Technology has revolutionised all aspects of life, most especially the business landscape. In a competitive business world, digital transformation is essential for businesses to stay ahead of competitors and remain relevant.
It is about upscaling from analogue and manual processes to a digitalised platform to accelerate growth.
By leveraging digitalised tools, business owners can streamline their processes, increase productivity, and maximise profit. One critical component of digital transformation is using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
In this blog post, we will explore the concept of digital transformation, the meaning of ERP, and the key roles of ERP in digital transformation, particularly for the African downstream oil and gas sector.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of futuristic digital tools in all aspects of a business to revolutionise business operations and enhance performance in totality. Since the late 20th century, the world has experienced the evolution of digitalisation across all industries.
Many organisations are beginning to adapt these tools to transform their businesses, create exceptional products, and improve customer service.
Digital transformation encompasses a wide range of technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
However, companies need an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to harness these technologies for maximum productivity and enhanced connectivity.
Enterprise Resource Planning
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is a software solution that integrates all aspects of a business in a centralised system. From accounting to procurement, supply chain operations, manufacturing, and risk management, an ERP gives an organisation a holistic overview of all department activities. For any organisation to work efficiently, there must be a sync across all units, which is the job of an ERP. It is an integrated suite with different modules and advanced features linked to help businesses streamline their operations.
For starters, finance and accounting is one of the major ERP modules. It helps business owners keep track of all financial processes like budgets, cash flow, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and ledger. It offers comprehensive financial data to enable you to prepare key reports and make informed decisions beneficial to your organisation. Also, with an ERP system, you can focus on your business without worrying about account mismanagement and clumsy financial records.
Next is the supply chain management module, which streamlines supply chain activities from sourcing raw materials to production and delivering the finished product to the final customer. It is an essential ERP module that gives accurate data on supply chain processes so that you can fix issues, meet production plans, predict impending issues, and prevent production delays. Additionally, it automatically orders go before it runs out of stock to ensure the business never runs out of stock.
Human resources is another essential ERP module. The HR module solves the issue of manual input of the company’s data by the human resource manager. Managing a group of people requires a lot of proper planning and documentation, which, when done manually, consumes time. The human resources module automates attendance monitoring, off-boarding, recruitment, onboarding, tax payment, and salary payroll. Also, an integrated feature provides precise data on employees’ performance for easy assessment, allocation of new roles in the company, and automates payment directly to employees’ accounts.
In addition, the customer relationship management module of the ERP system handles all aspects of customers’ communication and feedback. It provides essential customer data like name, age, gender, religion, lifestyle, and salary range. With this vital information, businesses can structure their marketing or sales message to channels that their ideal customers use frequently. Furthermore, the analysis helps track buyers’ history, optimise your process, and enhance customer service.
Finally, there is also the business intelligence module. Oil and gas companies rely on data to carry out essential functions. The business intelligence module collects data, analyses it, and presents it in the required format, such as tables, visual documents, or numbers. Thus, an all-inclusive overview of business data makes the job easier for business owners to make decisions and take action.
Key Roles of ERP in Digital Transformation
Enterprise Resources Planning system plays a crucial role in digital transformation. It has redefined the way businesses operate and made operations more straightforward. Its numerous roles include the following:
Centralised Data System
Data is vital for an organisation to operate business smoothly. Without it, analysing performance, making predictions, or devising a good marketing strategy would be complex. However, with multiple departments, organisations cannot unify these departments when there is no functional and centralised system. ERP systems incorporate all business processes into a single database for easy access to information. Through a centralised system, employees can access and share information from anywhere without limitations since there is data on finance, inventory, human resources, and supply chain. In the same vein, a centralised data system will enable employers to monitor and track business activities to make informed decisions favourable to their businesses. Furthermore, it helps to eliminate data silos, wasted resources, and inconsistency in data.
Process Optimisation and Automation
Statistics have shown that employees spend much time handling mundane and repetitive tasks; instead of channelling that time to other important aspects of the business. The reason for this is the absence of digital software to automate these tasks and increase productivity. Automation is part of an enterprise resource planning system. For starters, regarding purchase orders, ERP optimises orders without supervision once the company has programmed it to automate such a task. For example, a company that orders a particular amount of gasoline every month can programme the system to take that order without waiting for permission or supervision.
Also, automation is vital in finance and accounting because it requires large numbers and accurate records. An ERP system optimises the calculation process and provides accurate reports devoid of errors. Imagine the time consumption it takes to calculate large figures manually, and there are still errors at the end. But with ERP, finance recording is flawless.
Improved Customer Experience
Customers are the backbone of any organisation. The oil and gas business is complex already with fierce competitors, and to succeed, business owners need to improve their customers’ experience with an ERP. An ERP has diverse tools to help businesses surpass clients’ expectations. It streamlines the order management process, such as tracking orders, monitoring inventory, and maintaining steady communication with suppliers to enable businesses to handle customers’ orders efficiently. The ERP system also has the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to track customer interactions and analyse customer preferences through the available information. Businesses can personalise their services to customers’ needs by leveraging the data. In addition, ERP systems automate billing and invoice processes to ensure timeliness and accuracy. Customers are clear and happy when the billing process is transparent without any errors.
Business Intelligence is a part of the ERP system that analyses and interprets data for organisations. It uses different tools (charts, graphs, tables) and techniques to transform raw data into meaningful information. Business intelligence tracks key performance indicators (KPI) like performance metrics, sales, profitability, productivity, and customer feedback. With this, organisations have insights into business activities and would seek new areas of improvement. It also helps to predict future occurrences because of data analysis on the past and present performance of the organisation. As a result of its user-friendly interface and interactive visualisations, users can explore data independently without relying on IT or data analysts to interpret data.
Scalability and Flexibility
Since the market constantly evolves, companies need modern software that adapts to these changes. ERP systems are designed to accommodate changes in business operations and industry demands. As your company expands by adding more outlets and reaching new markets, the ERP scale up to the company’s standard. Companies can also customise ERP systems to a specific business requirement that suits the company’s image.
Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance
ERP systems incorporate robust security measures to secure business data. Advanced user management software in the ERP integrated suite provides an authentication mechanism, encryption, and data backup to curtail data loss and leak. Also, it ensures compliance with industry regulations and legal requirements to reduce the risk of penalties or fines. On the other hand, it helps manage risks associated with the supply chain. They enable end-to-end visibility from procurement to distribution. Companies can implement contingency plans and respond swiftly to unforeseen events to minimise equipment downtime.
The role of ERP in digital transformation cannot be overemphasized as it is pivotal to the growth of any organisation. ERP has not only incorporated a wide range of advanced digital solutions to revolutionise businesses across all industries, organisations, especially the oil and gas industry, need an ERP to navigate the industry’s complexities.
After thorough research on the challenges facing the oil and gas industry, https://www.rockeye.africa/ has designed an integrated ERP suite for downstream oil and gas businesses in Africa.
We have customised solutions ranging from sales portal and CRM, automated retail operations, smart logistics, advanced user management, and more.
Visit our website https://www.RockEye.Africa for comprehensive information on ERP systems.