Regardless of the type or size of your business, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can provide you with an invaluable tool for increasing productivity, decreasing workload and boosting ROI. Thanks to new features such as expanded cloud platforms and SaaS compatibility, today's ERP software can help you take your business to a whole new level.

Here are five ways an ERP system can benefit your business  and help you stand out from the competition.

1. Productivity/Cost Effectiveness

One of the biggest advantages of an ERP system is its ability to automate everything from email distribution to inventory control. An ERP system significantly reduce the need for manual data entry and virtually eliminates the need for repetitive processes.

Thanks to its versatility, an ERP system can also boost your technical productivity by eliminating the need for other software systems. Plus, most standard ERP systems work well with just about any type of business, so there's no need for enhanced features or extensive customization.

2. Collaboration/Integration

An ERP system can link every area of your commerce to create a seamless collaboration between departments. This is particularly important in sales and marketing, inventory and purchasing, and other departments that need to work in tandem to ensure success.

Imagine a scenario where you need to make a quick decision about reordering an item. An ERP system can offer instant access to data from every department, enabling you to track an item's sales history and check on current inventory so you can make an educated decision.

With an ERP system, up-to-date data can be shared, in real time, between departments so that there's never a gap in communication. This means information can be immediately accessible to every staff member who needs it, whether they're in sales, marketing, inventory, shipping or accounting.

3. New Technologies and Features

Software as a service (SaaS) or subscription-based software is slated to become the preferred deployment plan for many businesses, because it allows companies to try out software platforms, then rent them instead of making an expensive purchase. Thanks to new improvements in ERP technology, you can now access extra features  such as enhanced CRM capabilities or advanced document management simply by plugging a compatible SaaS module into your existing ERP system.

Likewise, ERP systems now offer expanded cloud applications that can streamline operational procedures such as inventory control, customer relationship management and expense accounting and also enable staff to access information from any port.

4. Mobility/Flexibility

ERP software can transform any device into a lifeline connected to your business. This enables you to run every aspect of operations from your PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone, no matter where you are. If you're on the road or in meetings and you can't be in the office -- or if you have staff members working from home -- an ERP system enables you and your employees to work together and stay connected.

5. Customer Relationship Management

No matter what type of business you're in, whether it's B2B or B2C, customer relationship management is the key to your success. Customer satisfaction leads to customer retention -- and a satisfied customer will not only keep coming back, but will also bring new clients into the fold.

An ERP system gives you and your staff instant access to every aspect of customer management from up-to-date records of emails, phone calls and other communications to a complete purchasing history for every customer. Whether you're doing sales calls, delivering shipments or handling customer questions, this instant access to information will enable you and your staff to provide immediate, top-notch customer service.

By streamlining your operations and eliminating manual data entry, an ERP system can help you boost efficiency and productivity while decreasing cost and labor. Likewise, by providing instant access to information and enabling constant communication between departments, an ERP system can help you and your staff choose the best solutions in every aspect of operations from purchasing and marketing to distribution and customer service.