If more than ten people choose to return the same pair of ill-fitting jeans every other day for a month, a system must register the item, mark it as a refund, report casualties and assess the situation. All is well at the time, but have you ever thought about how long it takes the refund data to process?
Behind the beeping sound of the cash register scanner is a complex system of software known as enterprise systems.
What are Enterprise Systems?
These information systems help corporations solve widescale problems and are typically large platforms, too complex for individual or small business use.
Enterprise systems handle many operations within a company to facilitate its business and management reporting tasks. They’re built for speed, scale and designed to deploy across a variety of networks like the Internet, an intranet and corporate networks. Corporations that employ enterprise software include:
- Big box stores
- Marketing agencies
- Tech companies
The complexity of enterprise applications, however, pushes most corporations to outsource the development of applications they need to run operations. After development, the applications are brought back in-house for deployment, a job that usually requires a specialized information technology team.
The 3 Types of Enterprise Systems
Given the digital force of today’s markets, there are three types of enterprise systems that are indispensable for corporations across the globe.
1. Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a software that helps organizations present a consistent message about customer insights by gathering the latest information about a lead. Collections of data for CRM software usage happen at each step of a presale process, including sales and marketing, call centers, help desks and customer support service.
Remember the pair of jeans? Well, at the heart of the CRM is the database that receives your customer activity from the moment you hand over the product to the cashier. Every time a customer order is entered, an invoice is cut, a shipment is sent, and refunds and exchanges are processed, it is quickly submitted into the database.
What are Examples of CRM?
Two types of CRMs people in any business or tech field should be familiar with are analytical and operational CRMs.
- Operational CRMs: These systems are focused on the automation of the customer-facing parts of a business, like targeted communications and offers to customers.
Analytical CRMs: These systems are focused on analyzing customer data to enhance customer and company value. These CRM’s include data such as sales history, credit scores, marketing loyalties and campaign responses.
According to a PCMag review, some examples of the most popular CRM’s used by corporations include:
- Salesforce CRM – The platform works for mid-size companies as well as businesses that aren’t too familiarized with CRM. Its service model is based on automation by centralizing leads and customer profile data. This type of enterprise system falls under the category of general software.
- HubSpot CRM – HubSpot provides services and tools for marketing and sales companies. Services can include content management and web analytics. HubSpot falls under the category of inbound software.
- Zoho CRM – Unlike HubSpot, this CRM software is aligned with offering project management tools to companies and employees. Services that this type of social software offers includes word processing, spreadsheets and wikis.
- Freshsales CRM – Freshsales is a cloud-based CRM software that offers industries sales management, event and lead tracking services.
2. Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is designed to facilitate a company’s cross-functional processes. This software allows companies to eliminate inconsistencies and duplications of efforts during operations, share data, standard practices across enterprises and access information in a real-time environment.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning Used For?
In selecting an enterprise resource planning platform, organizations should consider the various ERP modules that align with their strategic, economic and technical goals. Let’s take a closer look at some of those functional areas:
- Manufacturing: Engineering, scheduling capacity, quality control, workflow and product life management are among core functions that can fall within an ERP system’s manufacturing module.
- Accounting/Finance: By streamlining cash management tasks and other accounting functions, ERP systems can offer businesses real-time data performance and insights while ensuring compliance with financial regulations.
- Human Resources: Human resources modules within an ERP system can include tools to gather and interpret data on training, recruiting, payroll, benefits, 401(k), retirement and diversity management. HR managers can also monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) for individual employees, job roles and departments.
A 2018 study by Allied Market Research predicts the global cloud-based ERP market will top $32 million by 2023, with software and professional services as the most significant growing segments. North America is considered the highest adopter of cloud-based ERP, although the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a high rate too.
3. Supply Chain Management Systems
The third type of enterprise application is supply chain management systems. A supply chain refers to the collection of people, tasks, equipment and other resources required to produce and move products from a vendor to a customer. These management systems facilitate integrated partnerships amongst all the goods, services and customers points.
The main goal for supply management systems is to coordinate the timely flow of information in the upstream and downstream of an organization. Some management systems may feature functions for purchasing, inventory management, product configuration, supplier scheduling, goods inspections, claims processing and warehousing.
Major Enterprise Applications
The enterprise system umbrella can include specific applications with a more detailed level of architectural design and reliability. They’re mostly built for the handling of precise data and go through rigorous testing to assure the accuracy of the information. The following applications are common amongst companies that handle enterprise systems:
- Email Marketing Systems: Email marketing allows businesses to promote new products regularly. Companies often employ web analytics to analyze data that reveals the number of pageviews gained from their marketing campaigns.
- Business Intelligence: Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes tools and practices that enable access to information to optimize work performance.
- Payment Processing: Third-party services that process payments are now faster and diverse due to stronger wireless internet connections. Services like PayPal and Venmo offer clients more payment options and flexibility to link various accounts back to their platforms. Such features make enterprise systems that track financial data adapt to scalability.
As disruptive technology such as mobile, cloud computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things continue to reshape the marketplace, ERP systems are evolving to provide businesses with the competitive intelligence necessary to drive success across a variety of functional areas.