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Capturing the Power of Efficiency through Cloud ERP Investments


Capturing the Power of Efficiency through Cloud ERP Investments

Enterprises are standing at the threshold of a revolutionary era, poised to harness the transformative potential of cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. This isn’t just a technological shift; it’s a journey towards unlocking unparalleled efficiency. Join us as we embark on a voyage into the realm of Cloud ERP investments, where innovation converges with practicality to redefine the landscape of operational excellence.

Read also: Revolutionizing Fintech: The Integration of AI in ERP Systems

The Enterprise Resource Planning industry is undergoing a seismic shift from traditional on-premise setups to dynamic cloud implementations, driven by a myriad of compelling advantages. These include a reduction in total cost of ownership, streamlined implementation costs, and accelerated delivery of initial scope. Moreover, the transition promises expedited time-to-value, adoption of industry best practices, seamless upgrades ensuring business continuity, scalability, and a constant stream of innovation. Cloud ERP solutions, adorned with artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, and analytics, are reshaping operational paradigms and propelling businesses towards unprecedented heights.

However, navigating the complexities of cloud ERP implementations demands a meticulously structured approach to ensure success, return on investment (ROI), and desired business outcomes. These implementations unfold across various phases: preparation, exploration, realization, deployment, and operation. Given the protracted nature of these endeavors, which span multiple years contingent upon factors like company size, data volume, and business segments, certain phases may overlap.

In the preparatory phase, dubbed Phase 0, an exhaustive evaluation of ERP options is undertaken, aligning with the company’s unique business processes and software capabilities. This entails a meticulous inventory of legacy systems and applications, alongside an assessment of ERP integration capabilities. Depending on program size, select tasks may be outsourced to business integrators and system integrators, while internal teams, equipped with deep business process expertise, are forged to shepherd the cloud ERP implementation journey.

Strategy diversifies depending on company scale, whether operating within a single country with a global customer base or spanning multiple nations with diverse operational facets like factories, distribution centers, and outsourced manufacturing units. Here, product integrators, endowed with ERP system mastery, assume the mantle of design authority, ensuring seamless integration and operational excellence.

The exploration phase delves into existing business processes through fit-standard workshops, engaging stakeholders across diverse business realms such as plan-to-fulfill, source-to-procure, lead-to-cash, and beyond. The aim is twofold: discerning processes amenable to standardization while identifying gaps necessitating configuration, customization, or enhancement.

As the journey progresses into the realization phase, detailed functional and technical specifications crystallize into tangible custom solutions, meticulously coded to meet defined parameters. Deployment unfolds through iterative cycles of system integration testing, data migration, and comprehensive training programs, accompanied by robust change management initiatives to prepare personnel for the transformative shift.

The pinnacle of the deployment phase culminates in the transition from legacy systems to modernized cloud ERP platforms during the much-anticipated Go-Live event. Subsequently, meticulous hyper care attention ensures system stability, addressing any lingering issues, paving the way for the operational run phase, characterized by ongoing production support.

These delineated strategies serve as a compass to unlock the true potential of productivity and efficiency through judicious technological investments.

About S V Prasad Gandhikota

Prasad Gandhikota is a Senior Business Consultant at SAP America. As part of his role, he assists some of the best-known Fortune 500 companies across North America in their digital and business transformation programs as a trusted advisor. Prasad has held various leadership roles in supply chain manufacturing functional consulting, project management, and program delivery management. He has consistently demonstrated his capability to make sound operational decisions by delivering excellence throughout the customer transformation journey, impacting the entire company.


An ERP System can Help with Supply Chain Snafus

The pandemic has ended. This does not suggest that the world has returned to a pre-pandemic state. In fact, many sectors of the economy are still struggling, while others are continuing to adopt new and innovative measures to ensure the next pandemic does not ravage us like Covid did for nearly three years.

One of those measures is the adoption of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP systems are a lot of things, but what they are at their core is the glue that binds a company’s distinct systems together under a unified umbrella. One of the areas that was most affected by the pandemic was supply chains. By nature, supply networks are subject to a host of interruptions. This includes but is not limited to geopolitical unrest, natural catastrophes, and of course, pandemics. As we witnessed firsthand, when supply chains falter in a globalized world the flow of goods is constrained leading to delays, higher prices, and dissolving consumer confidence.

ERP systems are smartly positioned to tackle three key supply chain issues: integration and visibility, demand forecasting and inventory management, and risk management and mitigation. Via a consolidated and integrated database ERP systems provide real-time data visibility and exchange. This allows for more agile collaboration across the company and enough time to quickly respond to disturbances. This was one of the central issues with supply chain failures during the pandemic.

Second, ERP systems provide businesses with the tools to estimate demand in real-time. Instead of relying only on historical data, demand estimates combine real-time, historical, market trends, and consumer behavior data. The integration of past, present, and future is a supply chain value-added. Lastly, ERP systems employ risk reduction techniques to identify and address vulnerabilities. Buffer stock building, alternate sourcing, and dual sourcing are some of the more widely employed.

