The one thing that is constant in life is change. The last year or so has given us all a strong lesson in that. In a rapidly evolving business landscape, flexibility and agility are key. This is supported by a recent US technology institute study, which highlighted that agile firms grow revenue 37 per cent faster, and generate 30 per cent higher profits than non-agile companies. Additionally, a Forbes Insights study revealed that 92 per cent of C-level executives believed agility to be critical to business success, yet only 27 per cent believe they are agile. So how can businesses achieve agility?
Intelligent business applications with options for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) options help businesses achieve automation of business functions for increased efficiency. Having all these functions in one system provides the real-time information needed to make informed decisions in a timely manner, and pivot on strategy when needed. This is how agility can be achieved. But while you might have a business management solution in place, how much consideration has been given to ensuring it’s futureproof and will grow effortlessly with your business? Whether your firm relies on 20-year-old bespoke-built software or your mainstream solution is approaching the end of its development lifecycle, maybe it’s time you migrated to modern, modular Software as a Service (SaaS) functionality, giving your business a sprightly advantage.
True agility can only be facilitated with cloud-based solutions
If you’re operating an on-premise ERP system, it’s going to be expensive to customise to your requirements and it won’t be subject to automatic and regular updates. Not only that, access to the system for people working outside of the office environment won’t be easy or convenient. Place that inflexibility in an increasing remote-working world, and it’s easy to see how that presents a hindrance to agility.
Implementing, or migrating to a cloud-based app solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) will provide the modular approach to ERP that enables agility – marrying all business operations into one 360-degree view. The cloud-based system offers the required remote, multi-device accessibility that most modern organisations now require, and will help solve other business pain points that can be barriers to agility.
Evolving customer expectations can be met with the right technology
Achieving agility to be able to meet customer expectation and demand must be an objective of every business, regardless of the sector. If you’re an e-commerce business, a personalised approach, a seamless experience, and a timely delivery of orders might top your customer’s wish list. For a distribution firm, it might be smooth operations derived from streamlined supply chain processes that provide customer satisfaction. It’s only when these processes can be viewed in an intelligent solution, tailored to the organisation’s requirements – and automated where possible – that efficiencies can be optimised. Because let’s face it, if you don’t exercise the flexibility needed to meet these expectations, your customers will go to someone who can.
Within Microsoft D365, there are numerous applications that can be utilised to help you solve your most pressing pain points. For instance, the Customer Insights platform brings together all customer data and streamlines it to create in-depth customer profiles. These are then enriched with interests and preferences, using Artificial Intelligence. Augmenting this with feedback means a comprehensive profile can be achieved, allowing you to tailor your approach exactly to the customer’s desires. You will not only meet your customers’ expectations, but anticipate, and consequently, exceed them. That level of responsiveness is something a one-size-fits-all system could never deliver.
The importance of agility on business growth
Business growth is a main business objective, and agility not only underpins that, but can accelerate it. With the 360-degree view of your financials and business operations that a system like Microsoft D365 offers – providing a single source of intelligence – you can easily identify the greatest areas of opportunity for growth.
Monitoring performance in real-time, and utilising Artificial Intelligence to predict future outcomes, will help you make the data-driven decisions that will drive business growth. For a business in the fast-paced manufacturing arena, having a solution that facilitates connected operations and the Internet of Things with a resilient supply chain is vital. A solution like the Microsoft D365 Supply Chain Management can help with the streamlining of planning, production, inventory and transportation. When operations can be automated, procurement processes simplified and cost management improved, you will be able to maximise available opportunities that lead to business growth.
Crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s for compliance and security
No matter what industry you operate in, compliance requirements are increasing. Whether that’s for data collection and storage or meeting industry-specific regulations, it requires an dexterous solution that enables quick adaptation of processes to be compliant. Rolling that out organisation-wide can be a mammoth task if being done via an on-premise system rather than cloud based. Take that into account for multi-location businesses, and the task can become more than onerous.
Additionally, as cyber-security remains an ever-present concern for many businesses in many sectors, having a solution that operates with high security is a significant factor. Microsoft’s D365 solution is powered by the Azure platform, with a broad range of features to ensure the cloud-based system is much more secure than on-premise servers. Security updates are automatic, so you’re always running at the highest security level.
So whether you’re considering implementing ERP to gain true agility for your business, or you’re running on an outdated on-premise system, it’s definitely time to consider the benefits and how they could help accelerate your business. If you’re running either Microsoft AX 2009 SP1, 2012 or 2012 R2, the extended support period ends soon, contact us to find out what the best options for your business are.
Want to find out more from our experienced team of experts? Get in touch now for a chat about how the right solution could help solve your business challenges.