Your ERP software is important to your organisation, providing a means for your teams to collect, store and manage data. Your ERP applications may include Customer Relationship Management, Procurement, Production, Accounting and Human Resources modules; working singularly or integrated to facilitate data flow across operations.
But when communicating data with customers or suppliers, some ERP software can leave you wanting. Legacy ERP software was developed at a time when documents were only output in PDF for printing. But communications and technology have advanced significantly in recent years and your system generated document output needs to match up.
Four fundamental reasons document output matters.
- Data and document accuracy is imperative, especially with the GDPR. Standard documents output from ERP systems often lack user level content control.
- Response rates and engagement levels increase significantly when personalised and tailored contain is presented in a user-friendly format.
- A growing number of people are thinking mobile-first, whilst others still love print. You therefore need to be able to seamlessly provide multi-channel delivery.
- When ERP software limits document output, brand identity can become static with fixed content and layouts that lack the image you want to project.
Do you search for an alternative system?
Realising the restrictions of your existing ERP software, you may have begun the task of researching customer communications management (CCM) systems to replace or bolt-on to your existing system.
These CCM systems enable multi-channel output, but are often costly to implement and attract user-level licensing fees that can make on-going document output expensive.
An alternative solution for generating your customer documents is through the use of software modules. SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards, all have modules you can add to your software to enhance your document output. However, the document composition and output of these modules can be limited to certain channels and can require IT resource to manage the integration process.
The time spent developing document templates can be vast; and what’s more, due to the technical nature of the integration, close monitoring is needed to avoid inaccuracies during the change project. Personalisation is also often limited, and more often than not, additional systems are still needed to enable multi-channel delivery. Your system might create the document, but you need an email provider, web-hosting and a string of other services to manage the output.
The answer? Bolt on with document automation.
As I alluded to earlier, your ERP software is powerful and is often cemented in so many business processes with a wide number of staff trained to use it. Change is not just costly, it can be a risk, and require a team to manage the process over time.
Instead of changing your systems, we recommend you use a document automation process instead, which simply bolts on to your existing systems. No software to install, systems to purchase or complex modules to integrate.
You’re able to control the accuracy of the documents your ERP software is outputting, send documents to customers through print or online, and enhance the format and layout of your communications. At the same time improving your overall document management process.
What’s more, SaaS applications can work entirely from the data that is generated by your systems, meaning no interference with your current data processes: allowing for risk free rapid deployment in weeks not years.
Your ERP software is not a customer communications tool.
If you’re looking at ways to enhance your customer communications, using a document automation system reduces your risk. Keeping your existing systems in place is fundamental to maintaining a streamlined business process. Let your ERP system do what it does best, but give it a helping hand when communicating customer documents by introducing document automation.