If you are keen on learning how to become an effective manager, besides having problem-solving skills you should also be able to manage processes within the business efficiently. ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a business process management tool or software that assists any organization to use integrated software to manage and automate the majority of office functions.
Any type of company can use it and any department, from human resources to services and technology. Learn more about ERP and how you can learn how to use enterprise resource planning software in this guide.
What Is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?
ERP or enterprise resource planning is a type of business management software that is critical to many processes within an organization. It enables users to manage, interpret, collect, and store data all in one place.
If you don’t have any project management skills or are looking to enhance your existing ones, learning ERP is a good place to start. Learning about ERP can help you become more employable.
What Is ERP Used For?
If you work at a large organization, say with over 1,000 employees, ERP is the glue that keeps everything together. It helps organize all types of computer systems across all departments. Sometimes, each department has its ERP built by the company’s software engineer.
Using an ERP system, employees can easily share information and communicate using one interface. This helps manage and organize the different departments in an organization more effectively.
Over the decades, ERP has come a long way, from physical to cloud-based servers offering remote Web-based access to multiple employees at the same time.
What Are the Advantages of an ERP System?
ERP systems are beneficial for many reasons. They can help your business run more smoothly, protect valuable information, automate processes and produce reports, all in one program.
- Complete visibility. Isn’t this what most companies (and clients) want? ERP software allows data to be accessed by anyone who needs it, from senior management to lower departments.
- Improved planning and reporting. A good ERP program will provide you with a lot of insight by producing a consolidated reporting system for each process. It can generate reports that are easy to read and do not involve the hassle of multiple spreadsheets and documents.
- Improved customer service. This is advantageous to the company and its clients. Because all of the clients’ data is in one place, sales and marketing teams can easily access their information. This allows the teams to quickly update their clients of any amendments to existing projects.
- Reduced IT costs. The software can be the most costly part of running a company. By using ERP, a company can save on software because it will not need to purchase other programs. The business can also cut back on IT support staff and infrastructure.
How Can ERP Benefit Departments Within a Company?
This type of software offers end-to-end solutions for all of the branches within an organization. Below, we will look at how ERP can help some specific departments.
- Makes all transactions and expenses visible to the accounting department
- Allows the company to automatically pay employees and contractors from one place
- Improves tax management
- Allows for easy budget creation
- Easy analysis of costs and assets
Customer Relationship Management
- Improves relationships between employees and clients
- Easy customer data all from one platform
- Uses data to allow for quick analysis of results of leads to target the best possible audience for your business
- Helps cut down on manual CRM tasks
- Increases ROI
- The central database allows you to record and store information of employees
- Marketing integration encourages employee retention using a benefits program
- Improves the efficiency and accuracy of payroll
- Helps manage recruitment and onboarding
- Maintain inventory and storage data
- Easily monitor stocks and losses
- Develop partnerships with suppliers
- Manage demand with easy forecasting
- More visible workflow allows for increased productivity
- Data is centralized
- Human errors are reduced
- Increased efficiency
Three Types of ERP Systems
ERP systems typically have both software and hardware components for processing data. Let’s look at the three types of ERP systems available for businesses.
These are more generalized systems that are very functional but cannot be customized. However, they provide a variety of modules to suit many types of businesses and can enhance operations tenfold.
If you are looking for a system that is broadly functional and will work for a large company, this is a good investment. The components are usually offered as a package deal by the manufacturer.
Typically, in the best-of-breed model, a company will purchase multiple types of software, choosing the program that is best suited for each department.
An early form of ERP, these start with a single functionality and allow the option to add other functions over time. This is a cost-efficient way of starting ERP because you can pick and choose what’s most necessary for your company.
If you operate a business that is at high risk of loss and handles highly sensitive data, modular ERP is a good solution.
If you want to stay up-to-date, this is your best choice. Having a Cloud ERP is much cheaper, and usually entails only a monthly subscription to allow your company continued access to the software. It also offers the most continuous development, with frequent updates to security features.
There are many different ways you can learn ERP implementation and how it plays an important part in enhancing business performance. As mentioned, you can use it in various sections of any modern-day enterprise and it can do wonders to improve business functions as a whole.
How Long Does It Take to Learn ERP?
Whether you are looking to work in the finance, human resources, or accounting department, it would generally take anywhere between six months to two years to learn everything about ERP systems and project implementation.
How to Choose the Best ERP System: Step-by-Step
This business management software program has become essential for companies that want to smooth out internal procedures. There are a few basic steps to implementing ERP correctly to make sure that it will benefit all aspects of your business.
