Next year is coming and maybe you’re more excited about what you’ll find in your Christmas stocking, but you better begin to think about what tools you want to add to your company’s 2019 equipment.
We know it’s not the same as choosing a new bluetooth sound-speaker, but it’ll bring a lot of good news to your business over time.
And what better place to start than at the core of your company, where all data is gathered, filed, centralized and send to other departments, systems and channels. The ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) might be one of the most important, if not the most important part of a business that handles products or services.
And it doesn’t come alone: there are lots of ERP tools that can take your ERP system to the next level. Automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and in the cloud software are some of the strongest trends for ERP system software developers, as they are ERP tools that save money and make the management processes more efficient and easier to handle, from manufacture to marketing.
Let’s take a look at the e-commerce marketing tools that will make the list of your essentials in 2019.
1. Database Management
First of all, connecting a data storage to your ERP system is an essential step, regardless of what type of company you are. You may have several and interconnected databases, or (and the most reliable option) a single repository where all your data is centralized. In either case, the important thing is to have a scalable database solution that keeps pace with your company.
Also, you can hire a cloud based database system, or a database hosted on premise, in your own location or at a third-party location, like SQL by Microsoft.
Whatever you choose, a Database Management tool will ensure that the ERP is allocating all data, performing good data governance and sending it smoothly and automatically to all your workflows and other systems.
2. Product Information Management
This is a crucial point for e-commerce marketing tools, as Product Information Management (PIM), also known as Product Content Manager (PCM) or Product Experience Management (PEM), is the system that keeps all your product content organized and updated in one single source of truth for your company.
"Connecting a PIM to your ERP system is the best way to ensure a seamless and error-free data transmission."
Connecting a PIM to your ERP system is the best way to ensure a seamless and error-free transmission of data from the ERP to any channel or department that needs accurate catalog information.
If you look for a place to start, at Sales Layer we offer a complete PIM solution with added management functionalities, and a preconfigured import connector to ERPs that will make your integration faster and successful.
→ Read more: Why you need both an ERP & a PIM system
3. Inventory Management
As part of the Product Lifecycle Management process, the inventory must be controlled and updated in real time, and its information will be demanded from multiple connected systems.
Through the ERP, your Inventory Management system could send information about stock levels, orders, shipments, returns, customer details, or distributors and suppliers purchases, and it’s especially useful for manufacturers and e-commerce businesses that manage one or several warehouses.
We have collected a diverse list of Inventory Management software options here.
4. Customer Relationship Management
You may have all your data pretty secured, but the most valuable part of your business are the clients. Looking for new leads and keeping every customer happy and satisfied, and cultivate a good relationship with them that grow over time and generate loyalty is the main job of Customer Success.
This team also benefits from its own kind of software (CRM system or Customer Relationship Management), like Pipedrive, one of the best e-commerce tools in 2018, and it will perform better if they have access to immediate, updated and reliable data about products, services and clients’ accounts, details and interaction or shopping history through de ERP.
5. Integration Management
Maybe you only own one online store and you expect to sell your products in just one country, but most of the modern companies have a wide and complex structure that uses multiple countries, currencies and languages. And even if that’s not your case yet, you’ll never know — maybe 2019 is finally the year for your definite boost and you’ll need this tool anyway.
Some integration software systems like Sage eCommerce provide a lot of ERP extras that make expansion easy for you, adding new services, channels and versions for multichannels and omnichannel e-commerce strategies.
6. Analytics Management
An ERP system collects so much data about your company, products or services and activity that it's a shame to misuse it and not analyze what's going on with those numbers.
Adding some analytic tool like ACL Analytics to your ERP is always a good option, as regular checks, predictive reports and data mining will always come in handy. Better analysis means improved strategic decisions and clearer insights about what's working and what needs a different approach in your company.
7. Financial Accounting
An ERP system software also receives the most important information about your company’s future: the financial status.
With the proper tools, a business can perform precise accounting with the data gathered in the ERP, as it can manage multi-currency accounts, benefits from multiple channels, a complete report of transactions, orders and returns, the balance between sales and inventory purchases, billing, and projects forecasting.
8. Workflow Management
The ability of connecting a lot of different software systems to the ERP is awesome, but it needs a bit of organization to avoid a chaotic access to information and tasks inside your teamworks.
A workflow management system coordinates the efforts, collaborations, timelines and resources inside your company, and ensures the timing of every project and the implementation of changes across several departments. Tools like Monday or JIRA are totally effective and compatible with ERP systems.
9. Communications Management
As many departments and external parties will take part on your daily business, a centralized communication system is mandatory.
The ERP can also work with e-commerce marketing tools and offer the necessary information for e-mail campaigns, internal messaging and customer service lines and chats, and group or team meetings. A communication tool integrated with the ERP system is the best way to guarantee that the same information is being shared across any type of group inside or outside the company, and it also helps to automate and monitor notifications send to different departments, clients, third parties or employees.
10. Scheduling Management
As we’ve seen through this article, the ERP basically owns everything, but in order to make the most out of it you need to properly interpret all that information. Taking the best decisions is only possible when you have a true scenario of your teams, goals and resources, like a giant map where you can see a clear path of action. But that’s not usually crystal clear, and some ERP tools can help you connect the dots.
A scheduling tool like Wrike can help you evaluate your resources availability and mark the time needed for different tasks, evaluate how much time they’ve needed in the past, and what could be realistic and accomplishable time-to-market goals.
Finally, don’t forget to test your ERP system software and tools in order to see if everything works smoothly, as each ERP solution is usually designed for different purposes (SMEs or large enterprises, and different industry sectors).
Say farewell to paper job, and begin to think more digitally about your business. Maybe at this point your wishlist is overflowing with ERP tools options, but you might consider starting with our demo — it’s not Christmas yet, but here’s a 30-day free trial!