ERP, or enterprise resource planning, has come a long way in the past two decades. As businesses have come to make use of increasingly sophisticated technology, it has developed into an increasingly important tool, even in SMEs, and a vital one in corporations. Meanwhile, the expansion of the Internet and improved network speeds has given it a new role in inter-business communication and customer facing applications. Central to these developments has been its integration in web design.
ERP for internal networks
ERP tools have revolutionized the way data is organized and shared within many businesses, but interface issues can still impact its effectiveness in reaching staff at all levels. As tech staff members commonly lament, many otherwise capable employees in other departments struggle to manage more than the most basic IT, and may well be intimidated when presented with complex databases. As a rule, the easiest way to enable them to work efficiently is to restrict the amount of data they have access to. While off the shelf ERP tools offer a range of options in this regard, incorporating ERP into a web interface makes it fully customizable
Using this approach, ERP can be integrated into a company’s existing internal network so that staff in different departments can simply access web pages that display the information they need when they need it. Similarly, they can input data using web forms, keeping everything straightforward and familiar.
ERP in project partnerships
Where two or more organizations are collaborating on a project, ERP embedded in a website creates a convenient way of exchanging data that is easy to password protect and simple for everyone to use. If not everyone is participating on the same basis, it can be set up with different permissions to ensure that data is only shared appropriately. Linking the organizations’ separate ERP systems into one page means they don’t have to talk directly to each other, reducing the potential for delays and lowering security risks.
ERP for the World Wide Web
ERP also has a role to play on the Internet, and integrating it into a company website can provide lots of useful information for customers. One of the more obvious contexts for this is sales, where ERP can be used to keep a web page updated with information about pricing and availability. In online stock indexing, it can also cover things like color and sizing, feeding back into the system when a customer makes a purchase so that stock lists are continually updated. The speed of ERP systems means this isn’t only useful at the web end; where a company also has a physical retail outlet it can ensure that the same item of stock is not accidentally sold twice.
Linking ERP to the company website also means that up to date web stats can be filtered back to the marketing department. This makes to easy to keep track not just of which products and services are selling most but which are getting the most attention, informing a far more dynamic marketing process.