- Identifying the problem. Companies face many issues daily, so it is important to identify the problem before selecting an ERP system. Then, you will know how to use your ERP framework to address the problem using your company’s collected data.
- Define the scope. Sometimes, many problems need to be addressed. According to statistics, 74 percent of projects exceed their budgets and 61 percent of solutions take longer than expected. Clearly defining what you will need from your ERP program is key to avoiding these delays.
- Evaluate options for customization. Most companies customize their ERP software, to increase the system’s success. Understanding the difference between the package configuration and customization will help you make sure the program is right for your company.
- Project Management and Testing. After you have evaluated your options, select the one best suited for the company. Make sure that training is provided to all employees as soon as possible. Remember that testing is always an important part of this process.
- Go live. Once your ERP package is double-checked, it is time to go live. After that, make sure to do regular software updates and periodic maintenance.
How to Learn ERP: The Best Online ERP Courses and Training
There are many ERP courses available online. By studying this software, you will get a better idea of why these systems are so important. By taking a class in ERP, you will also increase your chance of working in positions involving an ERP system.
The courses below will teach you how to use ERP, as well as some related skills. Some of the classes will help you find out what to look for when purchasing an ERP system, or teach you the best techniques for maintaining the system.
Let’s look at a few of the ERP courses offered by online learning institutions. Since ERP is a common type of program, you have many options for how you would like to learn it.
Best Online ERP Courses
- Provider: Oracle Online University
- Time: Varies
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Free
What better way to learn ERP than by tapping into the free online training provided by one of the oldest providers of these systems? Oracle has been around since 1977 and prides itself on providing professional development through its only online university and in-person training.
The course will teach you how to implement ERP applications and covers risk management. It also offers a certification at the end.
If you have any questions, Oracle’s FAQ page has all the answers to help you easily register for the company’s courses.
Several SAP’s ERP Training and Tutorials
- Provider: Lynda.com
- Time: Varies
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: First month free
Lynda.com provides many tutorials on how to use SAP’s ERP software, from the beginner level to more advanced techniques. Tap into this variety of video tutorials taught by industry experts.
- ERP Essential Training
- SAP Business One: Sales and Customer Service
- SAP BI/BW: Project Design and Implementation
- Learn about MRP and ERP planning systems
- SAP Financials Essential Training
- Learning SAP SD (Sales and Distribution)
- Provider: Udemy
- Time: 1 hour
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: From $15.80
Offered by massive open online course provider Udemy, this class covers the key components of SAP’s ERP program, including different modules and basic reporting. This is a good course if you want to get a basic understanding of SAP’s specific ERP program before using it at work.
- Provider: Guru99
- Time: Varies
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: Free (Subscription required)
Guru99 provides several courses on SAP’s ERP system, the majority of which are free. You can get an introduction to this ERP, learn all about the business suite SAP offers, and even get a certification from the company.
Best ERP Books
Learning online is popular, but there are other options if you’re not a tech-savvy person. Check out the hard copy and online books listed below if you’d like to start learning about ERP more traditionally.
Modern ERP: Select, Implement and Use Today’s Advanced Business Systems Third Edition, By Marianne Bradford
This book is all about modern ERP. It is a common resource for undergraduate or graduate students studying software. The book includes innovative graphics and ERP screenshots from the software to give you visual examples. Topics covered in the book include mobility, cloud computing, and business analytics, ERP security, risk management, and databases.
Enterprise Resource Planning Systems 2017: 12 Frequently Asked Questions About Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, By Brian Linuma and Eric Klauss
This book will help you to make sense of the sometimes complicated ERP systems out there. If you’re struggling with the concepts of ERP or are not sure how to customize yours, this book can help. It covers everything from artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things, to manufacturing applications.
Enterprise Resource Planning, By Mary Summer
This book provides an easy to understand approach to generic ERP systems and their relationship with other functional areas of management. It discusses changes in business processes, competitiveness, productivity, design and implementation, and supply chain management.
Should You Study ERP?
Whether you want to study ERPs from scratch, or are just looking to keep up to date with new and innovative business management systems, there are tons of benefits to taking an ERP course. We would highly recommend undergoing some level of training in these dynamic systems.
The more you learn about ERP, the more you will be able to improve your company’s productivity, resource management, and services. It is a highly sought after skill in many corporations. So, if you think you have it in you to learn an ERP system, then why wait?