One of the basic tenets of management practice is that “if you want to improve the quality of management decisions, you need to start by improving the quality of the information that management has available for decision making”. Effective management decisions rely on accurate timely and reliable information presented to decision makers at different levels of the organisation in a format they individually need to make their decisions.
Over the past ten years in particular we have seen a noticeable change in management practices in local organisations that is in line with management trends in the more developed countries. The trend I am referring to is the management style that is based on a judicious use of metrics and their use as benchmarks in the monitoring and evaluation of corporate and individual performance.
Rather than requesting an internal report on an issue or event, management increasingly rely on the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that are now an integral part of the more forward looking organisations. ERP systems are no longer the exclusive tools of the big budget multinational. Today there are ERP web-based software-as-a-service platform that provide SMEs with a range of customisable operations management frameworks that will improve the quality of the information on which management is based. An effective ERP system provides management with timely information about the operations of the company. It provides a qualitative as well as a quantitative dimension.
Wikipedia provides a very useful definition – Enterprise resource planning is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology. 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 many business activities.
Earlier versions of ERP Systems were developed on powerful local servers, with modern ERP Systems available be as local server based or Cloud-based systems. Not surprisingly, the latter category being the faster growing category as cloud services continue to increase in strength and reliability.
Development of ERP
ERP systems have a pedigree lineage dating back to the 1960s where they started off as Inventory Management & Control Systems providing management with reliable tracking of inventory as well as inventory demand forecasting tools. The original focus was on the co-ordination of inventory management for manufacturing processes. By the mid seventies these had developed more sophisticated integration with operations becoming Material Requirement Planning (MRP) systems. These systems integrated the complexities of managing production processes and inventories of work-in-progress and finished goods. The sophistication and integration continued to be developed in the eighties with greater focus on supply chain activities, gaining them the moniker of Manufacturing Requirements Planning (MRPII) systems. This involved further integration and consolidation of the supply chain and distribution chain operations and activities. The first company wide ERP systems were operational in the early 1990s and these were known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. These systems were expanded from complete supply chain managing systems to include marketing, finance, accounting and HR activities. ERP solutions were for the larger organisations that could afford the massive investments required for the development and maintenance of such sophisticated software and infrastructural requirements. Applications were dominated by international leaders Oracle and SAP. The early 2000s saw a move from local systems to web functionalities and internet (ERPII) systems. This move to web-based solutions reduced the up-front investment previously required to set-up dedicated ERP systems. Web-based solutions offered shared systems that allowed for customisation and this led to a range of ERP solutions for SME firms. Since the 2010s the focus has been on Cloud-based ERP which provides all the benefits of scalability and reliability of Cloud based solutions. Today’s best-of-breed solutions take advantage of Cloud based technologies to enable development and deployment of ERP systems to cater for the needs of the largest multi-national organisations as well as those of local SME organisations. The challenge for the smaller organisation remains to strike a balance between the functionality of standard off-the-shelf ERP systems for SMEs and the additional investment required for customisation of ERP systems to meet specific organisational requirements.
eB-ISP a local solution offering cost-effective customisation
The eB-ISP, Integrated Systems Platform offered by eBusiness systems as a Software-as-a-Service Solution is designed and developed particularly for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Medium Enterprises (MEs) which seek to integrate better their service delivery operations to their business operations. It allows for more effective management and distribution of the time of employees to core activities, be they internal support or revenue generating activities. This web-based service provides internal users with a number of core functionalities specifically designed to improve HR, accounting and sales operations. In addition, it allows for improved communications between clients and their customers through the use of the document management, instructions management functionality and video conference capability.
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 Source: https://www.erp-information.com/history-of-erp.html