The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on many businesses. Major companies filed for bankruptcy, with some of them closing several of their operations. Reports state that more than 100,000 small enterprises were forced out of business for good.
If your business is still afloat, it can be tempting to be cautious and just wait and see what happens. Not doing anything now can, however, lead to ruin.
You can instead take this opportunity to assess your business and see how you can adopt information technology (IT) innovations to improve it. With everything on a downtrend, there is nothing to lose and much to gain by being proactive.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
If your business is still using manual processes, you are vulnerable to high rates of error and inaccurate data. If you are using different applications for different departments, it takes longer to create the integrated reports that you need to make business decisions. Outdated or inadequate IT systems bog you down.
There is a way to seamlessly integrate and standardize your different departments or business areas in a central database. You can use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software such as the SAP Business One integration platform, where each department constitutes a module that contributes data to the database and extracts data from it as well. The system provides a dashboard, automation, analytics, graphs, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help in decision-making.
With an ERP, everyone in the company can access the same up-to-date information at any time, as needed. You can cross-reference data and generate various types of reports immediately, gaining insights from data analytics. You can also customize automated alerts for certain results of data analysis. For instance, when a sale is made, it can trigger a delivery schedule and update the inventory. You can set up an alert if data shows that the inventory is now at a low level.
The ERP can be based totally on a data center on company premises, with your staff responsible for installing the software and maintaining both the hardware and software.
It can be based fully on your service provider’s cloud platform, with the inclusion of all maintenance services, as well. Some companies use a hybrid or two-tier ERP system, with some applications and data on the premises and some on the cloud. All companies, from small enterprises to multinational corporations, can use ERP software. Since it is based on a modular system, it can be customized based on a company’s needs and budget.
This has become popular among businesses because it means they do not have to pay to purchase and maintain their own IT infrastructure. They can just rent everything on-demand from a service provider, including tools and applications such as software, data storage, databases, networking, and servers. Everything can be accessed online if there is Internet connectivity.
During the pandemic, cloud services are being used in several ways, such as contact tracing, remote medical consultations, working from home, and home delivery services.
There are several types of cloud computing that a business can use, besides ERP. The choice depends on a company’s needs.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offers cloud-based IT infrastructure for rent so that businesses can avoid costly and labor-intensive purchase and maintenance of physical hardware on their premises. Having on-site infrastructure involves not just the purchase of equipment. It also entails creating an in-house team or the hiring of outside consultants to maintain it around the clock and ensure that it is always up to date.
IT is evolving quickly, and using IaaS also means a business will not lose money replacing its equipment with the latest innovation or as the company’s needs change. It can simply change what IaaS solutions it needs to avail of.
Software as a service (SaaS) offers cloud-based software that a business can access online. It does not have to be installed on every computer in the company. Users have unique logins and you can control the level of access you give each of them. The service provider takes care of software maintenance, compliance, and security.
Platform as a service (PaaS) offers cloud-based hardware and software tools that developers use to build customized software and applications. This is for businesses that are creating tailored applications. They do not need to invest in the hardware and software to do so. The company only needs to provide the brains to create, test, and deploy its application.
Stay on Trend
You are doing your business a disservice if you are not taking advantage of available IT innovations to upgrade your efficiency.
IT tools such as ERP, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS will ramp up your company’s capabilities and increase profit. Update your company’s use of IT to keep up with the times and the competition. It can save your company in this downturn.