While all of this sounds lovely, implementing an ERP system to address supply chain concerns does have its challenges. First, organizations must be aligned in how they will develop data governance frameworks. While it is common for different departments to use different systems, ERP systems function well when data integration solutions are in place beforehand, not post-ERP implementation. Second, like anything new, a cultural shift at the company is required. ERP systems equate to new workflows and this requires change management strategies, training programs, and employee engagement initiatives to be in place.

Lastly, not all ERP systems are alike. It is critical to take stock of the distinct areas and workflows in your firm and allow for customization options. To scale over time a good ERP system must be flexible and user-friendly. Supply chains are ever-changing and require an agile partner to complement them.


How to Adopt a Powerful Approach to Vendor Payments

Spurred by the need for remote work capabilities, companies today are trying to move from manual processes to electronic vendor payments. This transition is easier said than done. On the face of it, electronic payments seem more efficient but, without the proper tools and partners, they can end up causing more work. It pays to think about electronic payments from a holistic perspective from the start to avoid this roadblock.

An efficient payment process is one in which you can send a single payment file–containing all your payments–to a payment automation provider, without it requiring any additional follow-up. If you have any questions or need to check on payment there should be one centralized place where you can view all that information while your payment partner handles any payment errors that occur. Linear and simple!

A far cry from efficient

That is a far cry from what happens when you don’t have the right tools or partners in place. Many companies try to piece together different products for different payment types. They may choose a banking partner for sending ACH payments, an outsourced check printing firm, a credit card partner, and a tool for automating the payment approval process.

Seems simple, right? All you have to do is call up your bank or enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider. No request for proposal (RFP) process is required; no need to run vendors and contracts through legal and compliance. Even if each partner can only handle one or two pieces of the process, it seems easier than finding a new partner to handle the whole thing from end to end (which is not as complicated as it sounds, to be fair).

Adding these electronic processes to your back-office as separate elements may feel like a quick, inexpensive way to move to electronic payments, but it could come back to bite you. This patchwork approach creates more inefficiencies that surface pretty quickly and have to be addressed by the accounts payable (AP) team on an ongoing basis.

No time to optimize

It is easy enough to launch a card program, but there is a lot that goes into optimizing that program on an ongoing basis. You will be responsible for contacting vendors to see if they’ll accept payment by card and maintaining a responsive contact at that company that is willing to run the card when prompted. AP teams rarely have time to do that, making their card programs less successful and often below the levels of rebates they were expecting.

Security can also be an issue with in-house card programs. When you’re managing a card program in-house, you’re probably using purchasing cards or T&E cards rather than virtual cards, which likely means you’re not keeping cards secure.

In my role at a previous company, I was the person responsible for running those (unfortunately insecure) card payments. We kept copies of customers’ credit cards in an unlocked drawer. Whenever they were ready to pay, we would go into the drawer, pull the card number and run through our terminal or portal. That’s a pretty common setup, and it’s nowhere near as secure as a virtual card. Also, if the card number changes or is hacked you will need to communicate that to every supplier who has been running your card, adding additional hours of work to your team.

Managing an ACH program poses many of the same challenges. Reaching out to vendors to get them on the program, collecting, and keeping up with changes in banking information is a lot of work that usually nobody has spare time for. Also, storing vendor banking information in a way that is compliant can be tedious and has a lot of red tape. Working with a vendor that is already SOC compliant can save time and money. Few organizations can keep up with all the technology and training needed to prevent ACH fraud, which is the fastest-growing form of payment fraud.

Routine complications

Teams may also find that routine payment runs are more complicated with a piecemeal setup. Instead of running one payment file every time, you’ve got to work with three different systems and partners that aren’t communicating with each other–four if you’re also making cross-border payments. You’re managing too many relationships and projects, and anytime you need data to research a payment you’ve got three different places to look.

There are some banks that offer full AP, but they’re not actually technology providers. They’re just running your payments through one or more vendors and charging you a premium for it. Since banks are not the actual service provider, any time you have a question or a problem, they’re going to have to take it to the service provider and then get back to you. You’re adding time and another layer of communication. Not to mention you probably won’t get the same level of services–payment indemnification, fraud protection and error resolution–from most banks or software providers either, but you can with a payment automation provider.

A scalable approach

Arguably the biggest challenge with electronic payments is vendor enablement–getting vendors set up and then managing their payment data on an ongoing basis because vendor data is dynamic. Neither a bank nor a collection of providers is a large-scale vendor network. According to Nvoicepay internal data, about 25% of your vendors will change their information each year. You’ll need someone on your side to manage those changes.

