You may have decided to load up your small business with a patchwork of different software packages. Now, you look across the company and you discover everybody is working on a unique system that serves their department’s interests. The problem is that this can cause divisional strife—when the left hand generally does not know what the right hand is doing in a business, it can cost you dearly.
Can you afford to waste even an extra nickel on a software strategy that is inefficient at best and growth stifling at worst? I don’t think you can. Neither do I.
So, what’s the solution to the problems? To answer the question, you need to answer these:
- How then do you change the decision to use multiple software packages across the company?
- How do you unify systems?
- How can everything be brought under one software “umbrella,” instead of left separately?
Small-Business Owner, Please Meet ERP—No, Really, It’s Actually Here for You, to Make Life Easier
Whether you are an entrepreneur in the early stages of fleshing out your business needs, the owner of a full-fledged small business, or a so-called noobpreneur, you want the software that is the engine for your business to provide lasting value, above and beyond just its core benefits.
Before moving on, you may be wondering, what on earth is a noobpreneur? “Noobpreneur” is a word coined by the founder of Noobpreneur.com, an online magazine with a small-business focus, to describe a newbie (or newb) entrepreneur who is not just a new entrepreneur, but more so an entrepreneur who is a newbie in the sense of outlook or perspective, always looking for new ways to get better and make the business better. Perhaps that describes you, as it does so many entrepreneurs.
In the world of software for small businesses, enterprise resource planning (ERP, for short) is the new black. It is what many business owners are trying for the first time and discovering they have needed all along. What took them so long? For one, traditionally ERP software was mainly for the big companies that could shell out the large amounts of money that such software would normally cost. Licensing fees, subscription fees and maintenance fees have never been cheap.
Now, ERP software is available for not only large businesses but also small businesses. Small- to medium-sized businesses (or SMBs) can take advantage of all the benefits of ERP that their larger brethren have enjoyed, minus the high costs associated with it.
What Exactly Is ERP?
At the risk of oversimplifying, it is a software system that is the “umbrella” you need for all of your disparate systems to fall under. It replaces all of them. Some have likened it to a central hub. If you have a single software source—or ecosystem—that employees in all of your various departments, whether HR, Finance or another department, can access and work from, it will cut down on tons of organizational redundancies.
For a while, it was hard to find good companies producing ERP solutions with a small-business concentration. Sure, there have always been big-name Fortune 500 companies manufacturing ERP solutions for large companies, but not so for smaller companies.
Charles Phillips, the chief executive of Infor, a rare company that includes small-business-specific ERP products in its lineup and that is now the third-largest ERP software vendor, wanted to really capitalize on this lack in the industry. Paradoxically, he was formerly a president at Oracle—perhaps the first name in ERP business software for large companies.
What Does Your Business Stand to Gain?
ERP solutions provide real-time data, so employees and managers can take actionable insights and really propel your business. With a clear view of data across the board, you can get a better handle on all the moving parts of your business and take action swiftly to prevent possible bottlenecks. Costs typically allocated to manage servers and other costly computers can be eliminated with an ERP solution that can do the job of many.
Your customers and potential customers will also benefit from your ERP solution. Since a centralized solution enables the various departments to communicate better, for example, orders can be better handled—from inception to delivery to aftercare—and customers can be better informed during every stage of their ordering process.
One Decision Can Eliminate a Multitude of Sins
A decision to purchase an ERP solution can spell huge savings in many areas of the business. Corporate sins like employee time not being optimized or poorly used can be reduced and even eliminated by wisely investing in a good ERP solution that meets your needs.