ERP trends for 2017: Agile, web-based platforms among the top

Legacy software systems are holding businesses back

The businesses you advise are likely facing a number of challenges in 2017. Not only is the industrial and political landscape evolving, but there are rapid advancements in technology, and continuously growing customer expectations to deal with as well. That’s why leveraging technology identified amongst the ERP trends for 2017 is so important.

To overcome these challenges, businesses need to pull out all the stops to increase efficiency, grow revenue, and minimise unnecessary costs – and as an advisor, you play a big role in helping your clients succeed in this arena and enabling them to take advantage of key ERP trends for 2017.

However, more and more we see businesses being held back not by lack of good advice, but by legacy ERP software – outdated technology that prevents them from reaching their full growth potential.

Which is where you can step in…

Legacy systems and their crippling hold on businesses

Legacy ERP software systems can be clunky, complicated, but above all costly to maintain. Not only do companies find it difficult to upgrade their software, but it’s also almost never economically viable to do so, requiring astronomical customisation fees and a disruption in day-to-day operations.

The constraints of legacy software make it nearly impossible for businesses to remain agile and adaptable to changes in the market or evolving customer needs – a necessity in 2017.

But most businesses are wising up. They have realised that they no longer need outdated legacy systems to be able to get a powerful ERP platform that gives visibility and control over all aspects of the business.

ERP Trends 2017

Agile, integrated, and web-based platforms are among the top ERP trends for 2017

According to TechTarget, SMEs are increasingly realising the transformative power of flexible ERP platforms that combine both agility and functionality.

Have you updated your software offerings to keep up with the ERP trends for 2017? If not, as a professional services provider, you are likely to be missing out on opportunities to serve your existing customers better and to win more clients as well.

Explore the new breed of ERP – flexible, affordable, but powerful – and provide your clients and prospects with a software offering that can meet their 2017 expectations.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software – affordable and powerful ERP for SMEs

HARMONiQ is one ERP platform that can provide your clients with an integrated platform for financials, inventory, sales and marketing.

An already robust platform, HARMONiQ continues to add features that are indispensable for their users in 2017.

To give you an idea of what we’ve got planned for 2017, you can browse through a small sample of the updates below.

ERP Trends for 2017


HARMONiQ Web Client – Coming very soon!

One of our most exciting features is the preview of the HARMONiQ Web Client. Meaning you’ll soon be able to get the full HARMONiQ experience in a web browser, allowing for more live accessibility and simpler deployment. We have made amazing progress on the web client platform and you’ll be able to see a preview in the second half of 2017. Be one of the first to see the browser-based HARMONiQ in action. Register your interest in previewing the features here

How HARMONiQ plans to keep up with the top ERP trends for 2017:

 

Q1 2017

 

Office 365 Support

You’ll get improved support for Microsoft’s cloud based implementation of Excel, Word and Outlook.

HARMONiQ Mobile for IOS

The mobile platform will be made available to you on both iPhone and Android in this quarter.

Exchange & Office 365 Calendar Integration

You’ll now enjoy two-way integration with Exchange and Office 365 for employee and user calendars and task lists, including:

  • CRM Appointments
  • Job Scheduling
  • Tasks

Q2 2017

 

HARMONiQ Business Battle-cards

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are an extremely useful tool in monitoring the health of a business. HARMONiQ is collecting a lot of data about the operation of a business and our new battle-card system will present a visual representation of a series of key indicators and how they compare with other periods to identify positive and negative trends in:

  • Revenue growth;
  • Net Margin;
  • Operating profit;
  • Payroll %; and
  • Conversion rate

Battle cards will be definable based on custom SQL queries although we will plan to publish a standard set of KPIs based on feedback from our customers.

New General Ledger Analysis Levels

You’ll now have access to an additional 3 levels of analysis to all our General ledger processing. This is an extension to the Cost Centre and Department analysis currently available, improving your ability to analyse more complex and layered businesses in the general ledger.

Supplier Self-Service Web Portal

As part of the HARMONiQ Commerce product, we will be adding the capability for Suppliers to login to their own section of a hosted HARMONiQ Commerce site to update details like due dates and expected quantities for orders placed with them.

Q3 2017

 

HARMONiQ Showroom Assistant

We will be adopting the HARMONiQ Commerce product for use in showroom situations.

Q4 2017

 

Calendar View

Allow any lists with a relevant date property to be displayed in a calendar. For example:

  • View orders by due date; or
  • View employee leave by department

Enhanced Management Accounts

We will be introducing a new spreadsheet-style management accounts editor which will allow for even more complex calculations, and a more free-form experience for users who like to modify their management accounts layouts.

Custom Email Actions

In 2015, we added the ability to preview, approve, and reject custom validation rule authorisation requests via email. This year we will extend this capability to allow you to design actions that can be triggered against an item from a user’s email. For example – approving leave requests, releasing an order for picking, approving a payment run. This feature (like the email authorisation) will require the web services module.


Find out more about the HARMONiQ Channel Partner Program. Download the Partner Information Pack here.

