The future of Enterprise Resource Planning

As hefty as the acronym may be, ERP is a light and easy way to remove business complexity and improve operational capability


Gartner defines the concept of finance-first as one that allows for the organisation to transform its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform with purpose. With a focus on improving how the business manages its insights and strategises its overall modernisation. It’s an approach that can pay immense dividends. Those companies that put strategy at the forefront of technology investment are more likely to experience sustainable and long-term value from these investments. This is particularly true of ERP as this is, as McKinsey puts it, a ‘complex, lengthy and expensive process’ that can often face failure.


Why the finance-first ERP approach


It is also why it’s critical for organisations to take an intelligent, finance-first approach to ERP. This approach is far more likely to support the business as it deals with an operating environment that’s both fast and furious.  To achieve this, the business needs to look at ERP and its implementation through several different lenses, the first being transparency. A well-established ERP platform provides the organisation with essential insights into operations, processes, spend and systems. This in turn allows the business to make incremental and intelligent changes that will fundamentally improve and streamline these processes and systems. It will ensure that the organisation has the foresight it needs to unlock the second lens – agility.


Your ERP should add value


With a finance-first approach to ERP, companies aren’t hindered by the logistical chains that can often impact on their growth. These can be anything from fractured decision making across the decision-maker chain, to poor visibility that limits budget, spend and prioritisation. If there’s line of sight then there’s more likely to be cohesion, and if there’s cohesion, it’s more likely that companies will be able to take a modern, incremental, and stable approach to ERP implementation. And this is key – ERP is traditionally perceived as a – as Gartner puts it – monolithic implementation. Many companies see it as rarely justifiable in terms of expense and time. Being able to realise its full potential without having to climb on the treadmill, means companies gain the value without losing market traction.


ERP and finance unity


When ERP and finance form a holistic ecosystem, each enabling the other, then organisations can potentially transform how finance operates. This will also enable the business to leverage the insights it offers to transform it. As Deloitte points out in the Wall Street Journal, ERP-enabled finance unlocks a huge benefit. It allows for teams to engage with many stakeholders across different areas of the business to better serve the business as a whole.


Fortunately, the industry has been paying attention. ERP solutions and platforms such as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Financial System (D365FO) have been designed to fit specifically within this niche. It is an offering that provides companies with the ability to improve operations one step at a time. As they say, the best way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time. This level of intelligent implementation allows for organisations to take the ERP bites they need without having to swallow the entire beast whole, at once.


The results of a finance-first ERP approach


By taking a finance first approach to ERP implementation, organisations can then comprehensively:


  1. Refine their finance functions
  2. Provide relevant insights and visibility to stakeholders
  3. Track insights that can fundamentally shift business decision making,
  4. And improve bottom line transparency.


They can do all this from the outset while ensuring that nobody will get left behind.

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