Top Advanced Features in Modern ERP Systems (Explained for Beginners)

Thanks to world-changing technological advancements, business owners can run businesses with the latest and most efficient enterprise resource planning (ERP) features, including advanced data analytics and reporting, embedded AI, real-time operations, etc.

These features help streamline business operations by managing various organizational functions. They allow you to automate e-invoicing, financial data management, and reporting processes, increasing your company’s productivity.

ERP systems are the most powerful systems in the data management industry because they can centralize a data platform and integrate an entire organization’s infrastructure.

The ideal modern-age ERP system unifies and automates a business’s core processes by optimizing purchasing practices, regulating inventory control, managing sales processes, and providing reliable data insights from all departments.

Businesses with advanced enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems enjoy improved order accuracy, faster response times, and better access to customer information.

Each system offers varied resource planning features tailored to a specific industry, making choosing the ideal system for your business daunting.

But don’t worry. In this article, we’ll list and elaborate on the most advanced must-have features for the seamless functioning of your organization’s processes.

1. Automation

Manually performing repeatable tasks like invoicing, order processing, payroll, and reporting is time-consuming for any organization. Modern-day ERP systems contain automation features that allow you to minimize the time spent on data entry and reduce errors.

Your employees can spend time on more valuable tasks while the ERP performs repeatable tasks flawlessly.

When one user of your ERP system enters data, it is available across the organization. For example, when a stock-keeping unit (SKU) becomes available, the inventory tracking module can automatically trigger a shipment.

This streamlines the shipping and delivery processes, resulting in better customer experience and more revenue. The business executives can also access the system to receive up-to-date metrics reports and cash flow automatically.

2. Advanced data analytics and reporting

The power of data analysis enables employers to gather various information and turn it into actionable insight. It is an effective business growth strategy used by new organizations and existing companies to enhance current processes, spot fraud, and reduce costs.

Advanced reporting capabilities allow business owners to respond to complex data requests promptly. Every organization generates vast amounts of data through multiple processes.

A reliable ERP system analyzes and presents this data comprehensibly to employers and employees. Managers and executives can easily access and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics without requiring specialized technical skills.

For example, a company’s accountant can generate presentable reports on revenue, cash flow, and expenses for more accurate budgeting. This feature allows organizations to identify potential issues and spot trends to make data-driven choices.

3. Accounting and electronic invoicing

ERP accounting features allow companies to store, track, and analyze financial data. Business owners can easily view the accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), budgets, and general ledger (GL).

This feature can also help you perform more advanced tasks such as monitoring your organization’s fixed assets, managing tax, recognizing revenue, reconciling multi-currency, and automating invoicing processes.

Finance is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of a business’s performance. The accounting functionality minimizes the time it takes to close out monthly financial statements, enhancing the overall business operation.

The accounting features in an ERP system are similar to those in standalone financial management software.

The benefit of using an ERP with accounting features is that it can draw sensitive data from different departments, synthesize it, and store it in a central database. You can access it here for invoicing, reporting, analytics, and other essential financial processes.

See also: Reselling vs. Building E-Invoicing Solutions: A Strategic Decision for ERP Integration Companies.

4. Embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI capabilities integrated into ERP systems enable advanced data analysis, predictive modeling, and automation across various business functions. For example, AI-powered algorithms can analyze historical sales data to forecast future demand accurately.

Artificial intelligence is also critical in enhancing customer service and satisfaction.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms integrated into ERP systems enable chatbots and virtual assistants to interact with customers in real-time, address inquiries, process orders, and provide personalized recommendations.

Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can detect patterns in financial transactions to flag potential fraud or analyze production data to optimize manufacturing processes and minimize defects.

These predictive capabilities empower businesses to mitigate risks and keep up with the competition.

5. Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) software stores, tracks, and interacts with customer data. Although this feature is not standard in outdated ERP systems, it is becoming common in advanced systems.

Leveraging CRM functionalities in your ERP can help improve lead generation and make upselling more manageable and effective. Operating on a single database also minimizes costs associated with customer data management.

Customer relationship management systems allow businesses to automate customer-related processes like filling out purchase order forms (POs), generating accounts receivable reminders, and sending notifications for follow-ups when prospect clients reach a predefined point in the sales process.

6. Sales and marketing

Like customer relationship management systems, sales and marketing features focus on helping organizations optimize sales, maintain customer relationships, and improve overall sales performance. They may include specialized functions for sales forecasting, revenue operation, and sales analytics and reporting.

