Survey data can offer fantastic insights into your customer base on almost any issue. However, collecting survey data is only the first step. Once you’ve gathered responses to your questions, you need to manage your data. This includes preparing it for analysis, storing it according to data security and privacy guidelines, and archiving it so you can easily retrieve it further down the line.
Data management can be a serious challenge. Especially since you have to juggle survey data alongside a multitude of other types of business and customer data.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can help you rise to this challenge – and overcome it. But what is ERP exactly? And how can it help handle your survey data?
Introducing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
The definition of ERP is fairly broad. It describes the process of collecting and organizing key business information to establish smooth workflows and run efficient operations. It integrates different areas of your business – such as sales, human resources, marketing, and finance – via a cross-cutting software solution.
The ultimate goal of ERP is to streamline processes and optimize your business’ performance.
In many cases, data siloing is a major obstacle to productivity. For instance, many businesses have financial systems and customer relationship management platforms in place. While these are adept at handling data flows within their specialized departments, they cannot be leveraged beyond daily operations to make large-scale optimization decisions.
This is where ERP comes in – to increase your efficiency and agility.
What does ERP do?
ERP establishes highways for communication and data sharing between different departments of your business. Otherwise, they would largely operate in isolation from each other. Plus, ERP helps you collect information about the state and activities of different divisions.
Typically, there are at least five major components of ERP: human resources, finance, manufacturing, supply chain management, and relationship management. Depending on which industry and niche your business operates in, these can, of course, vary.
What all ERP systems have in common, though, regardless of their exact components, is that they help businesses become more self-aware. Linking information that would otherwise stay fragmented across a company allows high-level decision-makers to adopt a bird’s eye perspective. From this point of view, it’s much easier to identify friction points and tackle them to level up efficiency.
Furthermore, ERP can help businesses ensure that all technological systems they use are compatible. It aids you in eliminating expensive tool duplication and legacy systems that no longer integrate well with company-wide workflows.
What is an ERP system?
An ERP system is a software solution that takes on the gargantuan task of linking all the different processes outlined above.
In the past, ERP systems used to conform to traditional software models. They used physical client servers as well as manual entry systems.
Modern integrated ERP solutions, in contrast, are cloud-based and offer users remote access. ERP providers allow their clients web-based access and customizable applications.
Typically, users can select the applications best suited to their business structure. The provider then loads these applications onto a dedicated server. As soon as this basis is established, the work of integrating data and processes into the platform can begin.
While this can take a lot of time and effort, especially if internal legacy systems have to be dealt with, it is ultimately worth it.
As soon as all departments are fully integrated, data collection, management, and storage is streamlined. Authorized users can instantly access all available data. They can also easily generate reports, analyses, and handy visualizations.
What are the benefits of ERP?
There are several crucial benefits to ERP.
To begin with, it can help you implement a system for real-time data collection and reporting with one central point of access. This boosts your ability to produce comprehensive and accurate reports that can serve as a basis for forecasting, budgeting, and more general planning.
These reports are useful not just for internal processes but can also be of interest to external parties, such as shareholders and investors.
A second reason to adopt ERP is that it enhances business productivity by eliminating redundancies. Integration and automation remove friction losses and result in lean processes. Plus, interconnecting workflows between departments can help you achieve synchronization.
Next, ERP systems help you speed up time-consuming tasks, increasing efficiency. Having a central access point to all business data makes it easier to quickly pull up information for customers, team members, and business partners. This helps you boost your accuracy, cut your response time, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.
A fourth benefit of ERP is that it encourages collaboration between the different divisions of your business. By having access to each other’s data, your teams can discover and exploit synergy effects, lightening each other’s workload and sharing knowledge.
Finally, putting ERP in place also boost employee satisfaction and wellbeing. For one, it enhances collaboration with other team members across departments. This is instrumental in making people feel like part of a larger, functional team. For another, ERP also helps automate processes. By cutting back menial tasks for team members, it allows them to focus on more meaningful, rewarding work.
How can ERP help you manage survey data?
So how can ERP help you manage survey data in particular? There are two main components to this.
First, ERP can make sure that whatever department collects survey data – whether it’s HR running an employee satisfaction survey, or marketing launching a customer experience survey – is properly stored and archived.
Many surveys include sensitive information that is subject to guidelines such as the CCPA or the GDPR. This means that you must ensure compliance during collecting, processing, and storing such information. With ERP, this is a breeze. Providers of cloud-based ERP systems typically guarantee compliance with GDPR and similar legislation, such as HIPAA.
A second way in which ERP can help you manage survey data is by increasing its visibility across your business – and thus enhancing the impact of your data.
Creating a survey, design it, launching it, signal-boosting it, and collecting incoming data is a ton of work. As is data analysis and showcasing results. Too often do the outcomes of this work-intensive process remain limited in their visibility.
A survey launched by your marketing department provides valuable insights that could be of use to HR or product development. But that would forever remain buried in internal reports.
ERP ensures that this doesn’t happen. All important survey results, for instance, can be accessed by whoever could benefit from them, no matter which department they’re in.
At the end of the day, ERP delivers numerous advantages for businesses when it comes to the management of valuable data, especially survey results.
Not only does ERP open the path towards greater efficiency and accuracy by eliminating friction losses, automating processes, and streamlining workflows across departments. It also creates a central access point for data that would otherwise remain siloed.
As a result, ERP increases data visibility and ensures that it can easily be used in reports and visualizations for the benefit of internal teams as well as shareholders, customers, and investors.
Plus, cloud-based ERP systems can also resolve compliance headache when it comes to legislation such as HIPAA and the GDPR.