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    ERP Implementation is an Important Business Decision

    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can provide a number of benefits to companies, including financial, supply chain and customer relationship management.

    However, these systems tend to have an average shelf life ranging from 12 to 15 years, according to Doug Schrock, consulting advisory services leader at Crowe. Therefore, it is important for company and IT decision-makers to identify when the time is right to purchase, upgrade or overhaul their entire ERP system.

    A recent Crowe Horwath report suggested three factors private equity firms should consider when making this decision:

    - Financial benefits: Company leaders should measure the potential financial gains from ERP implementation against the estimated return on investment (ROI). This is especially important when deciding between an upgrade or purchasing entirely new software.

    - Business needs: How closely an ERP package matches a company's needs is vital, as it has an effect on efficiency, ROI and the ability to upgrade the system in the future.

    - Available resources: In addition to significant costs, ERP implementation is an extensive process that requires time for employees to learn how to use the new systems. Therefore, it is important for a company to have the proper personnel and leaders in place to ensure a smooth transition. 

    ERP strategies
    If purchasing an ERP software package is the first step, implementing the most effective strategies will soon follow. Among the sector's rapidly growing trends is the rise of mobile solutions to support ERP software. A recent survey by IDC and IFS found that nearly 60 percent of worldwide IT departments plan to invest more in mobile ERP than anything else.

    These strategies have proven beneficial to companies across the globe, including the African workforce, according to an ITWeb report. With a large portion of Africa's mobile workforce lacking regular access to a computer, many companies have geared their systems toward mobile devices – and have benefited because of it.

    "One cannot underestimate the value this technology has added to companies by radically improving the way they’re able to deliver services to their customers," said Cobus van Graan, CEO of Tracer Mobile Workforce. "Our local presence, flexible customization capability, agile approach and scalable solutions are just some of the reasons we're gaining widespread traction in Africa."

    Cloud-based ERP implementation is another possibility. This strategy is much easier and cost-efficient with regard to upgrades, allows for the possibility of a hybrid ERP solution and offers protection in the event of a natural disaster.