Streamline your business’ tech stack with enterprise resource planning

Whitney Vige 大頭照Whitney Vige
January 10th, 2024
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Summary

Enterprise resource planning is the process of merging company software and applications into a single, centralized platform. By consolidating your tech stack, you can reduce process inefficiencies and bring all your organization’s work together in one place. Coordinate, collaborate, and communicate—without switching tools. 

How many apps do you use in an average workday? Between communication apps, collaboration tools, and function-specific systems, the number might be higher than you think. For most small companies, workers juggle as many as six apps per day. For enterprise workers, the number climbs as high as nine.

All that app switching adds up. Companies with large tech stacks see more business inefficiencies and lowered productivity. That’s where enterprise resource planning comes in. 

What is enterprise resource planning?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the process of integrating all company software and business-related applications into a single platform. For example, ERP implementation might involve merging an organization’s customer relationship management software, financial management technologies, HR tools, and other business-critical software systems into a centralized location. This allows teams to access the company’s tools in one place, cutting down on timely manual tasks while increasing visibility and cross-team collaboration. 

Here’s what ERP doesn’t do: it doesn’t replace your business systems. Each department can still use their preferred tools—but instead of existing in a silo, the tools now exist in a single location. This makes it easier for teams to communicate across departments and see what work is getting done around them.

Not all enterprise resource planning systems are equipped to meet business needs. One ERP solution is to merge your tools into a comprehensive work management platform like Asana, which can integrate with key business tools and systems like Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, Google Workplace, Salesforce, Jira, and more.

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How does enterprise resource planning work?

Have you ever stopped to count how many systems your organization uses? The number might be higher than you expect. Think about the last time you needed to solve a problem with a tool—did you consider using your existing systems, or just tack on new tech to solve the problem? Often, companies adopt technology without evaluating the tools already in place, or thinking about how they work together. The result is a large, siloed—and costly—tech stack.

And there’s no way around it—the more tools you have, the larger the cost to productivity. Our research found that consistent app switching—caused by too many tools that don’t work together—leads to disconnected information, duplicative processes, and less efficiency. Plus, app switching is causing employees to work longer hours, potentially leading to higher employee attrition and productivity loss.

Enterprise resource planning combats this by consolidating all existing business applications and tools into one centralized platform. When everything is in one place, anyone in your organization can work from this single, united system—no matter what team they’re on. The result is streamlined business processes, reduced inefficiencies, and easier communication. Plus, ERP helps your employees better understand how their work connects to the organization’s high-level goals—which increases employee engagement and leads to high-impact work. 

Enterprise resource planning example

Let’s say your engineering team manages their workflow in an engineering-specific tool, like Jira. While the tool is perfect for their needs, your business team isn’t in Jira, which makes communication between the teams manual and difficult to track. ERP solves this problem by centralizing communication into a single platform. 

Since ERP doesn’t replace existing tools, that means your engineering team can keep using Jira—and now, your business team can effectively connect and communicate with them through the centralized platform. For example, Asana integrates with over 260 tools—including Jira—letting you merge business-critica tools, simplify your tech stack, and streamline cross-functional workflows. 

What are the benefits of enterprise resource planning? 

App switching isn’t just a time-suck—it’s a productivity killer. Our research found that 25% of workers who use more than 16 apps said they miss messages and actions (compared to 8% using 1–5 apps and 15% using 6–15). Plus, 23% of these workers said their attention span was reduced because of app-switching.

That’s where enterprise resource planning can help. By consolidating the number of tools your organization uses, you can reduce redundant work, minimize app switching, and simplify collaboration. Other benefits of ERP include:

  • Streamlined business processes. By consolidating all your business tools into a centralized platform, you can standardize and automate core business processes. That gives your team more time to focus on achieving high-impact work—in fact, enterprise companies stand to gain 264 hours per year by improving business processes. 

  • Connect employee work to organizational goals. Often, employees feel disconnected from topline goals and can’t conceptualize how their work connects to larger, organizational goals. By tracking goals where work gets done, ERP helps employees see their work in context, so they can effectively prioritize work that ladders up to important goals. 

  • Real-time visibility into projects and workflows. With ERP, your entire organization works from a centralized platform, which gives employees greater visibility into what other teams and colleagues are working on and why that work matters.

  • Consolidated reporting and data collection. When all your work happens in the same place, you can easily pull data from any project or team. Instead of manually piecemealing information together from multiple sources—like spreadsheets and emails—you can use reporting tools and dashboards that let you access data in real time. 

  • Reduced operational costs. Consolidating the number of tools in your tech stack doesn’t just make work more manageable—it also saves the business money. ERP helps you audit your tools and eliminate outdated or redundant tech, cutting down on operational costs. Plus, since ERP translates to streamlined business processes and increased employee productivity, you can minimize inefficiencies that ultimately cost the company time and money. 

  • Improved cross-team collaboration. One of the most challenging aspects of communicating across multiple teams is coordinating across different tools. ERP solves this by providing a single collaboration hub for all communication—no matter what team you’re on. 

  • Improved security. Data security is top-of-mind for business leaders, and for good reason. Cyberattacks can have devastating consequences for businesses, including financial repercussions and loss of customer trust. By eliminating subpar, unvetted tools and taking advantage of a secure work management platform, you can keep data secure and meet compliance requirements. 

  • Increased productivity and team-wide focus. By streamlining business processes and automating recurring tasks, ERP reduces manual work and allows teams to focus on producing high-impact work. Plus, consolidating your tech stack has a positive impact on engagement—our research found that 17% of people at enterprise companies say that fewer apps would improve their focus.

  • Enhanced team visibility. ERP consolidates where work is done, giving teams greater visibility into what’s happening around them and keeping everyone on the same page about organizational goals and project progress.  

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Who is enterprise resource planning for? 

Any company that uses multiple tools across departments can take advantage of enterprise resource planning. While ERP is undeniably useful for larger companies with larger tech stacks, small businesses and startups that use diversified tools across departments can also benefit from merging them into a single source of truth. 

Signs that your company should look into ERP include:

  • Your company is growing or has outgrown old processes or tools. 

  • You have a large tech stack spread across different departments such as finance, human resources, supply chain management, IT, marketing, and project management. 

  • Your organization’s current systems don’t integrate with each other. 

  • Your employees don’t understand how their work supports organizational goals. 

  • You’ve seen an increase in process inconsistencies or incorrect reporting data.

  • Your business is experiencing a loss of productivity as a result of overtooling and app switching. 

  • You rely on outdated or subpar systems for communication and collaboration, such as spreadsheets and docs. 

  • You or your team spend an oversized amount of time on admin or manual tasks that could be automated.

Fewer silos means fewer inefficiencies 

No matter how big or small your company is, the more tech you use the more room there is for redundant processes and business inefficiencies. Enterprise resource planning streamlines your business operations by merging all your tools and applications into a single, centralized location.

Bring your tools and data together with Asana

You only need one platform to manage work. Take advantage of our integrated business apps—including from Google, Microsoft, and more—to streamline your processes and cut down on inefficiencies. Communicate, collaborate, and coordinate directly in Asana.

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