Business owners can also use the sales and marketing features to generate quotes and purchase orders, manage commissions, and track critical details like losses, profit ratios, and margins.

Some enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems offer basic marketing features, such as email marketing tools that allow you to monitor campaigns. The marketing team can track engagement, reach, and conversion rate metrics.

They can also have customer segmentation tools to help categorize customers based on specific criteria. This allows more targeted marketing strategies to drive more leads and track customer activity.

7. Supply chain management

Advanced ERP systems provide insight into sourcing raw materials and the parts required for manufacturing and sales processes.

The supply chain management feature enhances a company’s efficiency by tracking inventory, demand, logistics, manufacturing processes, and distribution.

A fully automated supply chain suggests work orders, purchase orders, and transfer orders from various locations. These systems can also help simplify distribution resource planning and set inventory goals.

Real-time data from the supply chain feature allows businesses to identify inefficiencies, providing greater control over inventory.

8. Real-time operations

Today's business environment makes real-time processing critical. Due to immediate updates and information availability, business owners can monitor and manage their businesses promptly.

The real-time operations feature is especially critical for business processes such as inventory management, where stock levels change rapidly. This lets you know your in-demand products and the most appropriate restocking time.

This feature ensures that the most impactful decision-makers in an organization have the most recent information at their fingertips, allowing them to make decisions quickly.

For example, if a particular product runs low on volume, the system can notify the procurement team immediately, thus preventing stockouts.

The immediacy of the real-operations feature enhances operational efficiency while improving customer satisfaction. Goods are delivered on time as the system detects when a shipping and delivery process is over and initiates another.

9. Integration

The core feature of an advanced ERP system is the ability to integrate. This allows company owners to run multiple business processes in a unified system.

For example, when the sales or procurement team closes a deal, the information is immediately available to the finance team. They can initiate the invoicing process and request order fulfillment from the warehouse team.

The interconnection of various departments and processes helps eliminate data silos, reducing the likelihood of errors and ensuring all teams are working with up-to-date information.

It also creates a more collaborative environment for employees, resulting in higher productivity. They can easily access and understand information relevant to their duties, making it easier to accomplish their daily tasks.

10. Customization and scalability

A reliable ERP system should be flexible enough to be adaptable to emerging business requirements. For example, being capable of adhering to emerging electronic invoicing regulations.

As e-invoicing evolves, countries worldwide continue changing their requirements to help with tax compliance and simplify the invoicing process further.

An ERP system should be scalable to adapt to new trends and user demands. ERP providers can ensure their customers are satisfied by sending updates to the system to meet their requirements.

Customizable solutions can process a large scope of improvement in their functionalities, aiding overall business operations. Scalability prevents the costly and time-consuming process of replacing an entire system due to various organizational changes.

Business owners can have an idea of their organization’s future, but there are unknowns. The ideal ERP system should understand the future requirements and grow in sync with the business.

11. Remote and mobile compatibility features

One of the significant features sought in today’s ERP systems is remote and mobile compatibility functionality. This feature fulfills the need for data at hand anytime and anywhere.

The feature relies on cloud-based systems to support the remote working culture. These systems are significantly less expensive than on-premise infrastructure and IT maintenance costs.

The remote and mobile compatibility features allow business owners to access and share information from remote locations. This near-real-time data can help when mission-critical decisions are required.

Despite the increased use of desktops and laptops, most people are connected to mobile phone screens. Today’s business executives prefer to look up information on their mobiles anywhere, saving time and facilitating speedy decisions.

Advanced ERP systems should provide mobile access to processes and databases. This ensures that employees are up-to-date with any business-related information.

12. Implementation and usability

Introducing employees to a new system can be daunting. But with today's advanced ERP systems, you can get help onboarding users.

Modern-day ERPs feature manuals, guides, and videos to help employees learn how to use the system. They also provide adequate customer service and issue frequent updates to help solve problems.

A user-friendly interface aids in the successful adoption of an ERP system. Modern ERPs are designed with intuitive dashboards that allow users quick access to information.

A well-designed interface reduces training time, minimizes errors, and improves productivity. For instance, drag-and-drop functionality, visual data representations, and easily accessible help resources can make the system more approachable for all users, regardless of their technical proficiency.

13. Cloud-based accessibility

Cloud-based ERP systems offer unparalleled flexibility and scalability. These systems allow companies to easily access their data anywhere, anytime, on their PC or phone.

