The Top Benefits of Optimising Your ERP Systems

For an insight into ERP systems, we interviewed Peter Morley, one of the two founding Directors of Insight, now known as Moore Insight.

Moore Insight started government work with Christie’s International in 1991 and then helped set up the new Department for National Heritage in 1993, establishing the first shared service in Central Government with the then DTi, starting a specialism in government projects. Over the years, the company’s worked variously for central government departments such as the Department of the Environment, National Savings & Investments, the Department of Education & Employment, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the House of Commons. In 2005, Moore Insight started their first Local Government work with Sheffield City Council.

Peter as an accountant came from a shipping and Big 4 background. The firm Moore Insight is now fully part of the Moore Global network.

For 30 years, the company’s expertise in Finance and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems has meant significant cost savings and other successful outcomes for their clients. We hear more about it below.

As an expert in ERP Systems, what trends in the market do you expect to see within the next two years? How is Moore Insight planning to respond to these?

There are significant changes in the technical provision of systems via the Cloud, but also in a post-COVID world, a significant change in working patterns. Organisations have needed to react rapidly. Both changes give rise to significant new opportunities.

The market changes are or are likely to be:

  • Cloud is standard – ‘Cloud First’.
  • Compatibility with Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem, including PowerSuite of Apps.
  • Considerable increase in the use of automation support technology such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
  • Self-service functions.
  • Automated workflows.
  • Highly secure data.
  • Systems and services resilience will be demanded.

What customers will be looking for:

  • Keen focus on value for money.
  • Little patience with complex, expensive, long, high-risk implementations.
  • Expectations that there is a standard path to adoption.
  • In some cases, wanting a ‘one-stop shop’.
  • Looking to buy knowledge of how systems operate and are configured.

The last point is where we come in. We understand the systems and most importantly, what they represent. We train our staff in accountancy, human resources management, projects management and business management.

We understand how the systems work. This enables us to help customers:

  • Discern the right system for them.
  • Approach the market to evaluate and select from a shortlist.
  • Configure, test and migrate data into the system.
  • Train staff and help with business adoption.
  • Help organisations change around new working methods.
  • Help them to run systems in the live operational environment.

The changes to the working environment mean that we can support customers on a light-touch basis remotely. With this in mind, we are starting to provide systems administration services, taking on some of the technical responsibilities for the client. This enables some smaller organisations to offset the business risk to us and helps to protect their business and investment in systems, plus the ability to plan future developments with confidence.

How can an optimised ERP system benefit an organisation?

ERP systems tend to be expensive and complex. Working well they can represent a paragon of efficiency and when they are left to their own, they tend towards increasing disorder and become a business burden in many different respects.

An organisation needs to benefit from the upsides and minimise or mitigate any downsides. They need to achieve the maximum benefit of their business front line at the same time as running efficiently behind the scenes and delivering value.

Organisations operating similar businesses with the same software, if inefficient, can differ by up to 3-4 times the administrative effort supporting their ERP systems.

An optimised ERP can:

  • Make buying and selling paperless and easy.
  • Maintain business supplies automatically.
  • Plan and budget staff costs with the same information in Finance and HR.
  • Handle overheads of business administration and handle complexities of:
    • Tax / VAT returns
    • Linking between different systems
    • Easy expenses claims/corporate cards handling
    • Bank reconciliations
  • Attach financial responsibility to budget managers.
  • Offer self-services facilities for employees and managers for routine tasks and requests including visibility of all payslips online.
  • Access Cloud Marketplaces for products and services – online shopping.
  • Provide dashboard financial reports working on key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Enable reporting straight from the books.

In summary, we can understand where your systems are inefficient and fix them. We know what your system is capable of and achieve it.

ERP systems tend to be expensive and complex. Working well they can represent a paragon of efficiency and when they are left to their own, they tend towards increasing disorder and become a business burden in many different respects.

From your point of view, how can an organisation address today’s biggest business challenges?

