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When you search for “ERP” on the web, the sheer amount of information that comes up can be overwhelming—not to mention a little confusing. Every website seems to have its definition of ERP, and one ERP implementation can vary widely from the next. These differences, however, underscore the flexibility that can make ERP such a powerful business tool.
To get a deeper understanding of how ERP solutions can transform your business, it helps to get a better sense of what ERP is and how it works. Here’s a brief introduction to ERP and why it seems like everyone’s talking about it.
ERP Integrates Processes Across Business Functions
ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning, but even its full name doesn’t shed much light on what ERP is or what it does. For that, you need to take a step back and think about all of the various processes that are essential to running a business, including inventory and order management, accounting, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM), and beyond. At its most basic level, ERP software integrates these various functions into one complete system to streamline processes and information across the entire organization.
The central feature of all ERP systems is a shared database that supports multiple functions used by different business units. In practice, this means that employees in different divisions—for example, accounting and sales—can rely on the same information for their specific needs. Accelerate Business Performance using NetSuite Cloud ERP.
ERP Synchronizes Reporting and Automation
ERP software also offers some degree of synchronized reporting and automation. Instead of forcing employees to maintain separate databases and spreadsheets that have to be manually merged to generate reports, some ERP solutions allow staff to pull reports from one system. For instance, with sales orders automatically flowing into the financial system without any manual re-keying, the order management department can process orders more quickly and accurately, and the finance department can close the books faster. Other common ERP features include a portal or dashboard to enable employees to quickly understand the business’ performance on key metrics.
A Brief History of ERP
The term ERP was coined in 1990 by Gartner, but its roots date to the 1960s. Back then, the concept applied to inventory management and control in the manufacturing sector. Software engineers created programs to monitor inventory, reconcile balances, and report on status. By the 1970s, this had evolved into Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems for scheduling production processes.
In the 1980s, MRP grew to encompass more manufacturing processes, prompting many to call it MRP-II or Manufacturing Resource Planning. By 1990, these systems had expanded beyond inventory control and other operational processes to other back-office functions like accounting and human resources, setting the stage for ERP as we’ve come to know it.
Today, ERP has expanded to encompass business intelligence (BI) while also handling “front-office” functions such as sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation and eCommerce. With these product advancements and the success stories coming out of these systems, companies in a broad range of industries—from wholesale distribution to eCommerce—use ERP solutions.
Moreover, even though the “e” in ERP stands for “enterprise,” high-growth and mid-size companies are now rapidly adopting ERP systems. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions—also referred to as “cloud computing”—have helped fuel this growth. Cloud-based solutions not only make ERP software more affordable; they also make these systems easier to implement and manage. Perhaps even more importantly, cloud ERP enables real-time reporting and BI, making them even valuable to executives and staff seeking visibility into the business.
As a result, companies of all sizes and a wide range of industries are transitioning to cloud ERP systems. Forrester predicts that SaaS-based ERP adoption will rise 21 percent annually through 2015.2 When you stop to consider the benefits of ERP, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular and why its use will continue to grow so rapidly.
The Business Value of ERP
At its core, ERP helps employees do their jobs more efficiently by breaking down barriers between business units. More specifically, an ERP solution:
Gives a global, real-time view of data that can enable companies to address concerns proactively and drive improvements.
Real-Time Business Intelligence Across the Enterprise
Getting an accurate view of the business is challenging. Information is stored across multiple, disparate systems and manually based data management processes are time- consuming and error-prone. From the executive level to the front lines, effective decision-making is compromised without reliable, timely data.
NetSuite Business Intelligence provides the power of built-in, real-time dashboards, reporting and analysis across all the integrated processes within the software suite. Realizing true value-added insights, business users gain real-time visibility to identify issues, trends, and opportunities and instantly drill down to the underlying transaction to take action.
- Real-time transparency into company performance across all business functions — from summary level to transaction level.
- A single version of the truth with all of your data residing in a single source.
- Self-serve, personalized experience with easy-to-use reporting tools without requiring programming or technical resources.
- On-the-go access via web browser and mobile device.
Improves financial compliance with regulatory standards and reduces risk with The #1 Cloud Financial Management Solution
Used by thousands of organizations worldwide, NetSuite’s financial management solution expedites daily financial transactions, accelerates the financial close and ensures compliance. Our cloud-based single platform architecture ensures complete real-time visibility into the financial performance of the business from a consolidated level down to the individual transactions.
