The next exceptional technology trend - Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and Extended Reality (ER). VR immerses the user in an environment while AR enhances their environment. ...Although this technology trend has primarily been used for gaming thus far, it has also been used for training, as with VirtualShip, a simulation software used to train U.S. Navy, Army and Coast Guard ship captains.
In 2021, we can expect these forms of technologies being further integrated into our lives. Usually working in tandem with some of the other new technologies we’ve mentioned in this list, AR and VR have enormous potential in training, entertainment, education, marketing, and even rehabilitation after an injury. Either could be used to train doctors to do surgery, offer museum goers a deeper experience, enhance theme parks, or even enhance marketing, as with this Pepsi Max bus shelter.
Fun fact: 14 million AR and VR devices were sold in 2019. The global AR and VR market is expected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022, only creating more opportunities in the trending technology, and welcoming more professionals ready for this game-changing field.
While some employers might look for optics as a skill-set, note that getting started in VR doesn’t require a lot of specialized knowledge - basic programming skills and a forward-thinking mindset can land a job; another reason why this new technology trend should make up to your list of lookouts!
Looking to make the finance team more efficient and improve business operations? Today’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems integrate and automate essential financial and operational functions and provide a trove of data insights from sources including general ledger (GL), accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and financial reporting. Modern ERP systems also help with inventory, order and supply chain management as well as procurement, production, distribution and fulfillment.
Companies that include human resource management (HRMS), customer relationship management (CRM) and ecommerce capabilities will see even greater benefits.
Understanding key ERP features makes it clear why this software plays a pivotal role. Here are a dozen capabilities to consider when evaluating ERP systems.
Data silos lead to inefficiency, missed opportunities and departments working at cross-purposes. The primary, and maybe most significant, benefit of ERP is a central view of essential financial, operational and business data that can be shared across the organization in near-real-time.
ERP systems provide the means to develop business intelligence by turning that data into reports and insights that a company can use to re-allocate resources or capitalize on new market opportunities, among other actions.
ERP provides the ability to automate repeatable business tasks, such as payroll, order processing, invoicing, reporting and more. Automation(opens in a new tab) minimizes the time spent on manual data entry, reduces errors and lets employees focus on more value-added tasks.
The nature of an ERP system means that data entered by one user is available across the organization. So, for example, an inventory tracking module could automatically trigger a shipment and invoice when a certain SKU becomes available. That translates into more revenue and a better customer experience. Or, line-of-business executives could automatically receive up-to-date reports on cash flow and other metrics to inform decisions.
3. Data analysis
Using data more effectively is a perennial priority for CFOs and business leaders alike, as Brainyard’s Winter 2020 survey showed. The power of data analysis is enabling employees to gather a wide variety of information and spin it into actionable insights—on new business opportunities as well as ways to optimize current operations, reduce costs, spot fraud and better serve customers.
Better reporting is almost as important to executives as more effective data usage. ERP reporting modules compile information about business operations into reports that empower stakeholders to make more informed decisions, enhance business processes and identify problem areas before the business suffers. Reports may include visual representations, such as charts, graphs and dashboards, hopefully revealing trends and patterns to improve business results. 5. Tracking and visibility
ERP platforms allow companies to track, surface and understand business metrics—a powerful feature. They do this by facilitating companywide access to near-real-time data, breaking down information silos and offering reporting and analysis for every aspect of business operations.
ERP accounting features deliver the ability to track, store and analyze financial data, such as accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), general ledger (GL), budgets and forecasting. Systems may perform more advanced tasks such as tax management, fixed assets management, revenue recognition and multi-currency reconciliation.
Time is money, and month-end closes always take longer than CFOs would like. This functionality decreases the time it takes to reconcile and close out monthly financial statements. It’s critical for companies looking to move to continuous month-end closes.
7. Financial management
Financial management(opens in a new tab) is a complex task that involves planning, organizing and determining the best use of funds for a business. Financial leaders must track and use financial data from all departments to make decisions about, for example, capital projects, funding sources, cash management and financial controls.
