How to Choose the Right ERP for Small Business?

Choosing the right ERP for a small business can make the difference in its future growth, profitability, and  its ultimate survival in very competitive markets.  The right ERP for small business package can allow a business to lower its costs, increase sales, close more new business and streamline business processes.

Budget for ERP for Small Business

When looking for the right ERP for small business, the first step is to set a budget.  The budget will guide the selection process as there are many vendors that can be grouped in different price ranges.  The vast majority of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) cannot afford the computer hardware or the IT support staff required to install, maintain, and update the system to justify an onsite ERP solution.

The initial costs often mean that many companies looking for ERP for small businesses choose a ERP Software as a Service.  For companies that are cash-strapped, but still need an ERP to compete in their markets, there are several freeware ERP solutions that employ a cloud-based SaaS business model.  Even as an interim solution, a SaaS ERP provider can pave the way to a successful hosted solution when the company’s financial resources improve.

Features of ERP for Small Business

One of the features a company should require in its ERP software for small business is a user-friendly interface.  Data input should be executed in real-time without the need for batch updates.  Any solution should include a powerful back-end database that stores all information and is versatile enough to easily facilitate generation of multiple ad-hoc reports and other performance metrics used by senior management.

The software should have a consistent look-and-feel across all modules, and most choose to emulate Windows’ familiar icon-style desktop layout.  The system should also be intuitive so that employees are become productive using the software in a short period of time and with minimal training and guidance by IT staff.

In addition to basis ERP functionality, many small businesses today are looking for a comprehensive ERP for small business. For example, a small business might look for customer resource management (CRM) functionality in its ERP software that allows for the execution and tracking of marketing campaigns.  There are also stand-alone CRM solutions available either as licensed solutions or through a software-as-a service (SaaS) subscription model.  Also, there are a number of freeware options, if a solution within the company’s budget cannot be found.

Types of ERP for Small Business

There are as many vendors offering excellent ERP solutions for small to medium-sized business, including Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle.  Most of these vendors offer a hosted and a cloud-based SaaS solution, so there is an ERP solution for companies with almost any size budget.  Oracle’s ERP products are ideal for fast-growing companies, and their software products integrate easily with existing systems for a seamless transition and implementation.

Their ERP products offer premium functionality and scalable solutions that integrate easily with existing applications and hardware.  Oracle also offers opens-source solutions to make their applications affordable for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

The right ERP for a small business depends a great deal on how much money is budgeted.  Even with only a small budget, there are still viable solutions to help a business stay competitive.