4 customer relationship management (CRM) mistakes Australian businesses are making

Customer Relationship Management software (CRMs) still remain a hotly debated topic amongst Australian businesses. Should you invest now, or is it a passing trend?

But hearing statistics like ‘a CRM can increase revenue by 41% per salesperson’ and ‘on average CRMs deliver a return of $8.70 for every $1 spent’* makes you wonder why so many businesses are missing out on the benefits of a CRM.

While it’s no doubt that a CRM is vital for any business serious about growth, it’s true that most CRM implementations go wrong. While working with many SMEs in Australia and NZ, I’ve had the chance to observe many of the mistakes they’ve made first hand – and been there to help them out of some.

If you’re thinking of implementing a CRM, here are 4 CRM mistakes to avoid making.  

(1/4 CRM Mistakes)
Forgetting the end-users: your sales team

It’s called customer relationship management software, but businesses often forget the actual users of the system – their sales team. One of the key CRM mistakes businesses are guilty of is choosing a system that’s inherently hard to use, or making the entry and upkeep of data in the system difficult and frustrating for their users.

Choose a CRM that’s built for ease, with functionality that’s irresistible for your salesforce.

While a great interface and useability are necessary, user-adoption also depends on how easily it fits into your optimal processes.  Some CRMs force users to enter superfluous data they don’t need.

A CRM like HARMONiQ can be easily configured to adapt to how your staff works. So for example, if your staff prefer minimal fields and a bare dashboard with just the assigned tasks for the week – that can easily be customised for your users.

CRM Mistakes #1 Choosing a CRM that is inherently hard or frustrating to use

(2/4 CRM Mistakes)
Under-selling the functionality of your CRM

Most business owners would know that it’s not enough to just install a CRM, give staff a log-in, and expect them to start using it religiously. What’s really needed is to train staff exactly what to do with all the functionality that is now at their fingertips.

Show your sales team how to use the data to close more deals, identify an opportunity that’s slipping away, and ensure they never miss a meeting or call. Show your managers how to use the data to coach their employees more effectively.

At HARMONiQ, we run user workshops as part of our implementation process. This ensures we get an understanding of the critical processes for the business, and the staff get visibility of what the system can achieve for them. We’ll then usually start by automating all the tasks the sales-team don’t want to do, or forget to do – like quote follow-ups, or ‘getting back in touch’ emails. We can also set up custom reports, workflows and dashboards to communicate the business critical information relevant to each user.

(3/4) CRM Mistakes
Neglecting the importance of the opportunity costs

Another one of the common CRM mistakes is looking at a CRM as one big upfront cost. It’s true, implementing a custom CRM is not cheap. But what many businesses fail to do is look at the opportunity cost of not implementing a CRM. I like to call this the ‘locked-up value’ of a business, for which a CRM is the key.

One of our customers, who was then still considering HARMONiQ, shared with me that the total value of all the quotes his sales team forgot to follow-up was over $1 million a year! A dollar value that could easily be sent directly to his bottom line with the right CRM features. Isn’t this a problem you would invest to fix?

Automating quote follow-up is one of the most popular customisations we include in our HARMONiQ implementations, but everything from replenishment orders, supplier follow-up, and more can be easily automated to save you millions in ‘locked-up’ costs.

CRM Mistakes #3 Not considering the opportunity cost of not implementing a CRM

4/4 CRM Mistakes
Isolating your CRM, instead of integrating it

A lot of businesses purchase a CRM as an add-on system for their sales or marketing teams to use. What they don’t realise is that they could be doubling or tripling the work their staff have to do.

A CRM that’s isolated from other systems in the business – like accounting or inventory – eventually becomes inaccurate. Unless you employ staff to manually update every record every time they make an order, or lodge a complaint, the data stored in your CRM becomes just a list of names.

The true power of a CRM comes when it’s fully integrated with all aspects of your business software. That’s when it becomes the one source of truth for your business, and is able to perform advanced forecasting and more accurate reporting – to help support your decisions.

An all-in-one solution like HARMONiQ will cover all aspects of your business, with one integrated platform for financials, inventory, sales, and marketing.

CRM Mistakes #4 Not integrating your CRM with other systems in the business

 

As you know, HARMONiQ is a powerful new platform brought to you by Micronet Systems, with plenty of in-built automation to really revolutionise the way you do things.

With HARMONiQ you can:

  • Reduce friction and increase user-adoption with a user-friendly platform with functionality that’s invaluable to sales and marketing staff;
  • Help managers get better visibility of your sales teams’ activities through automated reporting to improve KPI monitoring and coaching opportunities;
  • Configure simple and powerful workflows to unlock ‘locked-up value’ by ensuring you automate business critical tasks that aren’t needed to be performed manually;
  • Ensure a whole-of-business overview from one platform

If you’d like to find out how Australian and New Zealand businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve additional process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

 

Resources:
http://nucleusresearch.com/research/single/crm-pays-back-8-71-for-every-dollar-spent/