It’s exceedingly rare for a business to think about its technology during times of disruption and change. Financial risk, employee retention and support, experience management, and customer services usually come to mind first. But lately, this traditional mind-set is beginning to evolve now that medium-size companies are connecting the dots between their operational resilience and organizational interconnectedness with cloud-based enterprise, resource and planning (ERP).

This growing awareness of ERP systems is illustrated well in a LinkedIn post from James Forsdyke, head of Product Management at Lloyd’s Register:

“Taking a moment to reflect on how ‘lucky’ we were at Lloyd’s Register for having implemented an end-to-end cloud-based ERP before the global pandemic hit. It felt really hard at the time, but ultimately meant we could keep all our lights on during global lockdowns and continue to support our customers who themselves perform such essential functions for the world at the moment.”

And Lloyd’s Register is not the only business realizing these benefits – so are many medium-size businesses worldwide. Oxford Economics reported that 45% of surveyed leaders indicated improvements, to a great or transformative extent, customer and employee experiences, new product and service innovation, customer engagement, or skill gaps by using data-driven, technology-enabled capabilities.

More than just business continuity

When Lloyd’s Register first decided to implement an advanced ERP solution back in 2015, it had no way of knowing that investment would play an integral part in their survival during a worldwide pandemic. And neither did hundreds of thousands of medium-size businesses.

But that’s the beauty of migrating, converting, or lifting and shifting a legacy business software to a more advanced ERP. The most successful businesses are the ones that create and take meaningful action to prepare for whatever happens in the future. In fact, medium-size businesses surveyed by Oxford Economic shared that their adoption of the technology played a key role in maintaining business continuity during challenging times.

While speaking with many of our customers that are medium-size businesses, I’ve learned the three capabilities enabled by advanced ERP that are driving such an important achievement:

1. One true view of business data

Recently, Galpa’s chief financial officer, Norman Rodríguez, shared with me one of the best analogies on using cloud ERP. “The support of a cloud-based ERP is like having an MRI scan connected to your business all the time. Decision makers can see every change – good, bad, and indifferent – happen in real time. They know which activities should be done more often, how to correct problem areas, and where new ideas can drive more impact.”

This perspective is particularly compelling, considering Galpa has operations in regions deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – Latin America and China. Even during times of crisis, the U.S.-based distributor and retailer of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment and parts can identify and test opportunities and validate, in real time, the full profit and loss impact of new product initiatives. Its functional managers even had the visibility to scale inventory levels better without sacrificing service level nor cash flow.

More importantly, this one source of truth allowed Galpa to obtain government-funded small business loans at a moment they were needed the most. The reporting and analytics capabilities of the ERP helped the finance team complete applications in a single day and receive approval quickly. In short order, the loans were fully forgiven because the company demonstrated that the funds were applied in line with the law, proving a critical boost to its cash flow.

2. Integrated business processes

Leaders from professional services companies with multiple legal entities have realized the benefits of an advanced ERP during a time of complete disruption of how their staff works with clients.

Connecting all organizations – including their processes and data – across all entities with a single ERP, the firms can staff their clients’ projects with the best experts no matter which entity and geographic location they reside. Furthermore, updates to employee information are posted automatically, financial closings are compliant and reconciled with ease, and payroll is completed uninterrupted and accurately.

3. Consistent, trusted compliance

Any solution that helps ensure processes and business areas remain compliant is highly valuable to finance leaders. But even more important is a system that supports governance and controls that allow employees to move through their daily work without interruption.

Take, for example, the supply chain of a medium-size provider of natural, organic, plant-based foods and healthy snacks. A cloud ERP can simplify compliance with international regulations, trigger alerts, and apply visual key performance indicators to make fast, accurate decisions. In return, supply chain decision-makers can track a product in less than five minutes, rather than nine hours, and help ensure the company’s obligations to consumers and retail customers are consistently met.

How resilient is your business?

Laying the foundation to face every challenge requires a level of interconnectedness that goes beyond business continuity – even for medium-size companies. Efforts to strengthen a unified view of data, integrated business processes, and consistent and trusted compliance yield considerable results, as seen through the real-life experiences that I just shared.

And now, you can also gain that same edge by connecting the dots between your customers, employees, insights, and processes with a cloud-based advanced ERP. Read the Oxford Economics brief, “The Interconnected Business,” to explore the value of being interconnected and the IDC info snapshot, “Business Reimagined: Protecting and Growing Revenue” to learn how to get started. ”