For many CFOs, the term “ERP” portends a bloated and unwieldy set of manufacturing applications developed in the 1990’s for a burgeoning global economy. Indeed, FSN’s research, “The Future of the Finance Function”, highlights that 52% of finance professionals spent too much time managing and resolving basic transaction processing. But a new era of ERP, born in the cloud, i.e. developed specifically for the cloud (rather than re-engineered for the cloud) is set to open up new vistas of opportunities, greater agility and more confident control of data.
Present day ERP is a far cry from the basic transaction processing engines of a decade or two earlier. In that time the emphasis was on straight-through-processing of transactions from the initial manufacturing process, through materials requirements planning, shop floor capacity planning, routing and invoicing. But today’s manufacturers are facing different and more challenging demands. Right first-time processing is a given, but now the emphasis is on data to drive decisions all the way from the shop floor to the board room.
With true cloud vendors such as Rootstock doing all of the heavy lifting, such as keeping the software relevant and on trend, as well as maintaining and operating all of the applications, as well as ensuring sufficient processing capacity, manufacturers can give their undivided attention to the business.
Applications provided by innovative vendors such as Rootstock have expanded the profile of ERP. For example, CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) allows prospective customers to be tracked from the earliest beginnings of the relationship, helping finance business partners to predict demand and track customer behaviour. And at the other end of the spectrum, new capabilities in service and warranty management help manufacturers establish new service revenue streams and build enduring customer relationships.
But within this wide spectrum of capability, is a precious repository of data. Unlike ERP systems of old with their bolted-on applications and duplicated data, innovative vendors such as Rootstock have developed a new generation of ERP which is built around a unified environment and a common processing platform in which data objects can be shared by all applications ensuring consistent data and a consistent user experience.
FSN research repeatedly illustrates the pre-eminent importance of maintaining a coherent and well controlled data set. Separate studies, both this year and last year, highlight that “data mastery” is crucial to supporting exceptional business partnering and innovation. In both cases, well-controlled data liberates the time that the modern finance function needs to devote to innovation and supporting the business.
You can read more about these innovations by downloading your personal copy of the Rootstock Innovation Showcase from here.
By Gary Simon
FSN Chief Executive and Leader of the Modern Finance Forum on LinkedIn.