Cloud-based accessibility is particularly ideal for companies with remote or distributed teams. It ensures employees can stay connected and productive regardless of location.

Cloud-based ERPs eliminate the need for significant upfront hardware investments and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

The service provider manages the infrastructure, minimizing costs for server maintenance, updates, or data backups, which reduces IT expenses and resource allocation.

14. Project management

Advanced ERP systems often include robust project management tools that help businesses plan, execute, and monitor projects from start to finish. These tools provide features like task scheduling, resource allocation, budget tracking, and progress reporting.

For example, a construction company can use ERP project management tools to manage timelines, track labor costs, and ensure that materials are delivered on schedule.

Project management tools in ERP systems also facilitate collaboration among team members. With centralized project data and real-time updates, all stakeholders can access the latest information, communicate effectively, and make informed decisions.

This minimizes the risk of miscommunication and delays, ensuring timely project completion and compliance with the required standards.

Additionally, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and generating detailed reports allows project managers to identify potential issues early and take corrective actions, further enhancing project outcomes.

15. Human resource management (HRM)

HRM features in modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems streamline various HR processes such as recruitment, employee onboarding, payroll, performance evaluations, and benefits administration.

Businesses can reduce administrative burdens and ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations by automating these tasks. For instance, an ERP can automatically calculate payroll taxes, track employee attendance, and manage leave requests.

The HRM module also provides valuable insights into workforce trends and performance metrics. Managers can access data on employee productivity, turnover rates, and skill gaps, enabling them to make data-driven decisions about hiring, training, and retention strategies.

This holistic view of the workforce helps businesses optimize their human resources, improve employee satisfaction, and build a more resilient organization. Additionally, employee self-service portals allow them to access their personal information, request leave, and view pay stubs, enhancing transparency.

16. Business intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence tools integrated into ERP systems enable organizations to review large volumes of data and generate actionable insights. These tools provide advanced analytics, data visualization, and predictive modeling capabilities.

For instance, a retailer can use BI to analyze customer purchasing patterns, forecast demand, and optimize inventory levels. By leveraging BI, businesses can make data-driven decisions that enhance operational efficiency and drive growth.

BI tools also facilitate performance monitoring and benchmarking across various departments and processes. Managers can track key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time, compare performance against targets, and identify areas for improvement.

This continuous feedback loop enables businesses to adapt to changing market conditions. A reliable system’s predictive analytics can help forecast future trends and outcomes, allowing organizations to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

17. Manufacturing execution system (MES)

An MES is a critical component for manufacturing businesses. It connects, monitors, and controls complex manufacturing systems and data flows in the factory.

An MES feature provides real-time production data, quality control, and maintenance management. For example, a car manufacturer can use it to track the production progress of each vehicle, identify bottlenecks, and ensure that quality standards are met.

The MES also supports advanced manufacturing techniques such as lean manufacturing and just-in-time (JIT) production. Businesses can optimize resource utilization, reduce waste, and improve productivity by providing real-time visibility into production processes.

Maintenance management features help prevent equipment failures by scheduling preventive maintenance and tracking machine performance. This proactive approach to maintenance reduces unplanned downtime and extends the lifespan of manufacturing assets.

18. Risk management

Risk management features in ERP systems help organizations identify, assess, and mitigate risks. These features include risk assessment tools, incident reporting, and risk mitigation planning.

A financial institution can use ERP risk management tools to monitor credit, market, and operational risks. Proactively managing risks allows businesses to protect their assets, ensure regulatory compliance, and maintain stakeholder confidence.

This holistic approach to risk management allows organizations to anticipate potential issues and implement strategies to minimize their impact.

Risk management features also facilitate the creation of contingency plans and response protocols. Businesses can quickly assess the situation and implement corrective actions in case of an incident.

19. Tracking and visibility

Due to its value, organizations zealously track, record, store, and guard customer, financial, and other data. It includes contact information, pricing, order history, discounting, specifications, and payment practices.

A business must protect this confidential information and, at the same time, make it available to multiple parts of the organization. Outdated ERP systems often suffered data silos caused by legacy technology, which was a primary inhibitor of data flow across a company.

Such technology limitations are slow, making organizing, cleaning, and exporting information difficult. Advanced ERP platforms allow owners to track, access, and understand business data.

They facilitate companywide access to near real-time data and break down information silos to offer reporting and analysis for every business operation. However, data restrictions allow access only to required users, which prevents data leakages.