ERP systems assist finance teams with the management process by tracking, analyzing and reporting critical business data. In large, complex organizations, ERP systems are necessary tools for sound financial management.
8. Customer relationship management (CRM)
ERP systems with integrated CRM features bring customer relationship data into the mix, expanding the view of the business. All customer information—including contacts, order history, purchase orders and prospect status—is in a shared, easily accessible database.
CRM systems enable companies to automate processes like filling out POs, generating accounts receivable reminders and sending notifications for an account exec to follow-up when a prospect reaches a pre-defined point in a sales pipeline.
9. Sales and marketing
ERP systems with integrated CRM also benefit marketing and sales teams by making it easier for them to sell, upsell, generate quotes and purchase orders, forecast, manage commissions and track key details like profit margins and ratios.
Marketing teams may benefit from an ability to drive more leads, quickly build and execute campaigns and track customer activity through the sales cycle.
Sales and marketing teams use ERP functions in close connection with finance and operations colleagues to provide a superior customer experience through the entire sales pipeline.
10. Human resources (HR)
The HR component of an ERP system acts as an end-to-end employee management platform, handling payroll, hiring, onboarding, compensation management and timekeeping. Complex HR functions, like tax and benefits deductions, are automated with ERP-connected HR software, which saves time and money while reducing errors.
11. Supply chain management (SCM)
ERP systems offer insight into a company’s supply chain management (SCM) efficiency by tracking demand, inventory, manufacturing processes, logistics and distribution. A fully automated and integrated supply chain enhances operations by suggesting purchase orders, work orders and transfer orders across multiple locations.
SCM systems can also help set inventory goals and simplify distribution resource planning. Real-time data on a company’s supply chain helps identify areas of inefficiency, providing greater control and management over inventory.
ERP as a function got its start in manufacturing. Today’s systems create efficiency in manufacturing processes by assisting with product planning, sourcing raw materials, production monitoring and forecasting. Other components include modules for assembly management, bill of materials, work order management, shop-floor control, distribution planning and product tracking.
In conjunction with SCM, ERP manufacturing tools heighten an organization’s ability to manage and automate major inventory planning and forecasting decisions.
If you’re a business owner or finance leader, you likely already know the “what” of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software: It’s a unified database and set of applications that brings together financials, supply chain, human resources, customer service and other data and business processes. An ERP implementation often delivers a fast return on investment via insights and efficiency gains that save the company money right away.
But how, exactly, do companies use these different ERP modules to realize benefits? What role does each piece of the ERP system play in helping businesses succeed? We’ll describe common ERP use cases for each module and how they help different aspects of the business.
1. Inventory Management Before: A retailer’s operations team relies on physical counts, which it tracks in a spreadsheet, for current inventory levels. But warehouse workers have no confidence in this information, and items are regularly out of stock because the company orders more product only when the shelves are nearly empty. Fulfillment is slow and inefficient because warehouse employees frequently have trouble finding items.
After: The retailer adds an inventory management module, which displays real-time inventory levels and updates on stock that’s en route to the warehouse. Every morning, an operations manager is able to compare available inventory to sales data to determine whether the business should place any purchase orders (POs). Additionally, the warehouse team fulfills more orders per day because the inventory management application shows the exact locations of all items.
A manufacturer spends too much time looking for suppliers and gathering quotes for the raw materials it needs to make products. An employee must manually send out quotes, compare them, select a winner and, finally, put in a PO. Staffers often forget to update the list of approved vendors and their contact information, further slowing down the process.
After investing in a purchasing module, the manufacturer automates requests for quote, stores all responses in one place and can send out POs with a few clicks, saving a lot of time. The purchasing (or procurement) module keeps a current list of all suppliers and allows the manufacturer to track the status of each outstanding PO.
3. Sales and Marketing
A veteran sales team at a midsize distributor has grown increasingly frustrated with the work required to create quotes and sales orders. The reps struggle to keep track of where prospects are in the sales pipeline and which customers should be ready to reorder. The business also wants to reach a larger audience of potential buyers but has no way to manage marketing emails, contacts and digital ads.
