One of a small business’s priorities ought to be staying ahead of competition. Investing in an ERP is an effective way to achieve this, as an ERP system can provide a small business with a means to appear, act and operate like an enterprise-scale organisation. However, there is still a tendency for small business owners to assume that their company is somehow not big enough for ERP. This article will guide you through the process of finding the best ERP for small business.
It's true that there was a time in which most ERP systems were unsuitable for small businesses. Traditional, corporate-scale ERP systems needed infrastructure that could only be created by significant funds and technical support that small businesses naturally didn’t have. However, the climate of business today allows businesses of any size to take full advantage of ERP solutions.
How to Select the Best ERP for Small Business
There is no one answer to what the best ERP for small business is, as different businesses have different competitive profiles, customer mixes and business requirements. The goal of an organisation is to find the most cost-effective solution that meets your requirements and is convenient. There needs to be a good selection of tools, but too many unnecessary applications can be cumbersome and cut revenue. Nevertheless, there are some essential features to look for in an ERP:
Customisation – A successful small business is likely to grow, so it’s vital that its ERP system is able to adapt to these changes. When choosing an ERP, you ought to make sure that the software utilisation, platform and user count can adapt to any expansion of the company. Similarly, you will want to think about how likely your business model is to change, and whether the ERP solution could handle any of these potential changes.
Though most of the enterprise-scale solutions are unwieldy and expensive, many small and basic packages such as freemium solutions aren’t adequately equipped to scale a growing business. You need to think about your needs and find the system that suits them the most. Highly customised systems are generally more expensive to run, so it’s important to be smart about what changes to make. Being able to see directly how an ERP will work within your business is useful, which can be achieved by designing a workflow and asking the vendor to run demos based on your business requirements.
- Ease of Use – Look at the design and layout of the system and think about how intuitive it is to use, how much training would be involved for your team, and how much they would get out of using the solution.
- Security - Make sure you know how to manage and regulate different access and authorisation roles within the solution. Passwords should be strong and encrypted securely.
- Support – Think about how much support the software vendor provides and find out about any additional fees for troubleshooting the software. Check to see how much staff they have that can help you set up and maintain the solution.
The Best ERP for Small Business
Aimed at small to mid-size businesses, Sage 200 provides a wide variety of integrated, feature-rich modules and in-depth capabilities. Its modular nature allows users to select the functionality and platform that would best suit their business requirements, as well as the flexibility for the organisation to grow without sacrificing the system’s interface and functionality. You only have to pay for the features you use. Its simple design provides contextual information and related tasks to improve the efficiency of your operations and streamline workflows.
Pegasus Opera 3
Pegasus Opera 3 is a comprehensive ERP software suite that can handle your customer relationship management, business intelligence, accounting, payroll and supply chain requirements. The solution can integrate your current systems with its data conversion tools and impeccably links with popular systems such as Microsoft Office and major email clients. A program licence is accompanied by complete account support from one of Pegasus’s software partners.
Opera 3 is highly flexible as its applications and features, as well as its customisation, configuration and setup options, allow you to build Opera 3 into the solution you need to suit your organisation. You can extend or add to the system as your enterprise grows.
Apex IT Interprise Suite
Interprise is an integrated system comprising features including customer relationship management, accounting, business intelligence, credit control, reports, stock control, sales order processing, purchase order processing, and banking. It includes Smart Client technology or uses web services, so that users can access the system as long as there is an internet connection. Running Interprise on your own in-house LAN is an easy and cost-free way to provide access to all of your employees, even if they are working remotely. The Smart Client also allows for the option to run Interprise as a completely hosted solution if it suits your company better.
Hudman provide affordable end-to-end software systems that are based in the Cloud. The Cloud-based nature of the solutions eliminates the need for expensive on-site infrastructure, and there are no upfront software costs. They use multiple servers to maintain uninterrupted and reliable access to the system – since 2009, Hudman have attained 99.997% uptime. Included in the monthly cost is full time support, and no fixed term support conctracts. Their team doesn’t rely on third party software. This allows them to offer faster and more cost-effective implementation with low ongoing costs and no need for additional software upgrades.
There are clearly plenty of ERP solutions available for a variety of processes and industries. However, finding the right ERP software for you can cost your business a significant amount of time and money.
Software Advisory Service are here to help. We offer expert, non-chargeable IT buying advice to help you find the right solution for your needs. We can offer a shortlist of vendors from our hundreds of partners, all of whom can offer an appropriate solution depending on your requirements. Complete your details here and we will get back to you with the ERP software you need today!