t cooperate.

One solution to this common issue is to streamline all your back office (and sometimes other) processes through an ERP integration. ERPs connect all major software portals and platforms, as well as related applications. Essentially, the ERP system serves as a centralized point to bring together all the functions of workplace software.

But what does it look like in a real world way? Consider an example of an ERP integration in action at fictional Company XYZ:

Company XYZ’s people rely on five key platforms to perform functions including accounting, payroll, and customer payment processing software. Unfortunately the software platforms don’t easily integrate into one another. This means personnel have to move data constantly between systems, often missing details or making mistakes. That’s just not efficient or good for business.

What could Company XYZ do to get rid of all these problems? With the right ERP integration in place, Company XYZ’s platforms could communicate with one another. In fact, data inputted into one platform could be made available to populate on another. And that would mean employees could spend their time on tasks other than data entry.

If you feel like Company XYZ would be more productive after adopting an ERP system, you’d be right. It wouldn’t be alone, either. ERP adoption is on a surge that’s expected to result in $49.5 billion in revenue by 2025. Many companies that lean into ERPs report huge productivity paybacks. Those paybacks come in a number of ways and for many reasons, as noted below.

1. ERPs wipe out redundancies.

When several people in an organization complete the exact same task, the process is known as a redundancy. For instance, an administrative staff member might input new customers’ information into a sales database. At the same time, a support staff member might have to input the same information into a customer service platform. It’s simple to see how these redundant activities eat up valuable work time for both employees.

ERPs can find and erase these kinds of redundancies by sharing data across diverse networks. That way, the information can be inputted once and reused multiple times. The result is that workers don’t have to replicate or reproduce activities.

2. ERPs can eliminate many jobs that require manual input.

Like redundancies, manual input can chew away at a team’s productivity. Yet plenty of back office functions involve workers typing data points into spreadsheets and documents. Not only does this waste high performers’ time, but it can lead to high degrees of human errors.

Many ERP systems simply allow data to be sourced and shared effortlessly. A customer could input her information into a master database. The database would then house the archived information until it was needed by another system. In other words, the data would always be retrievable… and because the customer inputted it, no employee time was used. It’s difficult to think of any activity that could more directly impact productivity.

3. ERPs reduce time delays and related friction points.

Employees don’t want to wait to finish their projects just because they can’t get answers to questions. Customers don’t like to wait for their order requests to go through because a company uses antiquated systems. Vendors don’t like to wait for their invoices to be processed. Consequently, the faster that a company can move any task accurately from start to finish, the happier its stakeholders will be.

Because ERP systems are designed to move information rapidly and automatically, they can cut off time delays. In fact, when developing ERP integration solutions, many companies look at their bottlenecks first. That is, they explore which areas are most in need of ERP assistance. By removing roadblocks, corporate leaders can produce more output in less time.

4. ERPs help corporations stay compliant.

No company wants to undergo an audit or produce documentation to prove compliance. Nevertheless, audits happen on a regular basis. With an ERP system in place, a business can more easily collect proof that their operations are compliant. At the same time, the ERP can produce documents that satisfy audit trail expectations.

How does this affect the organization’s productivity? Any executive who’s gone through even an average, three-month long audit knows the time that’s directly involved. Plus everyone’s usually on pins and needles waiting to hear back from the auditors. As a result, effectiveness and efficiency levels plummet until the audit has passed. So it’s much better to have audit and compliance information handy to smooth this process.

5. ERPs make adapting to changing ecosystems possible.

As the year 2020 proved, no company has the ability to predict the future. Nonetheless, all companies can protect themselves by remaining as nimble as possible. Being able to shift and pivot quickly can mean the difference between surviving or closing.

Customized ERPs improve organizations’ abilities to stay ahead of the learning curve. With an ERP in place, people can spend less time worrying about how one workflow will affect another. After all, the workflows happen together as part of the company’s “bigger picture” objectives. This means that businesses with ERPs are able to make changes interdepartmentally since they’ve already de-siloed operations.

Is ERP Integration the Right  Fit for Every Company?

All companies want to improve their team members’ collective productivity levels for obvious reasons. The more productive an organization can be, the more competitive it can become within its industry. However, ERP integration isn’t for every business. ERPs require executive support, effort, training, and financial resources. Resultantly, some corporations may decide to tackle their productivity concerns in other ways.

On the other hand, for enterprises that embark on full-fledged ERP integration, the sky becomes the limit. Once people aren’t held back by clunky processes, they’re able to achieve their fullest potential. This could mean an enormous swing in efficiencies—not to mention tons of new opportunities available to everyone.

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