Due to the growing trend of globalization and increasing competition in global markets, companies in the coming years will be forced to join the global markets; hence, to achieve this goal, it seems necessary to get deeply prepared in various aspects. In this regard, information technology is one of the most effective tools which can accelerate the preparation process and help organizations keep the pace with the growing trend. The ERP system is one of the most important tools of information and communication technology which plays an essential role in the integration of information and operations of the institutions and can provide the opportunity to join world markets using special facilities. ERP systems are now discussed as one of the latest tools of planning and management in the world. These systems, utilizing information technology, are able to integrate the systems and operations of the organization and make them accessible in the form of a single database.

Introduction of ERP Systems

The main philosophy of the ERP software is based on the process orientation and its development in the organization involves major sectors. Hence, the implementation of ERP should be considered as a project with organizational dimensions. This approach requires changes in cultural, human, technical, structural and process dimensions of the organization. Despite such binding, many ERP implementation project managers only take into account the technical and financial aspects of the project and neglect other ones. This issue leads to the failure of ERP implementation. ERP systems are comprehensive software packages which have been provided as solutions helping the integration of all processes and functional domains of the business. The term ERP as a generic name is used for this group of software packages. The main advantages of these systems is to create a common integrated platform for the integration processes of the business. ERP systems have two important features: firstly, they create a cohesion and security in all parts of the business; secondly, they are capable of providing service to companies of all sizes and the volume of activity and geographic expansion. There are various definitions presented on the ERP software, some of which are as follows:
• ERP software is a comprehensive system developed to integrate all functions and departments within the organization using a single computer system, so that the needs of different parts of the organization are met.
• ERP software is a commercial software package aimed at integrating information and its stream among all parts of the organization, including financial sector, account department, human resources, supply chain and customer management. In fact, most of definitions provided on the ERP software somehow point to the comprehensiveness, integration and expansion features of this software.
• ERP software is a set of integrated, ready-to-launch, predesigned, and pre-engineered modules which cover all business processes of the organization. Actually, it is a very complex task to achieve the maximum efficiency of ERP implementation along with the coordination of the software with organizational needs. In this way, the ERP software highly helps the organization enjoy a process-oriented, information-centered and real-time environment which is integrated in terms of access to information.
• ERP software is an IT-based solution which provides management control over resources of the organization by a fast, accurate and high quality integrated system to properly manage the planning and operating processes of the organization (Christopher Koch, 2002).
Many IT experts believe that only part of the organization's information is used in decision-making processes, and a major part of it remains idle due to the lack of specialists; such as valuable gas which has being burned on the oil fields for years due to the lack of facilities and inattention of decision-makers. Hence, any IT tools that help the organization prevent wasting its most valuable resource and promote the movement from a traditional task orientation to a process-based one can be effective in improving methods and increasing the resources productivity. Information technology and re-engineering of operational processes are two vital tools to qualitatively and quantitatively develop organizations in line with normative collection and utilization of vital information resources. ERP solutions are currently considered as the most appropriate platform and tools in terms of information technology and re-engineering processes (Kazerooni and Shakoori M., 2002).
Six main reasons forcing organizations to seek ERP solutions are as follows:
• Accelerating and standardizing production and service processes
• Integration of operational information
• Integration of financial information
• Integration of customer order information
• Reduction of the inventory
• Standardizing and integrating information resources
The main purpose of ERP software is to gather different departments and domains of an organization into a single integrated system so that the system can meet the needs of all sectors of the organization. Developing a single software being able to meet all needs of financial sectors in the same way that the needs of other sectors such as human resources or warehouse and equipment are met is not easy. Usually every part of the organization has unique software and applications which have developed and are run according to the needs of that sector; however, ERP innovation seeks to combine software needs of all sectors and provide an integrated environment which uses a single software bank. In this case, all departments and units of the organization will be able to share information and communicate with each other easily. For example, consider the process of receiving an order from the customer; usually such an order is recorded on a demand note and starts its circulation from a sector to another. Each sector, according to its own system performs encoding and then sends the demand note to the other sector. In such a long journey, there is the likelihood of operations delay, losing records, and even sometimes making mistakes. On the other hand, no one is exactly aware of the order status due to the lack of a single system connecting the information of different parts to each other. As a result, the financial sector, for example, cannot access to the warehouse system to get detailed information about whether the order is completed or not (Avraham, 2000). While the ERP software pushes away the independent systems being run in the financial sector, warehouse, human resources and manufacturing part and presents an integrated software as an alternative to perform the tasks of all sectors more thoroughly compared to the previous system. Most of ERP suppliers are flexible enough to sell and install only some modules without purchasing the complete package if customer needed. For example, a manufacturing company can request only the financial or human resources modules.
As a summary, it can be said that ERP software is not only the union of different organizational processes and tasks in the form of a software package, but it should at least have a few key features to be considered as an appropriate solution. The keys are as follows:
• Flexibility: the ERP systems should be able to meet the variable needs of organizations and users
• Open - circuit modules: these systems should be designed in a way that each component of the software package can be changed without affecting other procedures.
• Universality: ERP systems should support different organizational tasks and be used in accordance with a wide range of organizations.
• Beyond-the-company capabilities: these systems should be able to connect online to other organizations and business partners including suppliers and customers.
• The best available practices: these systems should include a set of best and experienced practices used around the world.
• Simulation of reality
• Other features: in addition to the features outlined above, it can be pointed to the cases such as integration between modules to save time, reduction of works, elimination of rework and optimization of resources, user-friendly environment featuring elegant menus, online help and appropriate graphics relations, flexibility in compliance with the laws of countries in the fields of finance, tax, sales, import and export, providing safe access to the system as well as transfer and exchange of information and recording ultimate volume of information (Shtub Avraham, 2000).
• ...
 
