Warning Signs that you need to change your ERP

 

erp change

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

6 Warning Signs that ERP Change Is Needed

Your ERP system is the scaffold of your business. It connects and supports all aspects of company activity and culture, so any ERP change should be well informed and researched. This research should be done on a case-by-case basis, during which you should look out for these key warning signs.

Major Business Changes

Any large-scale changes to a business will affect the suitability of your legacy ERP system to business needs. In many cases, legacy systems just aren’t appropriate following a major business change. During mergers and acquisitions, the collision of different company cultures and activities make a necessity of ERP change. Equally, changes in market and location can be difficult to integrate into an ERP system that was implemented on past requirements and specifications. For a legacy ERP system to survive these changes, it must be adaptable.

Poor User Experience

Your workforce’s experience with your ERP system is crucial to its success. They are the day-to-day users, and if they are not happy with legacy systems, it will impact on their work and your company’s profitability. In order to gain support from the workforce, ERP change must strike a delicate balance between an intuitive product and an innovative product. It must begin to incorporate important user trends such as mobile and bring your own device (BYOD) support while maintaining ease of use and low training costs.

Lack of Compliance

Nothing may drive ERP change – and business change – more than issues of compliance. Meeting regulatory requirements consistently and efficiently is not just a matter of company culture, it is often a matter of law. The compliance of an ERP system is directly affected by its age.

Vendor Growth Hacking

Perhaps a non-traditional warning sign for ERP change, growth hacking can be a dangerous business when it comes to ERP. Growth hacking involves the change in company products or activity based upon current market trends. This is a great thing if executed well. If executed poorly it can lead to poor products and lawsuits. Growth hacking in the ERP market can take the form of acquisitions from ERP vendors and new product functionality. Both should be treated with caution. How well integrated with my legacy system is the new product/functionality going to be? Is it going to cost me more? Do I need it? All these questions should be asked. The answers may provoke ERP change.

Spiraling Costs

No list of business variables would be complete without the cost. If your legacy ERP is beginning to seem like an endless sinkhole for company cash, ERP change may begin to look like a cost-saving exercise rather than an outlay. Whether direct (upgrades, support) or indirect (the need for manual processes), legacy ERP costs have the potential to dramatically affect your ROI and profitability.

Low Vendor Activity

When your ERP vendor activity drops, alarm bells should ring. A ‘vendor silence’ – characterized by a lack of product updates and correspondence – can be a warning sign that ERP change is needed. Unless you have the support and regular updates from your ERP vendor, your legacy ERP will become outdated, leading to issues with compliance and user-experience.

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How to win at retail digital transformation

digital

Resource Credit | Nick East, Progressive GrocerĀ 

Winning the grocery digital transformation game

Retailers in the grocery space all know that innovation is the name of the game to win in today’s increasingly digital-first environment. If grocers want to meet the demands of their customers, they have to adapt.

However, the integration of new channels and technologies in the grocery space is sometimes easier said than done. As grocers make their way through the industry’s competitive landscape, they face a slew of these types of obstacles on their way to innovation, but if they use their POS game piece effectively they can ultimately win at the digital grocery game.

Fulfillment options limited by legacy technology

The big challenge, particularly for major grocers, is deciding what range of purchasing and fulfillment options should be offered without alienating new and existing customers. When retailers consider the range of options available (staffed till, self-checkout, scan-and-go, click-and-collect, home delivery, frictionless baskets, frictionless carts, etc.) it’s essential that they take their time to trial and test their preferred options before making a hefty investment/

As grocers begin to analyze and plan new fulfillment implementations, it’s immediately evident that these decisions are not only complex but also heavily influenced by legacy technology capabilities and the substantial costs associated with implementing these new solutions.

On-site fulfillment versus off-site fulfillment

With online order fulfillment, grocers are weighing the options of investing in automated on-site fulfillment versus an off-site high-tech warehouse approach.

On the other hand, investing in an off-site high-tech warehouse enables retailers to promote long-term growth and expansion by allowing more space for inventory. For example, Kroger’s partnership with leading online supermarket Ocado to build a high-tech customer fulfillment center has enabled the company “to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.” The Kroger-Ocado partnership has digital and robotic capabilities that will help ramp up operations and accelerate growth in grocery commerce.

However, the high cost for more space, technology, and more employees may be out of reach for many retailers. That’s why other grocers are investing in automated on-site fulfillment instead, which gives them the ability to have all inventory in one place, saving additional facility costs. The on-site fulfillment inventory approach potentially gives retailers the advantage of shortening the lead time for fulfilling orders. With som many competing factors, it will take careful consideration to determine what’s right for each unique business need.

Growth of experiential shopping

A major recent shift in grocery is the growth of experiential shopping. The ability to provide personalized and fun experiences beyond traditional grocery shopping enables grocers to build increased brand loyalty and upsell more products and services while the customer is on-site.

