44155179_SThere are so many different applications that promise to make work better. Just consider these situations: trying to keep up with the latest accounting software, finding a new way to incorporate video conferencing, tracking instant communication with your colleagues or trying to choose one way to service your e-commerce website.

Sound familiar? The stress to keep up with and stay up-to-date on the latest technology is taking away from your core business functions. An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can mitigate that stress and transform your business.

An ERP is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It is customizable for each individual company’s needs, and it provides the flexibility to incorporate your business’s priorities. That means that if you need an e-commerce site above all else, an ERP can integrate the sales tools necessary to smoothly process orders, collect invoices and get paid. Or if you need a top-notch communication tool to keep all of your employees connected and on task, no matter where in the world they are, an ERP allows you to go mobile and gives you solutions for enterprise email, video conferencing and shared documents.

The ability to integrate your company’s processes throughout your business and all of its functions is vital to keeping up in a global, 24/7 market. Running a business takes a lot of processes, and all need to be running smoothly for success. If any one process is out of whack, the rest of the chain could experience a delay or, even worse, come to a complete halt.

A typical business has multiple different software applications that it uses for each of its departments. This leads to many inefficiencies, especially when one application cannot communicate with the others. Employees often come up with workarounds to combat these inefficiencies. However, a typical workaround does not align with how their software is supposed to work and often leads to extra time and energy — and bureaucracy — which leads to lost productivity and worse yet, low morale.

How do you know when it is time to upgrade to an ERP and integrate your software to incorporate your entire business? Here are three common pain points that a company might experience before moving to an integrated system.

The IT department is stretched thin.

One reason why many companies choose an ERP is to alleviate the stress and time that its IT department faces. Without an integrated system, an IT professional must maintain several different systems, stretching their resources very thin.

If any one system encounters a problem, they must focus squarely on a single task. So, not only do you have a problem in one area, but you no longer have oversight on all of the other areas of your business. If another problem arises, your IT department now must prioritize which issue has the bigger impact on the business’s core functions. But if both issues are critical to your company’s processes, the added stress to mitigate all of the problems may slow down the fix. Once those issues are fixed, though, another one will come up and start the cycle all over again.

This cycle feels like you are always reacting to a problem, instead of being proactive before the issue can arise. With an integrated system, an issue can be easily identified and fixed across the enterprise and it streamlines any future processes in your company.

Different departments use different applications.

If your company is like a typical business, each department tracks and stores information in its own process. Collaborating across departments can be cumbersome when each communicates differently. The worst-case scenario is losing customers because of a bad experience at any stopping point they face in the process.

Does the order taking entry point flow seamlessly to the order fulfillment stage? Do orders get shipped in a timely manner? If there is a problem, how does your customer service department communicate that issue with the rest of the company? When each process operates in an independent silo, the chance of a breakdown in communication increases.

Not only can this complicate communication between departments of the same company, it can also lead to inefficiencies. On one system, your entire organization can communicate in the same way and track a project from start to finish. If an issue pops up, it can be flagged immediately and be addressed quickly, saving time, energy and money. This also ensures that no information is being lost in any cracks, so that you can accurately record and track everything that your business does.

Your business is not growing.

The biggest pain point a professional can face is that their business is not gaining momentum, increasing revenue and expanding its footprint. The first step is making sure that all systems internally are running smoothly, which means integrating into one system and having greater control over all aspects of your business.