Key Features of an ERP System
 
The fact is that there is no precise boundary for features of the ERP software, but usually systems supporting the following capabilities are called ERP software:
• Being process-oriented: it means that all systems and modules are implemented based on a process-oriented platform and all processes are flexible and can be changed.
• Comprehensiveness: encompassing all needs of an organization in all main and staff areas
• Security: having a comprehensive security solution to control user access to all components of the software
• Architecture: having a dynamic and multilayered architecture that is capable of being developed.
• Flexibility to changes (Customization): the software provides users with the capability of changing the elements such as user interface, reports, processes, database, data storage, and business rules or adding them to the system at runtime.
• User Interface: changing the existing user interface (including windows, menus, fields in windows, ...) or adding new windows and menus to the system running by the user or the system administrator.
• Reports: changing the existing reports or adding a new report to the system running by the user or the system administrator.
• Processes: changing the existing processes or adding a new process to the system running by the user or the system administrator.
• Database
• Database and data storage: changing the existing database tables or adding a new table to the system running by the user or the system administrator.
• Business rules: changing the existing business rules in accordance with the laws and regulations or adding new rules.
• Independent of the software developer team: the system should be in such a way that the consumer organization has the minimum dependency on the software developer. This feature is achieved through the software flexibility to changes.
• Best Practices: having appropriate and prepared defaults and solutions for different industries. The definition of ERP software is usually accompanied by the term "Best Practice", namely, the developer should provide the defaults required by the client along with the software itself.
 

The Inbox of Shomaran is a powerful and efficient tool to perform office affairs related to the secretariat and communications cycle as well as all operational processes and monitoring workflows in the organization, so that all activities such as letter arrival and record, referrals, transcripts, letters history , forms, operations circulations, etc. are recorded and controlled by the system. In other words, various side facilities of the Shomaran Inbox enable users and administrators to perform and follow up all ongoing operations of the organization using this system without the need for other software. among the prominent features of this software, it can be pointed to the communication between Inbox and Form Builder as well as Workflow Engine. It should be noted that the Inbox of Shomaran System, beyond the intelligent infrastructure development of the Shomaran ERP is considered to be an automation software.

