Although day-to-day business tasks might not have changed that much over the past several years, the way in which we get them accomplished certainly has. Computer technology first started to be commonly used in companies during the 1980s. That’s when word processors and personal computers became all the rage. Word processors started to replace typewriters, and personal computers running relatively primitive software allowed business managers and owners to automate functions that were tedious, time-consuming or prone to human error – such as accounting.
It was during this time period in the 1980s when some of the early precursors to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software first began to be used in business. Macola software was one of the first. The early Macola accounting modules were designed for PCs and intended to automate many accounting tasks.
In the 1990s, computer technology continued to grow. Larger-scale computer systems began to replace PCs. The Internet first came into existence in 1995. It was during this decade when the first true ERP products were introduced. Once again, Macola software led the way. But the more advanced technology that surfaced in the 1990s far surpassed the earlier Macola accounting modules. Instead, the first ERP products were designed to handle tasks in several different departments of a company – from accounting to manufacturing to warehousing and inventory control and more.
Today, ERP software can not only automate tasks in many different departments, but it can also act as a conduit through which disparate software systems communicate with one another. This is particularly important given the fact that most businesses have, over the years, purchased different software products for different purposes – one for accounting, another for inventory control and yet another for marketing and sales, for example. Although various software products might work quite well for the various purposes for which they’re designed, they often have a difficult time communicating with each other. ERP software enables various software products to work in tandem across department boundaries to form a single, cohesive, automated system that increases efficiency exponentially across an organization.
While there’s no doubt that ERP allows companies to automate and streamline their internal processes, the software also allows an organization to create a unified, consistent flow of communication with outside entities, such as customers, vendors and regulatory agencies. But that’s far from all that ERP accomplishes. New ERP products allow you to maintain historical files for customer and vendor purchases and expenditures. It enables you to, for example, review a customer’s purchasing history and forecast future needs for the customer. ERP can calculate taxes for various entities, and even remind you when they’re due. All this and so much more is why ERP software is a “must-have” for modern businesses!