Continuing with Latam topics, in next October 2021, Microsoft is going to launch Business Central in Chile and Argentina, and the local people are going crazy trying to make the most spectacular launch event, showing to the users the new technologies, the Saas model, prices, the top of the ERP for small and medium business and so on.

But did the users know how these marketing points are going to help their companies to be better?

I realized about a big trouble in those countries, every time I talk with someone looking for an ERP, they ask for an endless series of tasks and processes because they are used to work in that way. It seems to me, that nobody sells an integrated software on those latitudes before, or the people likes to work in different software for each task. As an example, some companies have software to make sales, other for inventory control, another for purchases, something for accounting purposes and last, but not least, the universal glue that joins everything, Excel.

Well, the first thing that we need to focus on is the “integrated” model. You don’t need to “pass” the information to the next person using excel or email, you don’t even need to check if the accounting record is done, the system controls everything, the posting accounts, the tax amount, the numbering series, etc., because of the predefined setup. If somebody makes a purchase, everybody in the company can see the action and its results, sales department can check the items inventory and availability dates; warehouse employees can prepare for the reception or the shipment, post the sale, create the receivable, and, oh yes, everything happens in the same, single system.

You can forget the information silos, a lot of work, different numbers based on who you are asking for, lots of work, inventory excess, wrong profit calculations, extensive use of excel, an incredible email quantity, especially on month close dates, did I mention a lot of work?

When somebody goes out in search for an ERP solution, they need to look for a software that helps to avoid the daily “nonsense processes” routine instead of “automate the current twisted and cumbersome process”, remember, garbage in, garbage out.

They think that they need to change their software to be more productive, to get access to more “accurate” information and possibly work at least the same as currently.

Let’s start with a very important note, and one important change, many companies believe that a CRM is for sell, I mean, to make quotes and orders, don’t get me wrong, the actual CRM´s works and can do those tasks, but the primordial CRM task is to “create and maintain” a relationship with the customers, not only for sell. When your company is after new customers every day is important to have a full CRM with campaigns, opportunities, email tracking and those things that makes the marketing department happy. But use a CRM to make quotes and sales orders only? Maybe you kill flies using some kind of cannon but the actual ERP´s can do the job without external tools and let you focus on sell instead of making integrations between software and later check if every order runs fine, if and when inventory was synced because maybe someone sell the entire stock in the last 10 minutes.

Taking this as a starting point, you need to define first if you want to maintain your current CRM, change it for a new one or maybe check if you really need that kind of software. Did your marketing department make some of the next tasks?

  • Collaborate with other companies for sales opportunities?
  • Send a lot of email to customers, track social media, manage subscribers?
  • Manage multiple channel campaigns and track that information?
  • Interact with your customers with multiple members of your team sharing information?
  • Manage a dynamic (not fixed) sales stages?

If you say yes to one or more of the list, you need a CRM, otherwise, you can use ERP solution.

Which benefits can you have as company with the new solution?

You can make quotes in the system, ask for approval (prices, discounts, quantities), send information to the customer with the internal email instead print or make a quote in excel, save the file and then, create your email. Track the quote changes (more discount, change quantities, dates, etc.) and when the customer accepts the quote, just click one button, and convert the quote to order (or invoice, based in your workflow definition for items or services), send the order to the warehouse to pick the items, ship those items.

Finally, post the document (Sales Order, Sales Invoice) and get a posted sales invoice with:

  • Accounting records posted.
  • Account receivable posted.
  • Cash flow income updated.
  • Inventory movements posted.
  • Item Availability updated.
  • Sales, receivables, accounting, and inventory reports already updated.

So, with the last points, you, as company get a updated and always on line information to let you take good decisions based on true facts, not excel reports based on old information.

Your salespersons can check the inventory, prices, quantities in real time with the phone application; he can go straight to the customer office and start to sell instead to go to the office losing 2 hours just to get the “last and newest stock information”.

The warehouse worker has access to the approved sales orders that needs to be picked or prepared in case that you manage items, directly, no need for email.

Accounting people doesn’t need to write the journal and post to the general ledger, they just “receive” the information and can make a closing month process easy and fast.

So, with the “new release” the company gets:

  • More integrated work – Everything runs in a predictable way.
  • More accurate information – You always get the latest and updated info, just open the page.
  • Best decisions in time capability – In some business, if you doubt you can lose a lot of money.
  • Happy customers – No more “Sorry, we have a delay in….”
  • Happy employees – Less mistakes, less job hurries.

Don’t focus only in technology, check your processes, your people, look for changes that really helps your business to grow, not because something has always been done one way, it means that it is done correctly.

Look for a good partner, someone with experience in your industry type, any partner can setup Business Central in a fairly correct way but you better look for those companies that encourage their consultants to improve, to ask why, to challenge your processes, not just to tell you, how do you want me to configure it? and that they only take note of your requests without offering you new and better ways of doing things.

This is why technology is not the only thing to focus on next October.