Some of these could be summarised as:

  • Efficiency of operation

Know your requirements and make sure you have the right systems to achieve them. Have a rational process of requirements definition, select the best system for you, implement and configure it to represent your business, constantly identify and achieve new opportunities.

It involves getting your processes right and the data analysis right to support your reporting.

  • Cost-effectiveness in provision

Understand the whole cost of ownership. Be aware of acquiring a “white elephant” – buy-in services you do not wish to provision in-house, including systems hosting, plus technical administration, if required.

Make sure it can be efficiently provisioned to your organisation – you should not have to need a large internal support team to support the underlying technology other than what is necessary to reflect your business activities and natural complexity. Buy the car and not a mechanic as well!

Understand your contracts and look at whole life cost over time, read the small print.

  • Systems security and resilience

Have a view of the key qualities and accreditations you and your supplier need to conform to. Understand your threats and their best mitigations. If looking at business resilience, ask yourself what scenarios you are looking to plan for and mitigate. Business risk is different to what it used to be, for example, the fire that destroys all the business and its records. The records may now be in the Cloud and safe. The real threat is the denial of access to these Cloud systems and that is not just a technology or communications risk, it is equally a commercial risk on the business viability of all components of the technology supply chain to your organisation.

  • Retention of knowledge

There are plenty of legitimate ways of configuring systems using core functionality.

But what was in the mind of the person making the original decisions? And how does the configured system represent the organisation?

This may well not be apparent to someone new trying to understand it in either two- or ten-year’s time. It is not always possible to retain the brightest and best people forever, but it is possible to write down how and why something was done that way.

All configured systems should have supporting notes and documentation, so the essential knowledge does not just walk out of the door.

  • Management of Quality

Quality has to permeate everything we do. It affects the inputs and outputs of any system, and the tasks necessary to maintain a system. The more that checklists and cross-checks can be brought into standard ways of working, an extra level of resilience can be built in where systemic risk is mitigated. Quality standard can be obtained, but their ethos should also be drawn into the working ethic of the organisations and be evident to the observer.

How can Moore Insight help clients with the selection, implementation and optimisation of ERP systems?

The core skill of Moore Insight is the selection, implementation and optimisation of finance and ERP systems. To start with, it is necessary to choose the right system as they are not all the same. To select a system a business needs to determine:

  • Where the business sits – is it a global, national or local player?
  • How does it want to relate to the underlying technology? Does it want to own it or buy it as a service?
  • What features the operational business requires? What business functions, what data analysis, by whom, where and how is it used?

At Moore Insight, we can help the organisation realise their requirements from a system, depending on their size and unique characteristics. We can also engage with the market to find the right system for them, comparing against their business needs and requirements.

When they understand what is on offer and select what is right for them, they are set on the right course. Moore Insight can help with all of the rest of what they need to do:

  • Contracts
  • Implementation
  • Design & build
  • Testing
  • Training
  • Cutover / Data Migration
  • Business Change & Transformation
  • Optimisation
  • Live running
  • Systems Administration

We provide end-to-end support, making that our clients make the right choice and make the most out of the systems.

Moore Insight celebrated its 30th anniversary. As the founder of the company, how does this make you feel?

Well, it means I must be at least 30 myself!

It represents a very large amount of my career and it obviously makes me reflect on the path to here. Despite ups and downs, there is huge satisfaction amongst the team and we all feel proud to be part of the Moore family. We will continue to tackle challenges faced by our clients in the post-COVID world, sustainably ensuring that we have the best talent to help clients realise their opportunities for the future.

We are very conscious of our need to make our mark on the world, not just in terms of what we do in our day jobs. We believe fundamentally in truly actioning social impact and have developed a strong Social Value methodology for our clients where required, and through our own Corporate Social Responsibility. We have a strong focus on learning and developing and provide our team with a percentage of time for volunteering, helping charities and not-for-profit social enterprises and helping address the sustainability challenges of the United Nations.

For more information on Moore Insight’s work, please email info@moore-insight.com or visit  www.moore-insight.com. 

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