Friday, June 13, 2014
There is a rising trend happening within the ERP software industry. The bigger names are changing their tactics and making systems that were once seen as “too big” or “too complex” more accessible to smaller, growing SME’s that typically have less of a significant budget to throw at implementing a new ERP software system.
What is this change?
Traditionally, ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics were meant for those that could afford at the very least a £50k+ budget on a system for their business. There were ways of making the software more cost effective for the smaller guys, but then they were still lumbered with a ‘large’ system that always felt several sizes too big. This meant that anyone who only needed between 1 and 20 users on their system would need to buy a specific small business ERP system. After a few years of growth, these systems are no longer suitable – they can’t handle any more users, and are constrained in the functionality they offer. Businesses would then once again have to fork out for a new system, but this time it’s the same system that was once seen as too big and too clunky, only now it fits just right. This presents a huge waste of money for these growing businesses, who should be investing back into their own business.
This has lead to quite an obvious shift and revelation from the bigger players in the industry – finding a way to make their software easily accessible to the small but growing SME’s.
The growth of SaaS.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has enabled new ways of working for businesses and individuals alike. The shift to using the Cloud as a way of storing and accessing data and applications has turned the tables on the way in which ERP software is implemented. The big ERP vendors are using this to their advantage. Microsoft, for example, have included within their Dynamics software range a new tool called ‘Rapid Start’. This handy new tool allows the system to be set up in a matter of days, rather than weeks, using standardised data templates. The software is then hosted externally on a secure data platform to take advantage of cheaper and more accessible methods of setup.
This serves several purposes, and provides numerous advantages over the traditional method. Firstly, as the software is hosted elsewhere, it’s functionality can be restricted (and therefore the cost reduced) with a few tweaks from the vendor, to work just how you need it to in the early days, paying a low setup fee. Using tools like Rapid Start, the software is set up incredibly quickly, meaning your business can take advantage of its new system sooner, and because standardised data is used, the cost is again significantly less. Being hosted in the cloud, there is no need for expensive infrastructure or IT support costs, which was traditionally a huge barrier to any small business implementing any substantial ERP software system.
The push toward using the cloud for ERP implementations is bringing with it a new wave of benefits for the small start-up company desperately seeking a well-known, reliable and functional system for their business. An additional benefit of the system being hosted is that new users, and therefore new functionality as well, can be added at a moment’s notice. It’s all kept as simple and as cheap as possible. This opens up the ‘big systems’ to be used from the very beginning, with as few as 1 user (costs are of course proportional) and expand it as your business grows.
You’ll never need to buy a new system again!
Ed is the marketing director for Azzure IT and is responsible for getting people excited about their products!