More companies are turning to the use of enterprise platforms to streamline their business processes, increase productivity, and decrease costs. According to Forrester Research, 25% of companies are looking to invest in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. And ERP isn’t the only thing businesses are investing in. Fobes says CRM is the leading enterprise software category, as the market is expected to reach $36.5 billion globally by 2017.
According to Aberdeen Group, investing in ERP provides accurate, real-time information about the day-to-day operations of of a company allows for faster, smarter decision making, resulting in a 23% reduction in operational costs, and a 22% reduction in administration costs. And according to studies from Nucleus Research, CRM yields an average of $8.71 in return on every dollar invested, and adding social and mobile capabilities allowed sales reps to increase productivity by 26.4%.
Eveready, the battery manufacturer, used ERP automation to handle ERP upgrades. The project 60% faster, while also saving $60,000 compared to what it would have cost to outsource the work.
Philips Lighting added digital voice technology and cloud storage into the CRM system data entry workflow, and resulted in a savings of 2,500 hours per month for the sales team. Each account representative saved an hour per day using voice technology instead of typing, and up to 600 records a day, or 13,200 per month could be updated faster, to serve clients better and generate new sales opportunities.
Enterprise platforms can be costly to operate, if they are not implemented and maintained correctly. In October 1999, Hershey’s issues with their SAP ERP, Siebel CRM, and Manugistics supply chain applications prevented the delivery of $100 million worth of Kisses for Halloween. The errors caused stock to decrease by 8%. It wasn’t until the following Halloween when Hershey’s was able to deliver candy that analysts began to trust the company again. Using automation can help maintain the system and prevent issues from occurring.
Applications to Improve Platform Usability
Modern ERP testing tools like panaya.com use an arsenal of ERP tools takes care of IT updates, patches, system management, and bug-tracking on a number of popular ERP solutions. This reduces the workload on your IT team so they can focus on developing new solutions to better serve you and your customers, and works particularly well for small businesses that do not have a dedicated IT team.
High availability and load balancing services improve server performance and reliability by distributing the traffic load across multiple servers to keep a website up and running even in times of high traffic. Using a content delivery network (CDN) stores your website’s content on multiple servers, and delivers the website from the server that’s closest to the user. This reduces site load time, and presents a better user experience.
Carbonite offers automatic data backup services. If servers or hard drives fail or are damaged as a result of theft, fire, flood, or other disaster situation, a business could lose thousands, if not millions of dollars as it tries to recover files, regain customer trust, and replace lost orders.
Azure Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is an automated cloud-based disaster recovery service from Microsoft. It helps to restore files in the event of a system error to keep your website up and running.
Data outages cost roughly $5,600 per minute, reaching in excess of $300,000 per hour, according to industry surveys. If your business cannot afford to take that hit – and less face it, most cannot – setup data backup and redundancies to keep servers up and running regardless of the potential for failure.
Small and medium sized businesses can use automation to significantly improve the user experience, both for customers, and employees in the IT department. For businesses without a dedicated IT department, it can help ensure the business continues to run smoothly with limited resources compared to companies running their own IT department. Automation ensures reliability and speed that users can count on, and reduces the tedious tasks for IT staff.