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By Navigator • January 23, 2015

How to Choose the RIGHT ERP for Your Small-Midsize Business

To grow and maintain a competitive edge, more and more companies are finding themselves needing to invest in better internal systems in the form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.

Whether installed on-premise or hosted via the cloud, companies of all sizes are now getting the real-time insight they need to make better informed decisions quicker.  And now, "the cloud," is enabling even more small businesses to avoid the often large upfront costs of ERP while allowing other businesses to scale down/reduce IT infrastructure.  In fact, according to Aberdeen Research, more small-midsize businesses are making "the cloud" choice, citing the need for increased visibility and control, as well as having a better way to manage and maintain growth.

But, how does a company that has not evaluated ERP ever before, or at least not evaluated recently, know which solution is right for them?

The decision to move to an ERP is usually prompted by lack of available support or simply outdated technology.  While this fact on its own may motivate some companies to buy, it is more important to look at what the business is trying to achieve.  Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate the five following factors of ERP.

  • Efficiency:  Does it enhance internal processes to deliver unbeforeseen efficiencies?  Look for a solution that enhances financial management, improves customer service, and streamlines inventory, all the while making the info more accessible from an increased number of devices.
  • Scalability:  Will the solution grow as the business grows? It is critical to buy a system that is easy to upgrade and adapt to the business' ever-changing needs.  Be sure to check if various aspects of the system can be turned on/off or activated/deactivated as the business needs change.
  • Risk:  What is the overall risk in deploying new solution?  Are you in fact getting a solution founded on best business practices and proven technology?  Does the solution provide the compliance needed to ensure growth?  Of course there are always risks in moving internal processes to a new system/technology. Just make sure that the benefits/efficiencies gained outweight the costs/risks.
  • Cost:  How does the business plan to pay for this investment?  Whether a budget is in place, or the business is working to develop such, with new cloud/subscription technology, predictable cost models, as well as fixed bid implementations are now available.  These models, in some cases, are proving themselves more flexible than traditional, on-premise ERP.
  • Deployment: What will work best for your business?  While some software packages will require significant customizations to mesh with your existing business processes, it may be more advantageous, as well as cost effective and timely, to evaluate and select pre-built, pre-certified solutions that can more than likely do the same (if not better) than the heavily customized solution you may be currently using or evaluating.  Out of the box, SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign, deliver completely integrated suites of functionality designed to better manage and streamline virtually every aspect of your business; from financials to procurement, marketing to sales orders, from manufacturing to distribution, SAP can do it all with its proven suite of software built on 40 years of best business practices.

The moral of the story?  An ERP system, whether it be cloud or on-premise, can provide increased efficiency, real-time information, and growth with a higher degree of accuracy and reliability.  Make sure to incorporate all of the questions above into the evaluation, as well as make sure you have a solid partner, like Navigator, with a proven track record of on-time, on-budget implementations to get the job done.  Your business' ERP investment should enable increased functionality, scalability, profitability, and real-time insight into every business process, as well as enhance overall ease-of-use and accessibility.