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ERP strategies: Digital transformation roadmap to agility and resilience.

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To adapt to market conditions, customer demands and technological advancements, businesses increasingly turn to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems as invaluable tools. These systems aid organisations in meeting their digital transformation requirements, streamlining processes, and creating sustainable growth. This article explores how ERP systems can help businesses gain agility and resilience in the global marketplace.

What is an ERP, and why do companies need it?

ERP is a comprehensive software solution that integrates and automates core business processes such as finance, human resources, supply chain management, procurement, manufacturing, and more. It serves as an online centralised hub that consolidates data and facilitates the flow of information across various departments, functions, and different locations within a company. As a licensed Microsoft Certified Partner, Acclime focuses on implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, a comprehensive cloud-based business management platform for small and medium-sized businesses.

Key benefits include various modules for sourcing, sales and distribution, and manufacturing businesses, as well as the ability to customise and implement the system across the Asia Pacific region. It provides a unified view of critical business functions, such as finance, human resources, supply chain management, manufacturing, sales, and customer relationship management.

Moreover, Business Central offers seamless integration with various additional applications through AppSource. For instance, there are apps available for compliance, warehouse and expense management that allow you to enhance the system’s functionality to meet your specific business needs.

Key benefits of Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC)

Dynamics 365 BC is an all-around scalable ERP that seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools and platforms within the comprehensive Microsoft environment, such as MS Office 365. As a subscription-based model, BC offers the flexibility to scale resources up or down based on business needs.

Another key advantage of this solution is its strong cybersecurity measures. In Microsoft’s cloud-based system, sensitive data is protected through robust security protocols, ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Microsoft also takes care of regular backups, reducing the organisation’s maintenance burden.

Here is an overview of Microsoft’s security approach.

Among all the ERP software available, BC is a reasonably priced software that offers an integrated, flexible, and secure solution for international mid-size organisations.

Overview of key modules in Business Central

Whether you are sourcing goods from Asia, running an offline retail or e-commerce business, or operating a production site in Asia, Business Central can be customised to your key business functions and particular requirements. Below is an overview of the most common modules:

AccountingTrade & inventoryTreasuryManufacturing
  • General ledger, P&L, balance sheet
  • Budgets, group reporting
  • Consolidated accounts
  • Product, customer and vendor management
  • Invoices, orders and shipping
  • Inventory monitoring and management
  • Payments and receipts
  • Online approvals
  • AR & AP management
  • Payroll and taxations
  • Supply and capacity management
  • Detailed bills of materials
  • Assembly-to-order support
  • Improved production order processes

Other key applications in Business Central and common integrations

In the Business Central environment, other software and integrations are available, such as:

  • The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module, known as D365 Sales, is specifically designed to optimise customer engagement and enhance sales and service processes. While Microsoft’s CRM solution can be compared to other software options, its unique advantage lies in its seamless integration with the broader MS ecosystem.
  • Power BI is an interactive data visualisation software product developed by Microsoft that allows users to connect to multiple data sources, transform and model data, and create interactive visualisations and reports. With Power BI, you can:
    • Visualise Business Central data in Power BI.
    • Create reports & dashboards and access business intelligence with real-time dashboards and KPIs for each user’s role.
    • Turn insights into actions by combining Power BI with Business Central apps to build processes and automate workflows.
  • As clients greatly appreciate the versatility of this digital solution, Acclime supports them with the integration to many other systems. These include, for example:
    • Warehouse management system (WMS).
    • Order management software (OMS).
    • E-commerce platforms such as Taobao in China and Zalora in Southeast Asia.
    • Compliance solutions, including automated credit checks for vendor management or whistle-blower software.

Timeline and typical challenges related to ERP transition

Depending on the overall business complexity and the need for system customisations, implementing Business Central typically takes three to six months.

Whether you are contemplating a first-time implementation or shifting from an existing to a new system, typical challenges need to be addressed. These include:

  • Data migration: i.e. migrating existing data from legacy systems to Microsoft Business Central. To overcome this, it is crucial to thoroughly analyse and cleanse data to ensure accuracy and completeness. Establishing data mapping and transformation rules, conducting testing and validation, and involving experienced data migration specialists can help mitigate risks.
  • Process mapping and alignment: Transitioning to a new ERP system requires mapping existing business processes to the capabilities of Business Central. This challenge can be addressed by thoroughly analysing existing processes, identifying necessary changes, and aligning them with the system’s functionalities.
  • Customisation and configuration: Organisations may have unique specifications that require customisation. For example, it is very common for clients to customise their trade documents and financial reports.
  • Integration with third-party systems: Many organisations have existing systems and applications that need to integrate with their ERP. Common data interfaces include connections with point of sales (POS), e-commerce platforms or third-party warehouse systems.
  • Training and user adoption: Our Enterprise Solutions Team supports clients with user training, drafting user manuals and responding to ad-hoc requests during the go-live phase.

Acclime as your outsourced ERP Manager

Building an IT infrastructure and hiring talents to manage it can be challenging. Acclime serves as your outsourced ERP Manager, helping to bridge the gap between your organisation in Asia Pacific and your headquarters. You can count on our team of experts to handle user support and system customisations for you as needed.

By outsourcing these services to us instead of hiring an in-house ERP manager, you can access our support when required, ultimately saving your organisation substantial costs. Contact us to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

About Acclime.

We are a premier provider of professional formation, accounting, tax, HR & advisory services in Hong Kong, focusing on providing high-quality outsourcing and consulting services to our international clients in Hong Kong and throughout the region.

ERP strategies: Digital transformation roadmap to agility and resilience