Contributor: Vishnusurya Pinnamaraju, Managing Consultant – SCM
I have recently had several interesting conversations with prospective clients who are currently relying on Excel for managing business data like Product Master Data, Sales Order Data, Customer Data, and more. Through these conversations, it became evident that Excel poses numerous challenges, resulting in fragmented and less efficient operations. Some of the most prevalent issues include:
Data in Excel is entered manually, which exposes a risk of human error. Additionally, Excel lacks the capability to automatically validate data, for example, when entering a product into a certain category, Excel cannot validate whether the category is still active or not. These limitations may result in poor data quality, reducing efficiency across business operations.
Excel cannot send automatic updates to other systems. As a result, users must manually input Sales Orders into various systems, like invoicing systems, or manually upload the Excel sheet to update other systems. This data updating process proves to be time-consuming and inefficient for users, meaning productivity is decreased when performing day-to-day business operations.
Lack of Security:
Excel cannot fulfil the advanced security requirements that many businesses need. For instance, it cannot effectively restrict access to Product Master Data based on product categories. Ideally, each user should only be given access to necessary categories to meet the security compliance requirements of the business and reduce the risk of misuse of data.
Risk of Data Loss:
Excel lacks the robust features needed to effectively restrict users from accidentally deleting data. This means there is a greater risk of unintentionally deleting or removing crucial data. Additionally, Excel files can sometimes become corrupted for unknown reasons, and while data recovery is possible, it is not always 100% successful. Data loss can lead to hefty data recovery costs and operational challenges because users will not be able to smoothly execute business operations without the data.
Sharing an Excel file for multiple users to make changes simultaneously can be challenging. Although the file can be uploaded to cloud storage like SharePoint, when several users make changes concurrently, there’s a risk that some of the changes may not get saved, leading to potential data conflicts.
The issues mentioned above are some of the most common challenges faced when using Excel, but now let’s explore the solution! Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the optimal tool for effectively managing and tracking business processes and data. It offers a wide array of advanced functionalities that can significantly enhance a company’s profitability, operations, and manpower efficiencies. Despite its higher cost in comparison with Excel, the benefits and cost savings that ERP provides will more than compensate for the ERP software and implementation costs.
While there are many benefits that come with an ERP system, below are some that stick out to me:
Easy to access:
In a cloud-based ERP system, users can conveniently access data from anywhere at any time, and multiple users can access the data simultaneously. Additionally, ERP offers advanced reporting tools that enable the creation of reports that gather data from various sources into a single, comprehensive report.
Single Source of Truth:
ERP systems can seamlessly integrate with other systems in the company’s IT landscape, allowing for smooth data sharing between them. This integration ensures that data is stored in a single ERP system, serving as a single source of truth for the entire company.
Leading cloud-based ERP systems, such as Oracle Cloud, undergo frequent upgrades to accommodate the evolving needs of businesses. These upgrades aim to enhance the features and functionalities of the system, catering to the growing demands of customers and ensuring that it remains equipped with the latest enhancements requested by users.
Cloud-based ERP systems offer extensive security features, including the ability to restrict user access to specific data or business units. This capability allows businesses to customise access controls according to their unique needs and requirements.
In conclusion, managing business data and processes entails inherent risks, and businesses, especially in B2B, should seriously contemplate transitioning from Excel to ERP systems to address these challenges effectively.
At Enigen, we work with Oracle across CX, Supply Chain & ERP. Oracle ERP solutions address all the challenges mentioned in this blog and allow your business to streamline essential processes more efficiently. If you think your business could benefit from transitioning to an ERP system, or if you wish to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] where our experts will assist you.