Wednesday March 11, 2015 0 comments
By Andrea Lotz
If you're a small business owner, you've probably been frustrated by small business software. It's one of those things that seems to be pretty ubiquitous - software that's too bulky to learn, software that was free until you needed to buy expensive updates, software that refuses to talk to your other tools. You've probably seen it all.
There's so much variety in the needs of small business owners that finding the right solution takes a lot of research. And there usually isn't an exact fit available. Most small business owners solve this problem by cobbling together a variety of apps and software services to create one franken-system.
Here's the problem with that approach: it's wildly inefficient. Researching, learning, testing, and maintaining all those different tools takes a huge amount of time. Each of the tools has its own monthly bill, its own unique limitations, and its own language. They're unlikely to be able to truly share data.
A different way of doing things is becoming more widely available with improvements to cloud technology. Tools that were only available to large enterprises are now coming to small business, including one of the most powerful big business tools out there: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Small business ERP is based on the idea of customizable modules. This means that there are hundreds of tools available, all of which operate in more or less the same way from a user standpoint (that means it's much easier to learn). Businesses can add or subtract modules painlessly, creating the perfect software that is neither too feature-dense nor too "small business lite." Each of these modules is designed for small businesses - a good solution won't be a retrofit of enterprise software.
Getting all your tools as part of an ERP solution means you save money, you only have one monthly bill, you don't get charged for what you don't use, and you save time learning new tools.
But there's an even bigger benefit, one that it's hard to put a price tag on. Because all your tools are truly integrated, they can all share data in a way that's impossible when you have a different point solution software for each aspect of your business. Small business ERP greatly increases the amount of useful information the software can give you in those reports, and makes those reports much more accurate and detailed.
For example, because small business ERP integrates ecommerce with your marketing tools, your marketing reports have much more information to draw on. With a tracking URL, you can see the sales in dollars that resulted from a marketing campaign. Most marketing reports can only tell you how many people clicked to your site, with no further data available.
There are hundreds of examples of how integrating your tools with small business ERP can save you time and money, and keep your business more growth-focused. Do some research today, and revive your faith in small business software.