NetSuite financial management seamlessly integrates with all NetSuite order management, inventory, CRM and eCommerce functions to streamline critical business processes.
Finance and Accounting
NetSuite’s cloud finance and accounting solutions seamlessly couple core accounting functionality with real-time financial visibility and business insights to drive financial excellence.
NetSuite’s billing management capabilities integrate your sales, finance and fulfillment teams—improving accuracy, eliminating billing errors, strengthening revenue recognition processes and driving fulfillment accuracy and efficiency.
NetSuite’s revenue recognition management solution helps companies comply with accounting standards and report financial results promptly.
Shorten cycle times, engage business users and enrich your planning process with intuitive planning, budgeting, and forecasting solution.
From reporting and analytics to insight and decision-making, gain a more complete picture of your business on-demand and in real-time.
Global Accounting and Consolidation
NetSuite provides unprecedented “close to disclose” capabilities that accelerate close time, maximize transparency and ensure compliance.
NetSuite Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) solution addresses the issues of corporate governance, enterprise risk management, and effective corporate compliance with technology and processes.
Close with Confidence
Accelerate the financial close and maintain compliance with accounting standards.
Report with Accuracy
Drill down into underlying details and understand the impact to your business.
Improve performance with real-time metrics and role-based dashboards.
Automates core business operations such as lead-to-cash, order-to-fulfillment, and procure-to-pay processes in Global Business Management in the Cloud
Effortlessly Take Your Business Global with OneWorld
The modern company must be data-driven, innovative and able to scale and respond to market dynamics rapidly. NetSuite OneWorld delivers a real-time, unified global business management platform for enterprises that manages multinational and multi-subsidiary operations at a fraction of the cost of traditional on-premise ERP solutions. NetSuite OneWorld helps global businesses improve operational efficiency by delivering real-time visibility and consolidation and providing the flexibility to customize the solution for specific corporate and subsidiary needs.
OneWorld addresses the complex multinational and multi-company needs of global organizations. You can adjust for currency, taxation and legal compliance differences at the local level, with regional and global business consolidation and roll-up.
OneWorld allows you to conduct eCommerce around the globe with multi-language, multi-currency, multi-country and multi-brand web stores that all can be run and managed from a single NetSuite system. You can manage web stores worldwide—each in their location-specific language and currency.
Global Services Resource Planning
OneWorld Services Resource Planning (SRP) streamlines the complete services lifecycle from marketing to project management, service delivery, billing and revenue management—and helps you drive repeat business from existing clients.
Global Business Intelligence
OneWorld provides real-time visibility across your entire enterprise, enabling unprecedented access to financial, customer and business data worldwide. It provides multiple levels of consolidated reporting and enterprise-wide Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), displayed in real-time on dashboards.
NetSuite helps companies manage global operations including multiple currencies, taxation rules and reporting requirements across geographies and subsidiaries while providing real-time financial consolidation and visibility.
Global Business Management Platform
Enables the effortless management of multiple subsidiaries, business units, and legal entities.
Real-time Access Anywhere
Provides real-time global business insight. Access NetSuite from anywhere in the globe.
OneWorld has been built to support both global standard and country-specific audit and tax regulations.
Enhances customer service by providing one source for billing and relationship tracking and Grow Your Company in the Cloud with NetSuite CRM
- Sales Force Automation
- Customer Service Management
- Marketing Automation
- Partner Relationship Management
NetSuite’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the only cloud solution that delivers a real-time, 360-degree view of your customers. NetSuite CRM provides a seamless flow of information across the entire customer lifecycle—from lead through opportunity, sales order, fulfillment, renewal, upsell, cross-sell and support.
In addition to offering traditional CRM capabilities such as SFA, customer service management and marketing automation, NetSuite CRM delivers quotes, order management, commissions, sales forecasting, and integrated eCommerce capabilities.
- Streamlines lead-to-cash processes.
- Elevates productivity across the organization with a 360-degree view of customers.
- Improves sales performance through forecasting, upsell and commission management and more.
- Helps you manage global sales and services organizations.
When you add up these advantages, the value of ERP—particularly cloud ERP—is clear. With an ERP solution, employees have access to accurate information that enables them to make better decisions faster. Not only that, but ERP software helps to eliminate redundant processes and systems, dramatically lowering the cost of doing business overall.