ERP systems are substantial business investments, yet their perceived value is often allowed to depreciate over time. Business owners and managers seem to accept application erosion as the norm, but good ERP systems are built to last. The problem lies not in the software, but in the way, it is used.
For your ERP system to pay dividends over the long term, it should be seen as an investment, but treated like an asset. A company vehicle makes for a good comparison:
When purchasing a delivery vehicle, you’re going to ensure that it’s suited to your business needs. For instance, if you’re moving frozen goods, you’re going to invest in a refrigerated fleet. Similarly, many standard ERP systems simply don’t meet the needs of customers who end up spending time and money on system modifications that just don’t work as well as they could, and potentially reduce the system’s agility and scalability. The bottom line: invest in an ERP system built for your industry.
You wouldn’t allow an unlicensed employee to drive your business vehicle. A license implies that the driver knows the rules of the road, how to operate the vehicle, and can make the trip from A to B on time and without incident. Similarly allowing an employee to use your ERP system without the required levels of competency puts your business at unnecessary risk. Thorough training and regular refreshers help ensure that your ERP is driven with the greatest amount of proficiency and efficiency.
Regular servicing and maintenance checks help to keep your fleet running well. Likewise, regular ERP audits can help to ensure that your system is being used to its full potential, providing you with the opportunity to deal with poor utilisation before it affects your business. Audits should ideally be performed annually, as a regular maintenance.
While your fleet might depreciate over time, the value of a purpose-built, expertly driven and well-maintained ERP system will do just the opposite. The more you use it, the more valuable it becomes.