With an ERP application for sales and marketing, reps can turn quotes into sales orders in a matter of minutes and then send system-generated invoices to customers. The sales and marketing teams can see where any customer is in the sales cycle to determine the best next steps. Marketing tools enable the distributor to import lists and target new prospects with emails and ads across multiple channels, which leads to a 10% bump in annual revenue.
For its first few years, a small manufacturer used paper and spreadsheets to monitor available raw materials and daily production numbers. But as the business grew, those manual methods become a major roadblock—it’s lost valuable production time after running out of materials and has a hard time calculating current manufacturing capacity.
After investing in a manufacturing ERP module, the manufacturer can see planned production for the next few months and compare that against available and on order supplies. It can track output against that plan and, if demand increases, scale up by ordering more materials and bringing in additional employees.
5. Financial Management
With a single-minded focus on excellent customer service, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand has a customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation platform, but it still relies on online banking tools and a jumble of spreadsheets to manage its finances. Manually tracking all purchase orders (accounts payable) and customer orders (accounts receivable) is not only time-consuming, a lack of insight has put the business in precarious financial spots several times.
The brand purchases a financial management module that automatically records all AP and AR transactions and manages the general ledger. Now, the company can better control cash flow and spending. The module makes the staff accountant’s job easier by generating key financial documents like balance sheets, cash flow statements and payment receipts. The system even uses artificial intelligence (AI)—specifically, machine learning—to flag potential errors or fraudulent orders by comparing transactions to thousands of similar entries.
6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Revenue plateaus for an industrial distributor as it deals with mounting competition. It wants to both find new customers and identify upsell opportunities with existing clients, but data on these groups is incomplete and inconsistent.
The distributor invests in a CRM ERP module. When a customer or prospect fills out a form on its website, that information flows into the CRM, which generates a notification so a sales rep can follow up promptly. The CRM centralizes purchase histories for all customers, allowing the business to target them with relevant products, like a new line from a certain brand or accessories. When customers have questions about or issues with a product, a customer service agent can resolve the situation more quickly because he can see all previous interactions with the buyer.
7. Supply Chain Management (SCM)
A fast-growing retailer struggles to keep up with a surging volume of orders—items often ship late, and it’s drowning in returns. Although the company has an inventory and order management solutions, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep track of all POs, customer orders and shipments.
A supply chain management (SCM) module helps the retailer organize purchase orders, monitor current production and compare that against demand and prioritize orders based on when the warehouse received them. With the SCM application, when customers return products, an associate scans each item, records its condition and, if necessary, initiates an exchange. The business is in a much better position to scale as sales continue to climb.
8. Human Resources Management (HRM)
What started as a small family business has doubled in headcount over the last three years. The company has a basic system that allows employees to clock in and out, but the owners have come to dread payroll because it’s so time-consuming. Employee information, some of which is outdated, is buried in a spreadsheet.
The small business purchases an HRM ERP module. It automatically generates paychecks every two weeks—the owner just has to review them for accuracy—making payroll much faster and easier. The solution stores employee records, including contact information, employment forms and tax documents. It also walks managers and employees through the procedures for annual performance reviews. The HRM software can even personalize onboarding and training for new hires to quickly get them up to speed.
5 Key Components of HRM Success
Here’s how to make the most of a human resources management system purchase:
->If your IT ethos is forward-looking, explore systems that can use machine learning and predictive analytics now and that have an AI roadmap. The sooner you start feeding the system data, the better.
->Different HRM systems excel in certain areas. Do you have a lot of turnover? Then look carefully at candidate management capabilities. Got a multi-state or -national workforce? Make sure the system can handle complex payroll scenarios.
->To fully calculate ROI, focus not only on day-to-day functions but how the system will help retain talent, free up HR staff for value-added projects and minimize audit findings.
->Look for self-service capabilities. There’s no reason for an HR specialist to spend time assisting a manager with routine updates to hours worked, for example, or helping employees access forms like W-2s.