Our platform is powered by the cloud, making managing a vendor network scalable. Cloud-based payment providers can handle the data all at once on behalf of all their customers that pay that vendor. If the payment provider enables a vendor for card payment, that vendor is enabled for card payment for every customer that pays them within our network. By leveraging the payment provider’s network, you can pay far more of your vendors electronically with no extra effort on your part.

Vendor payments are a process. Up until the last decade or so, we didn’t have technology that could address the whole payment process from end to end. There was no “Salesforce for payments.” All we had was a collection of different payment products. Each of the payment products required a certain amount of manual work on the front end to be able to send the payment and on the back end to reconcile and fix any errors. There was a tremendous amount of inefficiency.

Today, you can hand off all that work to one company–a company that specializes in vendor payments and customer service, and has the process down to a science, using technology to automate as much of your process as possible. Implementation takes just a few weeks. It requires a few hours of IT time, your vendor list, and an hour or two of initial training. The final step in simplifying your entire AP process is sending one payment file and letting your partners handle the rest. Now that’s real efficiency.


Maggie Schroeder, CPA is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Nvoicepay. She previously worked as an accountant, as an auditor for Deloitte, and as a consultant helping small to medium-sized businesses find partners for business and AP automation software.


5 Tips To Avoid ERP Failure And Turn 2020 Disruption Into Success

The trials of 2020 have put many businesses in a mode of transformation. For some, that can mean changing anything from their internal operations to the services and products they offer.

Due to advancements in digital technology, massive change was well underway in numerous industries before the pandemic. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has been a central part of those changes as companies learn to organize and analyze data and use software applications to automate business functions.

But while the main goal in acquiring ERP is to streamline processes and increase productivity, it can be difficult to implement without the right combination of people, training, and technology. Failure with ERP implementation happens for many reasons, and knowing how to avoid those pitfalls is critical to a company’s growth and survival in these trying times, says Joel Patterson (, a workplace culture expert, founder of The Vested Group and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation

“Many businesses are aware they need to adopt digital technologies to compete in today’s market, but the fear of failure holds some back,” Patterson says. “Often, the barriers to successful ERP implementation have less to do with the software and more to do with communication- and employee-based issues.

“A change of such magnitude in a company requires solid and consistent change management, in which company leaders work well with outside consultants, but more importantly appreciate the importance of their workforce as much as the need for change.”

Patterson offers five tips on how to avoid failure in ERP implementation:

Tie ERP into long-term planning. One reason for engaging in an ERP project is to improve processes for the long haul. Therefore, an organization’s leadership needs to have a vision for the timeline that makes sense for their industry, typically at least 5 years. “It’s a key question for many businesses, especially in terms of selecting and implementing ERP,” Patterson says. “For example, it would be a big mistake to choose a product that doesn’t allow you to easily add new companies or service lines if expansion is a component of your strategic plan. Create a roadmap and share it with your IT partner.”

Put people first. Patterson says that having a solid work culture in which employees, their treatment and their betterment are prioritized is necessary for any ERP implementation to succeed. “You can have great ERP software,” he says, “but your employees are your greatest asset. Listening to them helps the overall effectiveness of the system going forward. If your culture is a mixed bag of nay-sayers and disengaged managers, projects of this magnitude are doomed to fail.”

Get buy-in across the organization. It’s common for people to fear or resist change, especially employees who have been with companies the longest. “When an organization is made up of people who understand the reasons behind what is being done, then they are more likely to be on board with the changes,” Patterson says. “How will these changes not only benefit the company, but more specifically, how does it impact their daily lives? These details need to be clearly laid out.”

Cut out bureaucracy, delegate responsibility. “The consulting team needs to be allowed to play the role they were hired to play, and you need clearly defined decision-makers on the project team,” Patterson says. “Otherwise, too many people wrestling over decisions can bottleneck projects. Your project team should walk you through each stage, and your company needs to establish a good governance structure in which each person knows their role.”

Prioritize aftercare. The next set of challenges comes when the company is running the new system on its own. “You can’t overlook the potential for problems,” Patterson says. “That’s why you want a partner who offers ongoing support. Assign teams to gather data about how employees are using the software, what issues they are encountering, and how to make it more effective overall.”

“In any ERP implementation,” Patterson says, “leaders need to stay connected with their employees and keep departments aligned while encouraging them throughout a sometimes challenging process.”


Joel Patterson ( is the founder of The Vested Group, a business technology consulting firm in the Dallas, Texas area, and ForbesBooks author of The Big Commitment: Solving The Mysteries Of Your ERP Implementation. He has worked in the consulting field for over 20 years. Patterson began his consulting career at Arthur Andersen and Capgemini before helping found Lucidity Consulting Group in 2001. For 15 years he specialized in implementing Tier One ERP, software systems designed to service the needs of large, complex corporations. In 2011, Patterson founded The Vested Group, which focuses on bringing comprehensive cloud-based business management solutions to start-ups and well-established businesses alike. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baylor University.