Cloud solutions have steadily been taking over as the main way that businesses access data and processes. This transformation has been particularly empowering for small businesses by lowering the cost of entry for productivity tools and enabling more collaborative and mobile workflows.
One challenge as companies work towards technology success by adding more collaboration and accessibility to their business tools has been dealing with an overload of applications from multiple providers.
On average, businesses rely on about five different cloud platforms for their daily operations. That means five different user interfaces to get used to, five different methods of administration, and platforms that may or may not share data easily.
A type of cloud technology designed to streamline a company’s cloud infrastructure is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
An ERP system includes multiple business application functions under one umbrella, allowing them all to share a central database of information, integrate natively with one another and simplify the administrator and user experience.
What’s Included with ERP Software?
An enterprise resource planning system allows businesses to purchase one all-inclusive platform instead of having to juggle several for different areas of their business.
The offerings of an ERP system can vary according to software developer, but some of the key components include:
- Accounting & Finance
- Risk Management
- Project Management
- Human Resources
- Sales & Customer Management
- Order Management
- Industry Specific Solutions
Reasons for Small Businesses to Consider ERP Systems
If you’re thinking that ERP systems are something only for enterprise corporations, you could be missing out on the benefits they offer smaller companies.
Today’s ERP landscape is large, with certain platforms being developed just for small and medium-sized businesses, giving them affordable tools that are scalable as they grow.
Here are several ways that an ERP system can benefit your small business.
Eliminate Redundant Processes
As companies add on different types of cloud applications, it’s common for more than one tool to offer the same type of feature. This leaves businesses wondering things like “Should we use the job quoting capability of our CRM app or our ticketingg app?”. Redundant processes can lead to confusion and additional costs.
ERP software streamlines your processes and is designed so that each application handles specific tasks that all integrate. This eliminates redundant processes and ensures you’re not paying for two different tools that do the same thing.
Integration & Automation
When you’re working with different business apps made by different companies, sharing data between them can be difficult and you can end up having to manually enter data from one application into another or trying clunky workarounds to pass-through data.
Each business app in an ERP platform shares one centralized database of information. So, data never needs to be transferred from one application to another and all apps have real-time access to data entered in by another app in the system.
This makes time-saving process automation simple to implement, with no third-party tools needed.
Access to Industry Specific Apps
If you’re in construction or manufacturing, you’re going to need different business applications than someone in distribution or professional services. Many ERP systems offer industry specific apps that you can add on to your platform.
For example, SAP Business One offers add-on modules for professional services, manufacturing, consumer products, retail, and more. There are also ERP systems designed specifically for the needs of certain fields, like construction and engineering.
Improved Security and Compliance
When all your data is spread out over multiple cloud platforms, it’s more difficult to enforce security policies and you’re at a bigger risk, simply because you’re dealing with more cloud providers when it comes to the safety and security of your data.
Working with a single platform that has a central database, gives you much more control over things like compliance, login security, and data handling and retention policies.
When you’re paying a per user per month subscription on multiple cloud platforms, that overall monthly cost can add up quickly without you realizing it because the charges are all coming in separately at different times of the month.
It stands to reason that bundling services into a single ERP platform can reduce overall monthly cloud subscription costs.
Cost savings also come from other areas:
- Improved productivity because workers are learning and working in a single, consistent interface for multiple business activities.
- Lower administrative costs due to administering a single platform rather than several.
- Elimination of redundant, manual tasks, such as rekeying information from one program into another.
With good business insights through comprehensive reporting, business managers can make more timely and better-informed decisions.
Because all applications of an ERP system are integrated and sharing data in real-time, reporting integrates and cross compares several KPIs throughout your organization for more in-depth reporting and analysis.
Streamline Costs & Workflows
At NetCare, we partner with a small select group of ERP providers to help our common customers achieve Technology Success. If you'd like our guidance on which ERP providers in Sydney you should be talking to, feel free to give us a call.
Contact us today for free advice on ERP providers. Call (02) 9114 9920 or reach out online.