• Zabe Siddique

Does My Growing Company Need an ERP?

Here are some of the telltale signs that your growing small to midsize business would benefit from a unified, cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution.

Software that organizations use to manage day-to-day business activities like accounting, procurement, project management, risk management, compliance and supply chain, enterprise resource planning (ERP) covers a wide swath of capabilities that growing companies need to be able to manage their operations efficiently.

And while a startup’s first instinct may be to cobble together some basic accounting software like QuickBooks with a stack of Excel spreadsheets—and then use that to manage their operations—the reality is that putting an ERP like NetSuite in place early can help companies save a lot of time and cost associated with disparate systems.

NetSuite also gives companies a highly scalable, expandable solution that grows along with them. For many, it’s the only ERP that they ever need, and even as they add more customers, employees, locations and even multinational subsidiaries to their growing enterprise.

Don’t Ignore the Obvious

According to Oracle, it’s become impossible to ignore the impact of ERP in today’s business world. As enterprise data and processes are corralled into ERP systems, businesses can align separate departments and improve workflows, resulting in significant bottom-line savings.

ERP automates and supports a range of administrative and operational business processes across multiple industries, including line of business, customer-facing, administrative and the asset management aspects of an enterprise, Gartner explains. Once in place, these platforms give companies:

· A catalyst for business innovation

· A platform for business process efficiency

· A vehicle for process standardization

· IT cost savings

“Most enterprises focus on the last two areas, because they are the easiest to quantify,” Gartner points out, “however, the first two areas often have the most significant impact on the enterprise.”

Measuring the Benefits

For growing companies, ERP offers benefits like:

  • Improved business insight from real-time information generated by reports.

  • Lower operational costs through streamlined business processes and best practices.

  • Enhanced collaboration from users sharing data in contracts, requisitions and purchase orders.

  • Improved efficiency through a common user experience across many business functions and well-defined business processes.

  • Consistent infrastructure from the back office to the front office, with all business activities having the same look and feel.

  • Higher user-adoption rates from a common user experience and design.

  • Reduced risk through improved data integrity and financial controls.

  • Lower management and operational costs through uniform and integrated systems.

“By integrating financial information in a single system, ERP systems unify an organization’s financial reporting. They also integrate order management, making order taking, manufacturing, inventory, accounting, and distribution a much simpler and less error-prone process,” IT consultant Bart Perkins writes in CIO. “Most ERPs [NetSuite included] also include customer relationship management (CRM) tools to track customer interactions, thereby providing deeper insights about customer behavior and needs.”

These platforms also standardize and automate manufacturing and supporting processes, and unifying procurement across an organization’s disparate business units. “An ERP system can also provide a standardized HR platform for time reporting, expense tracking, training, skills matching, and the like,” Perkins writes, “and greatly enhance an organization's ability to file the necessary reporting for government regulations, across finance, HR and the supply chain.”

Minimized Risk, Increased Profits

Along with providing complete visibility into business operations, ERPs also help small to midsize companies improve their business operations; expand their businesses without adding IT or staffing expense; gain competitive advantage; increase productivity; and reduce overall costs.

These platforms also serve as excellent business intelligence tools. “With the plethora of information available in a central database, you can create reports and dashboards that include everything from income and expense statements to custom KPIs that offer useful business insights,” Payal Tikait writes in The Best ERP Software Systems for Small Business. “ERP for small businesses helps make data-driven decisions to minimize risks and increase profits.”

You may have heard that ERP solutions are intimidating, but don't worry, the good news is that setting up an ERP can actually be quite simple when you select the right system and implementation partner. CEBA Solutions is a solution partner of NetSuite ERP and we help small business scale their businesses with NetSuite.

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