In a previous post, we introduced the topic of Enterprise Resource Plans, or Planning (ERPs). To briefly summarize, ERP is a kind of software, developed first in the manufacturing sector, which links all of the different computer systems used by various departments in your company together in a single program. ERPs, implemented correctly and with attention to the needs of your specific entity, can streamline your business, cut fat from the budget and save your core team a number of headaches that can emerge from the problem of running different systems simultaneously.
As a way to provide more detail about ERPs, and what your business should be looking for in one, this post will discuss four different formats that ERP software commonly takes. This can help you to think about what you want broadly from an ERP as you try to find one that fits the requirements of your entity. Future posts will look at concrete examples of ERPs in different sectors, and the different modules (operations) contained in most ERPs that your business should consider.
A vertical ERP is tailored to the needs of a specific sector or industry. There are ERPs intended for pharmaceutical companies, hospitality institutions, the automotive sector, and even different government departments at the local and national levels.
Companies that design vertical ERPs usually specialize in one of these industries as a niche. For entities that need to radically restructure their operations for budget efficiency or other reasons, a vertical ERP that works just for your kind of business may be the way to go. We’ll look at some examples of vertical ERPs in a later post.
What if your entity operates in more than one sector? What if the scale and diversity of its departments mean that integrating all operations into a unitary system would be too disruptive or cost-prohibitive? Enter the horizontal ERP.
Horizontal ERPs are designed to be useful in a wide variety of sectors and diversely structured entities. They do this by integrating the different computer systems used by different departments across the enterprise so they can be monitored and managed from a single point, rather than imposing a certain system upon your whole business.
Horizontal ERPs can also be called general ERPs because how they operate can be generalized to many different contexts. At the same time, since they address such a variety of needs, the way they work is very supple and flexible. Cloud computing has led to a renaissance in how horizontal ERPs integrate different systems.
Small-business entities have some of the greatest need for the cost-saving, streamlined operations ERP software offers, but until recently, they were left out of their advances. Like vertical ERPs, these may be tailored to the use factors of different kinds of small to medium-sized enterprises. Usually they are pretty basic, focusing on the two or three essential modules needed by operations at this size.
The advantages of this kind of ERP are that it doesn’t require a great deal of adaptation (which larger ones tend to impose) and that you may buy them off the shelf once you figure out your business needs, without having to go through lengthy research and consultations with an outside entity or entities. They may also be called lightweight ERPs in some contexts.
What if your entity is in tech and has already figured out its own unique way of handling the demands of the industry? For that matter, what if your entity has nothing to do with tech, but does have its own tech team that has designed procedures for logistics or customer relations?
The open-source ERP is a small but growing part of the market that allows entities with in-house tech to directly edit and manipulate the software so they can adjust it to the unique operations they have already established. Open-source ERPs, for those companies that can use them, offer creative and ingenious ways to integrate your processes, again without the need for lengthy outside consultations.
Implementing an ERP that works with your business model will make a world of difference in how your entity operates, saving cost, time and a large number of headaches in the long term. Whether your needs are for an ERP tailored to a specific industry or business model, or you need a more open and flexible platform, Through Blueprint OneWorld’s entity management software, which is brought to you by Diligent, you will be able to integrate your ERP development with ease.
Our solutions offer a means of sharing secure information across the huge variety of operations a 21st-century business needs to juggle. We hope to be your first entry point to develop a safe and effective strategy that incorporates management of your resources across your whole entity. Please call or email us to discuss this and our other solutions.