Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise a significant portion of the global business landscape. These businesses often face unique challenges, including limited budgets, tight timelines, and limited resources, which can make it difficult to manage operations effectively. One way to overcome these obstacles is by using enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. However, with so many options available in the market, selecting the right ERP software can be daunting. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the guide to selecting the perfect ERP software for SMEs.
Table of Content
- What is ERP Software?
- Types of ERP Software
- Must-Have Key Features in ERP Software
- Guide to Selecting the Perfect ERP Software for SMEs
- Benefits of Using ERP Software
What is ERP Software?
ERP software is a tool that is crafted to handle every aspect of a business – from finances and HR to manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, and more. It’s like the backbone of a company’s day-to-day operations. This software is a collection of connected business applications, all sharing a common database. This connectivity reduces the number of resources needed to run the entire business smoothly.
These business applications, or enterprise modules, each focus on a specific business area but team up to meet the company’s unique needs. Since businesses vary in size and requirements, these modules aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal. SMEs can pick the modules that align best with their operations.
For an enterprise resource planning system to bring maximum value, a company should make the most of modules for each business function. With a central hub for all business data, ERP implementation kicks out the messy data corners and sidesteps duplication challenges that many businesses face. The ERP model becomes a trustworthy single-source-of-truth software solution. With ERP software, SMEs can manage and optimise their operations, improve efficiency, and make better business decisions based on real-time data.
Types of ERP Software
There are three kinds of ERP software systems: on-site systems, cloud-based systems, and hybrid systems. Each has its unique features and comes with its own set of pros and cons. The choice among them depends on the business’s needs and its preferred approach to the ERP model. Regardless of the type, any of these enterprise resource planning software systems can assist a company in decision-making and boosting profitability.
On-site ERP: Also known as on-premises ERP, this software is set up and managed directly at the company’s location. It offers complete control to the business over the ERP software and its security. Opting for this option indicates a desire for total in-house management. However, it requires a dedicated on-site IT resource to handle technical and application maintenance.
Cloud-based ERP: Often referred to as software as a service (SaaS), this system is hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed through the internet. This type of software is becoming increasingly popular among SMEs due to its ease of use, affordability, and scalability. Cloud-based ERP software usually requires a monthly or yearly subscription fee, eliminating the need for a large upfront investment. This type of ERP software is ideal for businesses with limited IT resources and those that need to manage operations across multiple locations. However, entrusting an ERP vendor with sensitive business data poses a security risk that needs careful consideration.
Hybrid ERP: Tailored for companies seeking features of both on-site and SaaS models, the hybrid system combines aspects of both to meet specific business requirements. In this model, some ERP applications and data reside in the cloud, while others remain on-premises. This is sometimes referred to as a two-tier ERP approach.
Must-Have Key Features in ERP Software
The integration capabilities of an ERP system are paramount for ensuring seamless communication between various business processes. Look for a software solution that effortlessly connects different modules, allowing data to flow smoothly across departments. This feature eliminates data silos, promoting a more holistic view of the business and facilitating efficient decision-making.
A user-friendly interface is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for successful ERP implementation. Opt for a system with an intuitive design that minimises the learning curve for employees. A user-friendly interface ensures that team members can easily navigate the ERP software, enhancing productivity and reducing the time and cost associated with extensive training.
Consider ERP software customisation as the tailoring of a suit. Just as every person has a unique body shape and style preferences, every business has distinct processes and needs. Choosing an ERP system with flexible customisation options is like selecting a tailor who can craft a bespoke suit to perfectly fit your body and style.
Look for an ERP system that allows you to adjust, add pockets where you need them, and choose the fabric that suits your taste. This way, the ERP solution becomes a made-to-measure tool, catering precisely to the specific requirements of your organisation. It’s like having a suit that fits you perfectly, ensuring comfort and confidence, rather than settling for an off-the-rack approach that might not suit your business’s unique contours.
Guide to Selecting the Perfect ERP Software for SMEs
Before selecting ERP software, SMEs need to take into consideration several factors, including their budget, business requirements, and available resources. Here is a comprehensive guide to selecting the perfect ERP software for SMEs.
Define Your Business Requirements
The first and most important step of choosing ERP software is to have a deep understanding of your business needs. Take a thorough look at your existing processes, challenges, and objectives. Pinpoint areas where automation, better data management, and smoother workflows can bring substantial improvements. Engaging key stakeholders from various departments is vital, as their insights provide valuable input into specific requirements, guaranteeing that the chosen ERP system suits the needs of every facet of your organisation.
Set Your Budget
ERP software costs vary greatly by vendor, the number of modules needed, whether the system is cloud-based or running on-premises, whether a third party will implement it and the number and types of user licenses. Therefore, it’s essential to set a budget that aligns with your business goals and needs. Factors such as data storage requirements, licensing, training, and implementation fees should all be considered when setting your budget.
Assess Your IT Resources
Consider the available resources within your company to handle ERP software implementation. SMEs with limited IT resources may find it more cost-effective to opt for a cloud-based ERP solution that doesn’t require dedicated IT support.
Research Available ERP Solutions
There are many ERP solutions available in the market. Research each solution that meets your business requirements, budget constraints, and IT resources. Consider the vendor’s profile, customer support quality, hosting capabilities, and security measures.
Request a Demo
Before committing to a specific ERP solution, request a demo or a free trial to evaluate the software’s functionality. During the demo, put the software to the test under different scenarios to ensure it meets your business requirements.
If you’re considering a reliable ERP solution, Synergix Technologies offers a robust platform that seamlessly integrates into your business processes. With a rich history of serving over 600 satisfied clients and catering to the needs of more than 30,000 users, Synergix provides both cloud-based and on-premise ERP solutions. As a pre-approved vendor by the IMDA, eligible enterprises can benefit from funding covering up to 50% of the qualifying costs when adopting Synergix ERP software.
Consider System Integration
SMEs may already have some existing software in place, and it’s important to consider if the new ERP software will integrate with existing systems. Integration between your ERP software and other software tools can improve efficiency and eliminate data redundancies.
Benefits of Using ERP Software
ERP software can automate and streamline repetitive and manual tasks, freeing up staff’s time to focus on more strategic activities. This can lead to significant improvements in efficiency and productivity, allowing SMEs to grow without the need for additional resources.
ERP software provides real-time visibility into key business metrics, allowing SMEs to make informed decisions based on accurate data. With ERP software, SMEs can track inventory levels, sales performance, customer behaviors, and more, providing insights into areas that need improvement.
Business Process Optimisation
ERP software can help SMEs optimise business processes, improving workflow, reducing errors, and eliminating duplication of effort. By integrating data across systems, ERP software can provide a holistic view of operations, enabling SMEs to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions.
Choosing the right ERP software for SMEs can be a significant challenge, but by taking the time to assess your business requirements, set a budget, evaluate your IT resources, research available ERP solutions, and consider system integration, you can find the perfect solution for your business.
For a comprehensive ERP solution that ticks all the boxes, explore what Synergix Technologies has to offer. With a proven track record and a range of satisfied clients, our ERP system seamlessly integrates into SME workflows. Schedule for a free demo today!