Benefits of e-Invoicing integration with ERP systems

Integrating e-invoicing with an ERP system offers many benefits that streamline business processes and enhance financial management.

E-invoicing adoption is rapidly increasing globally, with many countries mandating its use to enhance tax compliance and streamline business transactions.

Here are some key advantages of incorporating e-invoicing with your ERP system:

Increased efficiency

Integrating e-invoicing with an ERP system allows organizations to automate routine invoicing processes, reducing manual data entry and minimizing errors.

E-invoicing also reduces the administrative burden on accounting and finance teams. It eliminates manual data entry and paper-based operations, allowing employees to spend time on more strategic tasks such as financial analysis and planning.

Cost savings

It leads to significant cost savings by reducing paper usage, printing, and postage costs. Traditional invoicing methods require substantial resources for printing, mailing, and storing paper invoices.

Switching to electronic invoicing eliminates these expenses and reduces their environmental footprint. Automated invoicing processes streamline workflows and reduce the need for additional staff to handle invoice-related tasks.

The approach allows businesses to invest in other areas of growth and development and allocate resources more efficiently.

Faster payment cycles

E-invoicing integration with ERP systems accelerates payment cycles by enabling faster invoice generation, delivery, and processing. Electronic invoices can be delivered to customers instantly, eliminating the delays associated with traditional mail.

This prompt delivery ensures that customers receive and review invoices quickly, leading to faster payment approvals and settlements.

Faster payment cycles improve cash flow and liquidity, giving businesses the financial stability to invest in growth opportunities and meet their obligations.

E-invoicing systems often include automated payment reminders and notifications to encourage timely customer payments.

Enhanced compliance

It ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Many countries have specific regulations regarding electronic invoicing, including data formats, digital signatures, and archiving.

ERP systems with integrated e-invoicing capabilities can automatically adhere to these regulations, ensuring that invoices meet legal and tax requirements.

Compliance with e-invoicing regulations reduces the risk of penalties, audits, and legal issues. Businesses can confidently send electronic invoices, knowing they comply with local and international standards.

You may also like: What Is E-Invoicing Compliance? - A Detailed Guide.

Better visibility and tracking

E-invoicing integration with ERP systems provides better visibility and tracking of invoicing processes. Businesses can monitor invoice status in real-time, from creation to payment.

This transparency allows finance teams to track invoice approval, delivery, and payment status, ensuring that any issues are promptly addressed.

Enhanced visibility and tracking improve cash flow management and financial planning. Businesses gain insights into their accounts receivable, identify challenges in the invoicing process, and forecast future cash inflows.

Improved customer relationships

It improves customer relationships by enhancing communication and transparency. Customers can receive invoices promptly and in a format that is easy to process.

Electronic invoices can include detailed information and supporting documentation, making it easier for customers to review and approve payments.

Enhanced invoicing processes reduce disputes and delays, leading to a smoother and more positive customer experience. Automated reminders and notifications ensure that customers know about upcoming payments and due dates, reducing the likelihood of late payments.

Streamlined audit processes

E-invoicing integration with ERP systems streamlines the audit process by providing a centralized database with all invoice-related information.

Auditors can easily access electronic invoices, payment records, and compliance documentation, reducing the time and effort required for audits.

Streamlined audits improve accuracy and reduce the risk of discrepancies. Electronic records are easier to verify and validate, ensuring thorough and efficient audits.

You may also like: What Is An Electronic Invoice? - The Complete Guide To E-invoicing.

Takeaway: Embrace advanced ERP features for business success

In today's business environment, leveraging advanced ERP systems is no longer just an option but a necessity for staying competitive. These systems offer robust features that streamline operations, enhance decision-making, and improve overall efficiency.

From automation and advanced data analytics to real-time operations and integrated AI, modern ERP systems empower businesses to optimize processes across departments seamlessly.

Integrating these advanced features allows organizations to gain valuable insights from data analytics, automate repetitive tasks, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

If you are navigating complex supply chains or managing intricate financial transactions, investing in a modern ERP system with these advanced features is crucial in driving growth.

As a leading provider of e-invoicing services, Storecove integrates electronic invoicing to help businesses enhance compliance, reduce administrative burdens, and improve cash flow. Contact us today to get started.

More information about ERP and E-Invoicing?

Contact us for more information or schedule a consult with one of our e-invoicing experts.

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