->Fully use the human capital management and development capabilities. Within an HRM, HR can create training curriculum, personalize learning plans and career paths and set up mentorships. 9. Project Management
A boutique consulting firm has a basic accounting system, but tracking costs and resources for individual projects—critical for accurate billing—has become tedious and difficult as the firm adds more clients. Digging up all this information is no small task, and consultants end up helping calculate project costs. Bills often go out late, or customers discover errors after receiving them, which doesn’t inspire confidence or help cash flow.
The company purchases a project management ERP module that tracks all this information by project. In addition to showing the status of projects, the module tracks consultants assigned, hours logged, travel expenses and communications with the client. When a project hits a certain milestone, the project management application automatically creates a bill and sends it to the client.
10. Compliance Monitoring
A manufacturer has a two-person accounting team and realizes the business, as it’s currently set up, will not comply with a new accounting standard that takes effect in six months. The company soon realizes this will be a big project—far more than its small accounting team can handle—and hires an outside firm to help. Still, the audit process is touch and go.
The next year, the manufacturer trades in its entry-level accounting solution for a more robust system with compliance monitoring. Compliance standards change frequently, and the software will keep the business informed about modifications to local or industry regulations and new international standards, like IFRS 15. The accounting application links all relevant records to transactions as well, so preparing for an audit is much less daunting.
11. Asset Management
A technology startup recently completed a major round of funding and can now afford to hire more employees and move into a bigger office. That means it needs more furniture, as well as computers, monitors and other equipment for each new employee.
The asset management ERP module helps the startup manage the lifecycle of physical assets, from purchase order to depreciation to retirement. It keeps records detailing the value of IT equipment and other office supplies over time for compliance and reporting purposes. For real estate, it takes care of lease payments, amortization and other reporting to comply with lease accounting and tax standards.
After hearing for years about the tremendous potential of direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce, a B2B distributor that has sold exclusively to retailers decides it’s time to diversify. The company asks a few employees to develop a strategy for the D2C channel and determine which products it will sell online.
The distributor then adds an ecommerce ERP module to turn its informational site into an online store that can process transactions. The module has user-friendly tools that allow the marketing team to list new items, change product content, quickly jump on ecommerce trends and update the site’s look and feel. By choosing an ecommerce application that’s unified with the ERP, there’s no need for integrations to third-party solutions, like an order and inventory management solution or a CRM—all order, customer and payment information automatically flows into the ERP.
13. Business Intelligence (BI)
A business that sells software uses a leading ERP system to manage accounting, sales and marketing, customer service, human resources and more. While this data has tremendous value, the company needs a better way to manipulate and present the information if it hopes to attract a new funding round.
The software vendor adds a business intelligence module that can turn the data into charts and graphs to make it digestible for executives and potential investors. The tool can also help determine the best industries to target with its software or understand the potential market for a new solution it’s considering developing. The business intelligence application can even use AI to better predict future financial performance based on internal and external data.
14. Multiplier Effects
When a company integrates a number of modules, it gains automated reporting and IT optimization benefits greater than the sum of the system’s parts. For example, if CRM and ecommerce are connected, the ecommerce site could show personalized product recommendations or even a personalized home page based on the visitor’s purchase or browsing history. That could increase average order value and conversion rate. Similarly, integrated HRM and SCM modules could allow a business to track the average number of orders fulfilled per hour or day by each employee. The employee’s manager could then pull up this data as she prepares for the performance review to demonstrate that this employee exceeds expectations and explain to her department head why this person deserves a raise.
Many companies realize their warehouses are inefficient or that closing the books takes far too long, but they can’t pinpoint the cause of those problems. Reporting often sheds light on underlying issues, like inefficient business processes, so leaders know what to focus on and can resolve them.
The more ERP modules used, the more data is available and the more robust the insights. Each module should have reporting capabilities for that aspect of the business, like HR or supply chain. The reports can be extremely broad (How do expenses in March compare to those in April?) or narrow (What was the average order value of customers from Texas last week?). When looking for an ERP solution, make sure reporting is simple and easy to customize.