Alibaba, which has created a chain of offline retail stores, Hema, to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. For example, customers using Hema’s mobile app can scan an item’s barcode on their smartphones and receive product information and recipe ideas. To build on the in-store experience, Alibaba also recently introduced a restaurant connected to a Hema store, where food is ordered entirely through an app and delivered by robots. These experiences have garnered attention worldwide, as Alibaba and Hema influence a shift toward experiential shopping in the US, even from 6,000 miles away.

Following in these footsteps, Texas grocer H-E-B has revealed plans to renovate an existing store with a beer garden, live music, underground parking, and even a food hall, all in the name of creating the best and most lasting customer experience/ Wegmans Food Markets has also transformed its stores into experiential destinations, featuring bookstores and dry cleaners not typically found in supermarkets.

POS as a common denominator

In all of these strategic decisions, the point of sale is a common denominator. Grocers will need to host a variety of point of sale options to support both fulfillment requests and experiential shopping. Whether these requests come from a fixed register, in the aisle, on a scan-and-go cart, in an outdoor beer garden/restaurant. on a mobile app or simply an online order, grocers need to ensure that the transaction process is standardized across all stores and ideally processed within the store environment to simplify account tracking. This provides both consistency of experience for the customer and true endless-aisle flexibility.

To achieve seamless online-offline integration isn’t simple, which is why virtualization at the retail edge – in the actual stores – is increasingly being explored. The reality is that more and more workloads will be required to run locally to provide the levels of secure, scalable technology required for efficient order fulfillment and fast transaction performance.

Virtualization of both front-of-store POS applications and back-of-store technology will meet the needs of the modern grocery store. Employees can quickly check out and fulfill customer orders across multiple devices, and customers can place orders across multiple channels, while the back-office IT runs all of these workloads efficiently with minimal manual intervention, resulting in less time spent on support and maintenance.

As retailers navigate the transformation to frictionless, convenient and interactive shopping experiences, they need to understand how virtualization of all store applications including the POS system can be the key foundation to driving digital transformation and delivering a platform for rapid innovation.

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What does farming in the digital age mean to Africa?

farming

Blog Written by | African Business Online

Farming in the digital age

“We need more young Africans to farm. Let’s give them the tools to do so,” writes Michael Hailu, director of the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA). It has long been clear that agriculture needs more young people, not only to secure Africa’s future food security but to modernize farming and keep pace with a changing world.

But what is it about agriculture that young people need. The answer may lie in the fresh opportunities created by digitalization.

New technologies are transforming farming systems across the world, including in developing countries. Innovations range from drones that help detect crop pests earlier to mobile systems that link previously “unbankable” smallholder farmers with vital financial services.

For the 12 million young people entering the workforce in Africa each year, this could all help make farming and food production much more appealing.

For starters, new and emerging technology means that agriculture does not have to involve the backbreaking labor endured by previous generations. Digital tools are helping to automate and streamline the more labor-intensive aspects of farming, making it more efficient and therefore, attractive – and viable – as a livelihood.

With the support of digital tools, “precision agriculture” can become efficient, allowing farmers to plant and cultivate their crops with greater accuracy. This means less time, effort, and inputs are wasted, and as a result, the economic appeal of agriculture is clearer.

Second, and with Africa facing a serious shortage of jobs for the increasingly young population, agriculture can provide opportunities lacking in rapidly urbanized areas.

More than 70 percent of registered digital users in Africa, for instance, are between 15 to 35 years old. By coupling this digital savviness with rural opportunities, young people can have an exciting and prosperous future.

Finally, these young people will no doubt be attracted to the new entrepreneurial possibilities and employment opportunities that digitalization brings, not just in food production but across the entire agricultural value chain.

These opportunities range from designing new platforms or software to making use of technology and creating access to new markets using blockchain.

One such example is the EzyAgric solution based in Uganda. The platform provides access to finance and markets for farmers and agribusinesses through a network of youth agents equipped with smartphones and other digital technology. It creates an employment opportunity for Uganda’s youth, at one end, and helps farmers improve yields and market access at the other.

Likewise, Wennovation Hub, or”WeHub”, is a Nigerian innovation platform that fosters innovation among Africa’s young entrepreneurs. It encourages them to tackle economic or social challenges head-on, through creating start-ups grounded in local problems and solutions.

And Afrimash, a digital marketplace, is one of these innovations. It provides a market for farmers to easily sell or buy their livestock, tools, and other quality inputs ranging from pesticides to fertilizers.

It is no wonder then, that development funding from across the world, from both private and public sector players, is already directed at supporting Africa’s young entrepreneurship – much of it within the agricultural space.

But digitalization for agriculture is not a silver bullet, and as we have seen, enabling policies, infrastructural investments and trained manpower will be essential to reach its potential.

That is why it is encouraging to see such an important event as the African Green Revolution Forum focusing on the digital innovations that can attract more young people into agriculture.

Youth may be the future, but they too need feeding. By combining next-generation technologies with the next generation, we can work towards a more food secure and environmentally sustainable future for everyone.

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