In my recent meeting with one of my corporate client, we were discussing the issues that his company was facing and my first reaction to all of his problems were that why aren’t they using the Microsoft ERP Solution to overcome the short comings.
Many of the people are unaware of the fact that ERP can be solution to their complex tasks of daily routine. Moreover ERP is a very big Term, and utilizing all of its features is obviously not the solution, because ERP comes with a price. The main insight of using it is that you utilize its features completely and fully step by step; and leave the features which are not applicable to the company.
Before deciding which enterprise to go with its important that you understand that what an ERP Application can offer you and at what price. Deciding the ERP Solution heavily depends on its Licensing cost and its feature sets. This article will cover the Feature sets of ERP and Microsoft Offerings of ERP.
1 What is Enterprise
Enterprise software is an over-arching term for any software used in large organizations (whether business or government). Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. Such organizations would include businesses, schools, interest-based user groups, clubs, charities, or governments. Enterprise software is an integral part of a (computer-based) information system.
ERP is usually referred to as a category of business-management software — typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organization can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from these many business activities.
2 Services Provided by Enterprise Software
The Services provided by the Enterprise Software varies from business to business but if we go through the features provided by some of the great ERP Product planners, following are some of them:
- Interactive product catalogue: Management of All the products related activities, like its stock, barcode scanning, product features and attributes.
- Enterprise content management: Enterprise content management (ECM) is a formalized means of organizing and storing an organization’s documents, and other content, that relate to the organization’s processes.
- Customer relationship management: Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential customers. It uses data analysis about customers’ history with a company and to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention and ultimately driving sales growth.
- Enterprise resource planning: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology.
- Business intelligence: Business Intelligence (BI) comprises the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. BI technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations
- Project management: Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.
- Human resource management: Human resource management (HRM or HR) is the management of human resources. Commonly referred to as the HR Department [by whom?], it is designed to maximize employee performance in service of an employer’s strategic objectives.
- Online shopping and online payment processing (Retail) : This feature of ERP is responsible to manage all the activities related to Retail, Which includes the product management, product stocks in ware house, payment processing, Online Portal or Mobile Apps for Online Shopping.
- Enterprise application integration and Enterprise Form Automation: The Enterprise application must be Integra table with the third party tools and must allow the Configuration or customization for form automation.
These are some set of features that makes the ERP system to produce better results for the company.
2.1 Characteristics of an Enterprise Software:
In order to understand ERP beyond the services, it important to know, how the ERP will be performing when deployed in premises or used over the cloud. ERP systems typically include the following characteristics:
- An integrated system
- Operates in (or near) real time
- A common database that supports all the applications
- A consistent look and feel across modules
- Installation of the system with elaborate application/data integration by the Information Technology (IT) department, provided the implementation is not done in small steps
2.2 Functional & Technical Areas of Enterprise Software:
As I have mentioned before, ERP itself .An ERP system covers the following common functional areas. In many ERP systems these are called and grouped together as ERP modules:
- Finance & Accounting: General Ledger, Fixed Assets, payables including vouchering, matching and payment, receivables Cash Management and collections, cash management, Financial Consolidation
- Management Accounting: Budgeting, Costing, cost management, activity based costing
- Human resources: Recruiting, training, rostering, payroll, benefits, retirement and pension plans, diversity management, retirement, separation
- Manufacturing: Engineering, bill of materials, work orders, scheduling, capacity, workflow management, quality control, manufacturing process, manufacturing projects, manufacturing flow, product life cycle management
- Order Processing: Order to cash, order entry, credit checking, pricing, available to promise, inventory, shipping, sales analysis and reporting, sales commissioning.
- Supply chain management: Supply chain planning, supplier scheduling, product configurator, order to cash, purchasing, inventory, claim processing, and warehousing (receiving, put away, picking and packing).
- Project management: Project planning, resource planning, project costing, work breakdown structure, billing, time and expense, performance units, activity management
- Customer relationship management: Sales and marketing, commissions, service, customer contact, call center support — CRM systems are not always considered part of ERP systems but rather Business Support systems (BSS).
- Data services : Various “self–service” interfaces for customers, suppliers and/or employees
3 How Enterprise Evolved
The history of ERP’s are not too old, The Gartner Group first used the acronym ERP in the 1990s, where it was seen to extend the capabilities of material requirements planning (MRP), and the later manufacturing resource planning (MRP II), as well as computer-integrated manufacturing. Without replacing these terms, ERP came to represent a larger whole that reflected the evolution of application integration beyond manufacturing.
3.1 Traditional ERP
ERP systems experienced rapid growth in the 1990s. Because of the year 2000 problem and the introduction of the euro that disrupted legacy systems, many companies took the opportunity to replace their old systems with ERP.
ERP systems initially focused on automating back office functions that did not directly affect customers and the public. Front office functions, such as customer relationship management (CRM), dealt directly with customers, or e-business systems such as e-commerce, e-government, e-telecom, and e-finance—or supplier relationship management (SRM) became integrated later, when the Internet simplified communicating with external parties.
3.2 Modern ERP
Developers now make more effort to integrate mobile devices with the ERP system. ERP vendors are extending ERP to these devices, along with other business applications. Technical stakes of modern ERP concern integration—hardware, applications, networking, supply chains. ERP now covers more functions and roles—including decision making, stakeholders’ relationships, standardization, transparency, globalization, etc.
4 Reasons you need Enterprise
Following are the reasons that you need an enterprise
- ERP can improve quality and efficiency of the business. By keeping a company’s internal business processes running smoothly, ERP can lead to better outputs that may benefit the company, such as in customer service and manufacturing.
- ERP supports upper level management by providing information for decision making.
- ERP creates a more agile company that adapts better to change. It also makes a company more flexible and less rigidly structured so organization components operate more cohesively, enhancing the business—internally and externally.
- ERP can improve data security. A common control system, such as the kind offered by ERP systems, allows organizations the ability to more easily ensure key company data is not compromised.
- ERP provides increased opportunities for collaboration=. Documents, files, forms, audio and video, emails. Often, each data medium has its own mechanism for allowing collaboration.=
5 Microsoft Enterprise Stack
Now by knowing the insights of the ERP, I think we are able to judge the Microsoft Offerings of ERP .In computing, Microsoft Dynamics is a line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software applications. Microsoft Dynamics forms part of “Microsoft Business Solutions” Dynamics can be used with other Microsoft programs and services, such as SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365, Azure and Outlook. The Microsoft Dynamics focus-industries are retail, services, manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector. Microsoft Dynamics offers services for small, medium, and large businesses
Microsoft Dynamics ERP includes the following primary products:
5.1 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (formerly Dynamics AX)
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (formerly Dynamics AX) – multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning (ERP) business software with global business management features for financial, human resources, and operations management as well as additional industry capabilities for retailers, professional service industries, financial service businesses, manufacturers, and public-sector organizations.
5.2 Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains Software)
Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains Software) – ERP software for small and midsize businesses: helps manage financials, supply chain, and employees.
5.3 Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision)
Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) – business management solution that helps small and mid-sized businesses manage their financials, supply chain, and people. It features multiple languages and multiple currencies.
5.4 Microsoft Dynamics SL
Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon IV) – designed for project-driven organizations in North America. Business management software that supports future business growth.
5.5 Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customer relationship management application from Microsoft that provides sales, service, and marketing capabilities. Microsoft sells Microsoft Dynamics CRM separately from the ERP products. CRM is available either as on-premises software or as a software-as-a-service offering called “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online”.
The Following charts Explains the Evolution of Microsoft ERP Stack