Businesses that use disparate systems for different departments and business functions do battle daily with a lot of manual work, inconsistent and duplicate data and other inefficiencies. Organizations gain this visibility when they adopt various ERP modules that all plug into a unified database, thus giving leaders a complete picture of the company’s current state. An integrated system alleviates pressure on IT team, eliminates data-accuracy issues and helps your company scale without adding headcount at a commensurate rate.
Entry-level and disconnected systems also limit visibility across the organization—the operations department has no way to know about an upcoming marketing promotion that will generate a spike in orders.
Having multiple systems also adds the challenge of keeping users and IT trained on all of the technologies and raises IT operational costs. In addition, upgrades can become a major hassle: If one app needs to be upgraded, this can cause a domino effect where the other apps it might be “connected” to also need to be upgraded.
15. ERP System Benefits
An ERP system enables businesses of all sizes and across all industries to save time and money while avoiding unnecessary headaches. Automation is a primary source of those time and cost savings, as it eliminates manual tasks and frees employees to focus on other work. A single source of information also allows employees to spot potential errors early on and resolve them before they turn into bigger problems.
Even though there are tasks ERPs cannot automate, the system puts comprehensive information at decision-makers’ fingertips to facilitate faster and better decisions and improve business processes. From basic information, like financial documents and customer records, to more advanced tools that leverage AI to optimize demand planning and production, employees can find whatever data or reports they need to make better, more informed decisions.
The software also helps ensure compliance with local and national and global regulations, which is critical to the long-term success of a business.
A cloud ERP sets up companies especially well for the future because it offers all these benefits along with advantages that on-premises solutions cannot match. For example, with cloud ERP, the vendor handles all maintenance and upgrades, which are included in the subscription fees the company pays every year, and the system scales smoothly as the company grows.
But what’s most important is that an organization has an ERP that serves as a trustworthy source of information for all employees. It has become a required tool to win in today’s hyper-competitive environment.
In today’s world, mobile and Web Development provides an effective and robust medium, which are used for communicating and delivering content to our customers and clients. Web applications are also extremely important for successful PR, marketing, and customer relationship management strategies. The software development life cycle (SDLC), is considered as a framework that defines a set of tasks to be performed at each step in the software development process. The life cycle also defines a methodology for improving the quality of software and also the overall development process.They also provides a structure to be followed by the organizations development team. This structure consists of a detailed plan describing how to develop, maintain and replace specific software and so on.
The software development life cycle includes many different processes requirement gathering and analysis, Design, Implementation or coding, Testing, Deployment and Maintenance etc. The first step is to gather the business requirements of the project. The software engineering should team meets with the clients and stack holders of the project to find exactly what are their requirements for the project. To get this information they start by asking them general questions about it such as, who is the targeted market of the project, What the system will be used for, what are the expected outputs from the system etc. Before moving to the next one, all these questions must be answered. After collecting all those requirements for the project, the requirements get analyzed and checked for their validity and if it’s possible to achieve these requirements and include them in the system. There include many tests such as unit test, integration test, system test etc. A unit test is an automated piece of code that invokes a unit of work in the system . They checks a single assumption about the behavior of that unit of work and there exist two type of unit testing static and dynamic unit testing .
Static Unit test is a software development process to Examination the code over all possible but the dynamic unit testing is a program unit is actually executed and its outcomes are observed. Static and dynamic unit testing complement in nature and in practice dynamic and static unit testing are performed concurrently ,and JUNIT testing is an example to the unit testing. Static unit testing is not an alternative to dynamic unit testing. Integration testing detects problems that occur when unit are combined and the every error occur when the unit are combined are likely related to the interface between units. System testing is top level of the software testing process. The software development process make use of many models that are used by widely by various organizations, some of these models include the Waterfall Model, V-Shaped Model,Spiral Method (SDM), Iterative and Incremental Method etc. Understanding the systems behavior and the parameters affecting the performance is essential to the company’s management is the main thing needed for software development.