Enterprise resource management software (ERP) has become an invaluable tool for small and large businesses alike. With a reliable ERP system, all facets of business operations — including accounting, inventory and order management, human resources, customer relationship management — can be automated and considerably optimised resulting in better business management processes and increased productivity.
By providing a central database that allows the storage, management, and interpretation of data across various business units, an ERP software integrates different business management operations, as well as provides multiple functions supported by these different units. In the long run, this is way more efficient than using a single software for specific business processes.
Why do you need an ERP software?
The central data flow provided by an ERP system allows for more effective collaboration between different business units, and this can drive innovation, promote transparency and improve competitiveness
ERP software that includes measures for maintaining data integrity can also be an invaluable tool for reliable data analysis and business forecasts. Today, advanced ERP solutions use predictive algorithms and machine learning to thoroughly analyse data and provide useful business insights for effective decision making
Also, ERP solutions generally automate day to day tasks such as report generation and data entry, giving workers more time to focus on other important parts of the business. In the end, optimised ERP systems can greatly improve productivity as well as profitability.
Depending on the size and needs of a business, the choice of a suitable ERP software will differ for many. However, opting for a cloud-based ERP system or a traditional on-premise software is one key consideration that should not be overlooked. The key difference between both systems lies in how they are deployed.
While an on-premise ERP is usually installed on a company’s local computers and servers, a cloud-based ERP, on the other hand, is hosted on a vendor’s server and accessed over the Internet via a web browser.
Cloud-based ERP vs Traditional ERP?
Before the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS) technology, only large organisations had access to ERP solutions. This was largely due to the complex deployment process of on-premise software that typically requires time and huge capital expenditures for servers and other necessary hardware. However, things have now changed!
Today, cloud-based ERP software is fast gaining popularity, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A major reason for this trend is the cost savings due to the use of cloud based ERP over traditional on-premise software.
Because cloud-based systems are typically charged via a monthly or annual subscription fee, small and medium-sized businesses can avoid the hurdles of getting started with an ERP as traditional software typically require a large one-time perpetual license fee and ongoing support, training and maintenance teams. Still, there are other reasons why using a cloud ERP holds excellent financial benefits for small businesses.
An ERP system that works from the cloud also means that SMBs can also avoid significant capital expenditures required to acquire additional hardware and software infrastructures. Scaling cloud resources based on the changing needs of the company can also be more easily achieved without installing a new system.
Additionally, software customisations can also be done at a much lower cost, and the implementation process is generally faster as opposed to using an on-premise software. Also, because vendors handle IT support as well as software updates and upgrade, the cost of maintenance for cloud software and the need for IT support services is significantly reduced. This, in turn, will translate into a significant decrease in operating cost for SMBs.
Beyond cost-savings, cloud ERPs offered by reputable vendors are generally considered to be more secure. Data hosted on an ERP system should remain confidential, and cloud ERP software employs reliable encryption techniques and firewalls to achieve this. Since data is stored remotely, businesses do not have to worry about an attack on their server or the possibility of data loss through theft, sabotage or natural disasters.
Another critical factor that makes cloud ERP software more superior to traditional ERP systems is that data stored on the cloud is accessible everywhere, and SMBs can enjoy real-time analytics for more optimised processes that can result in better business decisions.
Hence, successful business operations become independent of geography as businesses are not limited by fixed hardware infrastructures. This can promote effective collaboration for remote teams.
The ease of upgrading is another benefit that businesses can enjoy by choosing a cloud ERP software. Businesses can access latest features from vendors more easily on the cloud, and with the fast pace of enhancements that have been observed with applications that run on the cloud, companies that employ traditional ERP software may be found trailing behind in the near future.
Which ERP is right for you?
The choice of a suitable cloud ERP software will differ for businesses depending on the size of the business, its operations, and other unique needs. Yet, there is almost certainly a suitable cloud software for every business. It is, however, important to choose a reliable ERP software with a true cloud design as other faux cloud products also exist.
There are a few types of ERP solutions to choose from today. Generalist ERP solutions adapt to processes across all industries as they come with strong integrations and customisations to meet varying industry requirements. Common examples of generalist ERP vendors include Oracle, Netsuite and SAP.
Yet, depending on its unique needs, a business may benefit from using a Vertical ERP which is tailored to a specific industry such as retail, e-commerce or fashion, for instance. Notable vendors in this category include EMERGE App, Microsoft Dynamics, and BrightPearl.
However, one ERP solution that stands out in the e-commerce and retail industry is EMERGE App. It is a proven ERP cloud software that handles multi-channel orders as well as purchase and inventory management solutions for e-commerce merchants, traditional B2B wholesalers, and distributors.
Juggling online and offline sales at the same time is made easier with EMERGE App as it integrates with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento. It also provides more control over billing, shipments, report generation and flexible purchasing.
The easy-to-use EMERGE App can also fit into the category of a small business ERP solution. Small business ERP software target specific business processes rather than offering a fully integrated ERP solution and are generally referred to as lightweight. They are typically more affordable compared to generalist ERP solutions.
Another category of ERP software are Open Source ERPs; they are far less popular as you are on your own with installation, customisation, integration and support. However, Open Source ERPs gives resident tech teams in companies the flexibility to develop their own custom apps and integrate it with existing ERP software.
ERP systems typically come with different modules that are specialised to handle specific business operations. Depending on an organisation’s needs and the degree of customisation allowed by the software, the required components can then be integrated into an ERP solution.
Opt for a cloud ERP today
In this digital age, businesses that will prove successful must bend to new market forces that impose the need for speed, greater agility, and appropriate response to changes and threats in the business environment.
This is why it has become important for businesses to gain more insights about their processes and understand key trends that will shape the future. Still, it doesn’t end there; business leaders must also figure out how to exploit these trends in their favour. There has never been a better time to get it right with data management and analysis.
Clearly, ERP solutions are fast becoming a must-have for businesses to stay competitive and cloud-based ERP software extends its benefits by providing a more affordable and accessible option that can accommodate small and medium-sized businesses. It’s a win-win situation for all.
However, businesses must dot all their i’s and cross all the t’s to ensure that they reap maximum benefits from using an ERP software. It is essential to understand the reason for implementing an ERP solution in the first place, and attention should be paid to a business unique needs and processes.
Choosing the right vendor is also another important consideration to keep in mind. And once an ERP software is up and running, provisions for on-boarding and training for all members of the team should be made and progress tracked from time to time.
Getting started with a cloud-based ERP system is almost seamless. Hence every serious business should get onboard. Companies that set a good foundation in intelligent cloud technology stand to benefit greatly. Still using traditional ERP software? Make the move and transition to the cloud today.