The term "Workflo Engine" refers to the operational aspect of a work procedure such as structuring different work sectors, determining people who are supposed to perform tasks, specifying the order of tasks and handling their synchronization, and determining the flow of information to support, following up and tracking the works. Any workflow has an executive process divided into different parts which are allocated to specific people to be performed. Actually, in an organization, each task consists of some smaller tasks which are usually carried out by different people. Each task is performed through a specific executive process. The main purpose of designing the Shomaran Workflow tool is to manage workflows of the organization according to the following stages:
• Assign duties to selected persons
• Management of the time interval between the sending a task (after being performed by an employee) and the arrival of that task to the next relevant person.
To achieve the above goals, it is firstly needed to precisely examine the implementation of processes in the organization and then plot the workflow diagrams. Accordingly, the data flow diagrams of the organization, considering the existing information flow and processes taking place in the organization, are designed and revised and then the large processes are broken into smaller and more detailed ones. In many cases, it is possible to make fundamental changes to the workflows of the organization and improve the effectiveness and speed of performing tasks through eliminating or adding some works to the workflow.

 

The Shomaran Form Builder is a tool used to design organizational forms. Some of features provided by this tool are as follows:
• Designing types of organizational forms by Admin of the system
• Providing a complete set of design tools
• Defining specific characteristics of a form (size, shape, title, etc.)
• Characterizing display fields (type of fields, input data formats, field writing, etc.)
• Applying access level for information input in the designed forms
• Designing a separate workflow for each form by Designer Workflow and the organizational chart.
• Determining the dependence between fields of a form
• Making changes after design and flow of information
• Temporary exit from Work Flow and return to it when it is needed to use another routine for letter or form circulation in terms of organizational chart
• Determining the size and location of each field by Admin of the system
• The possibility of forms circulation in the Inbox
 

Report Generator is a powerful tool to generate various reports in the system and provides users and managers with many features to produce dynamic and parametric reports. The Shomaran Report Generator enables users and managers to access spot information of the organization in the shortest time possible. Some features of this tool are as follows:
• Group or individual settings of features related to the selected fields in reports
• The possibility of selecting, sorting, grouping, and setting the conditions and statistical information based on the all available fields
• Communicating with other software and selecting report fields from different parts of the software
• Definition of formulated fields
• Saving reports as Word, Excel, etc. files
• Printing the report
• Providing statistical reporting in the form of cubic data
• Plotting charts for defined reports
 

 

• Graphically generating, storing, retrieving, and editing workflows and business processes
• Defining the content formats for documents, records, and forms in the workflow
• Defining decision-making conditions at different stages of the workflow and process
• Designing and implementing the processes of the organization in different parts of the workflow and process
• Communicating with different databases and making decision according to their information while working with workflows and processes or sending and receiving information through different SOA services
 

Each ERP system has several horizontal services and some vertical modules which can be enumerated as follows:
• Finance: all systems and facilities related to financial affairs including Accounting, Budget and Finance, Receipts and Payments, Cost Price, Warehouse Accounting, Project Accounting, Properties, etc.
• Human Resources: all systems and facilities related to the management of human resources affairs of the organization including staff information, judgments, payroll, leave, mission, insurance, welfare, loan, retirement, etc.
• Support: all systems and facilities used for procurement of requirements in the organization such as commodity and warehouse management, purchasing and procurement, tenders and auctions, transportation, etc.
• Customer Relationship Management: all systems and facilities used to provide more and better services to customers including sales, marketing, call center, bills, etc.
 

Address: No. 4, unit 5, 3rd Floor, Shomaran Bldg, Savojinia Alley, Pakistan St., Shahid Beheshti Ave., Tehran, Iran
Tel: (+9821)89334
Extension: 301 
Email: info@shomaran.com