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How to Choose the Best ERP Software for Small Business

By Mark Burt

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a platform that amalgamates accounting, supply chain management, core HR, and customer relations management features together in single software.

ERP systems come in various forms. As such, it is essential to get the best software to assist your business to achieve set goals, and concurrently optimize processes and systems. The success of ERP system implementation is essential since it features end-to-end impact on corporate operations and systems.

Essential Features of ERP Systems for Small Business

Software solutions help in the management of your accounts and enable your business to thrive. When ERP Solutions have maximum features and benefits, they bring improvements to all business processes and functions. Consider the following features when choosing:

  1. Lead Management

Most businesses, even ERP software companies, spend a lot of finances and time generating leads. It’s always wise to manage these leads efficiently. ERP software for small business has unique mechanisms that manage all leads in a single place. This system helps in analyses that justify whether every amount spent on marketing focuses on lead generating activities.

  1. Inventory Management

Inventory is considered a fundamental staging area in a majority of businesses. There must be continuity to operate a company seamlessly. Inventory management can be achieved using various ERP software solutions. Also, an organized inventory enables business owners and managers to find various items needed at any given time.

  1. Accessibility

Best Cloud ERP system allows you to access all business accounts from virtually anywhere at your convenience. On instances that your SAP ERP software can be accessed only on-premise, it gets challenging to work conveniently in the same manner as you would when you can use virtual locations.

Cloud services enable managers and owners to watch over their businesses and ensure that operations are running smoothly even when away.

  1. Regular Updates

It’s essential to get all necessary updates about your budget work progress, accounts, and other procurement's. The best types of ERP systems are automated to check everything for you and offer real-time updates making management and procurement easy to handle. Real-time updates enable you to take all the necessary actions right away enhancing efficiency in your company.

Essential Features of ERP Systems

  1. Real-time, Analytics, and Reporting

Whenever all departments and sectors of your company are combined in one platform, all data is made available for team review and quick analysis. Most of the top 10 ERP software systems invest heavily in analysis tools and visualizations. These features enable team members to create reports that indicate inventory levels, show progress, and notify staff of several wins and shortcomings.

ERP software solutions act as a centralized source of truth for stakeholders in real time allowing them to compare successes and prepare for any anticipated hiccups.

  1. Mobile Apps Integration

If your ERP software is accessible from any location, it must be mobile friendly. Scalability is essential to allow you to access your business even during an emergency using any device. Carrying a laptop everywhere is sometimes impossible especially when you have a planned day out of work. Additionally, operating a computer everywhere to get updates is cumbersome.

Many ERP software companies are developing their platforms into mobile apps that make business operation and management quite simple. ERP apps enable you to get updates you’re your phone just like you do from all other apps, making business management process exciting and a breeze.

  1. User Interface

A user interface is an important consideration. If you cannot navigate the system with all essential features and additional extras, it becomes inefficient for business management and operability. When looking for the best ERP user interface, determine its configuration, responsiveness, and intuitiveness. A user interface should also have a minimal design to avoid overcrowding user’s screen.

  1. Technical Support

It’s essential to have the best and most reliable technical support services to ensure that your business experiences no downtime's or tech-related interruptions. Whether you require support after a small business ERP cloud implementation or you want to establish brand new solutions, reliable technical support is essential.

Process to Choose Best ERP Software for Small Business

  1. Evaluation: Analyze the Business Process and Identify all Weak Points

A functional type of ERP system analyzes all business processes and reports all weak points in real time. It needs to be efficient to enhance security simultaneously averting any cases of hacking. Moreover, the evaluation delivers reports about all activity and transactions that take place within the system. Therefore, you can act quickly whenever required to ensure that all business functions and processes are operating at optimal levels.

SAP, Microsoft and Oracle dominate ERP vending. Together, the company control approximately 55% market share. Other top erp software companies include Infor, Epicor, Lawson, QAD, Sage, IFS and Consona Corp.

When you know what you want, and put essential features into consideration, you are guaranteed to get the perfect ERP solution to cater for all your business needs.

  1. Platform Selection: On-premise, Cloud or Hybrid

The type of ERP software that you choose is subject to your business size and needs. However, there are small business ERP cloud solutions that are affordable compared to the on-premise systems. The on-premise system is ideal for organizations that do not wish to synchronize vital business data like product pricing and supplier information.

Custom integration and on-site infrastructure are other advantages of the on-premise management. On the other hand, cloud-based ERP software platforms offer optimal resource utilization, a quick return on investment, auto-updates, and data integrity. Pricing is monthly based, and no hardware-related issues arise.

A hybrid ERP system is the best of both worlds. It is a multi-sourced modular application environment functional for the digital, modern, and networked enterprises. It features a core building block that caters to the entire digital enterprise platform. It is the primary foundation for analytics, real-time reporting, and high-speed transactions. The system is hosted both on-premise and in the cloud.

  1. Integrate and Customization

Most large enterprises that are engaged in the acquisition of other brands have ERP systems. The smaller acquired companies are required to get integrated into the company’s ERP. Thus, the ideal option is to amalgamate them into the existing on-premises system. Nonetheless, these types of integration, in the long run, prove risky, costly, and labor intensive.A two-tier ERP strategy is a good option for integration. This strategy lets the parent company continue running its different on-premises types of ERP systems while the newly acquired companies get subjected to a cloud-based version of the system. Also, they can use a different system that can integrate efficiently with the headquarters’ ERP.

The cloud-based ERP system can either be software as a service (SaaS) where vendors operate a shared system for you or cloud-hosted where your staff or hosting services provider manages the entire system in the cloud. It is always advisable to select the ERP Solutions that are customized based on the nature of your business instead of getting a standard ERP software example for all businesses.

Software that is designed specifically for your company will assist you to deal with your business quickly and efficiently. User-friendly ERP solutions let you utilize them excellently. Additionally, there are no hiccups in discovering all its features and uses. Customization and integration of these ERP solutions are assured to make management and operation of your business efficient.

  1. Scalability, Speed, and Security Features

The needs of a business increase as it expands and increases its operations. Having ERP software that has the capabilities to adapt and perform well with this growth is necessary for the business’s performance. Furthermore, the system should be user-friendly and responsive to ensure that clients and staff find the data that they require quickly and in real-time.

Scalability and speed are not enough if there are no adequate security features. The most fundamental security feature is the ERP User Trace ability. The system should track all user logins and logouts, transactions, and other activities that take place during every session.

  1. ERP Implementation Cost

In the past 25 years, ERP software companies have advanced offering businesses many options. Choices vary from single license to subscription SaaS products that feature different price ranges. An ERP software system can range from a few dollars per month per user at small and mid-size business level to many thousands of dollars a month for large enterprises. Implementation cost depends on the features that your company needs.

Process to Choose the Best ERP Software for Small Business

Topics: ERP for business, ERP Software Solutions for the Cloud, better erp for business, How ERP can transform business

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