ERP platforms can drive public sector digital modernisation

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Despite the potential to cut costs and improve service provided by ERP systems, funding concerns and a perceived shortage of technical skills means the public sector remains slow to adopt the technology. Mark Gibbison, Public Sector Direct at Unit4, has argued that ERP is in fact within the reach of most public bodies.


ERP platforms

ERP platforms- Many businesses purchase enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to manage various business processes within the organisation – including accounting, human resources and purchasing – in one integrated system. If implemented well, such systems have various analytical features, such as performance evaluation, reporting and decision making, which allow for business flexibility and efficiency gains. The benefits of ERPs need not be limited to private companies, however.

According to Mark Gibbison, consultancy Unit4’s Global Director for Public Sector, many organisations are missing a trick by failing to leverage the potential of ERP in the public sphere. In an article for Unit4’s company blog, Gibbison argued that if the digital capabilities of public sector organisations are to yield the same possibilities as those of the private sector, a long-term strategic change will be needed.

Gibbison stated, “By holding back from digital transformation and failing to embrace agile business applications, government organisations cannot implement the sophisticated, seamless working processes and people-centred systems that their corporate counterparts are already benefitting from. But it’s not too late for change.”

That change may be easier than many public sector leaders think, too. Gibbison contends that while many government bodies cite “lack of overall strategy, challenges with organisational agility and a shortage of technical skills” as inhibiting their ability to adopt new operational technologies, ERP tools could actually help organisations improve in these areas.

“Up to 95% of government organisations want to increase their efficiency, and ERP technology can deliver immediate gains in this area,” he explained. “Choosing a platform with a simple user interface will enable non-tech-savvy users to make changes, while clear reporting features enable quicker, more informed decision-making.”

Matter of urgency

Despite the potential benefits of ERP, and the fact they seem to fit exactly what public sector institutions already recognise as problems, there remains a lack of urgency in calls for change. Gibbison admits that perhaps the most significant hurdle preventing adoption is cost.

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