Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not Enough

Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not Enough

Cloud ERP Starter’s Guide: When QuickBooks Is Not EnoughERP_Workstyle

You’ve been running your small business on QuickBooks, or a product like it, to automate your accounting function and produce basic financial reports. So, what’s wrong? Things just don’t seem to be working well. It takes too long to get a “picture” of how your business is performing, and you’re drowning in paper.

Congratulations: You have outgrown your basic accounting software. The good news is that your business is growing. However, so are your transaction volumes, process complexity, and your information reporting needs. Your business can no longer be reduced to a set of ledgers or independent accounting transactions. Your business is comprised of increasingly complicated, end-to-end business processes such as Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, Forecast-to-Stock, and Record-to-Report. You need enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that supports these end-to-end processes and provides timely, actionable information regarding business performance.

Wait a minute,” you might say. “I’m not a big business. I don’t have a large IT staff or a robust IT infrastructure, and I certainly don’t have the money to sink into an expensive software package, or the small army of consultants needed to implement it.”

Relax. Your business has grown to a point of complexity during a time when cloud computing can provide a robust, cost-effective solution for small and medium-size enterprise (SMEs) like yours. But don’t take my word for it; ask your business.

Are you experiencing sales growth but also stock-outs because you don’t have the right inventory available to meet customer demand? Or, are you meeting demand but with excess inventory because you’re keeping excess safety stock in order to avoid stock-outs? Are your order fill or item fill rates falling and with them your customer satisfaction? Are customers complaining that their invoices don’t match the goods they ordered or received?

Any or all of these conditions can be a symptom of internal systems’ inability to manage increases in business volume or complexity, or both. They may also be indicative of disconnected transaction systems, which require multiple transaction entry for the same business event (a sales order, a shipment, a return, etc.), thereby increasing the risk of errors and leading to “islands of information.”

Business management software treats business events as end-to-end processes. In an ERP system, when a completed order is shipped, inventory balances are immediately updated and an invoice can be produced. In fact, in many ERP systems the invoice can be electronically sent to the customer, thereby improving collection time and reducing paper. The same is true of the procurement cycle. Purchase orders can be automatically generated based on replacement stock rules and be electronically sent to a vendor. In these ways (and others), an ERP system can reduce transaction cycle time as well as the manpower and paper transactions necessary to execute them.

Perhaps just as important as the integration of related transaction processing is the information collected and available for analysis. Data is instantly updated when transactions occur, meaning that decisions made regarding inventories, cash balances, or purchase commitments are based on the most current information and as a result are more accurate. “Islands of information” are eliminated, and everyone is making decisions based on the same data.

Cloud-based ERP solutions are ideal for small but growing businesses. They can provide robust functionality to support transaction processing, as well as sophisticated reporting capabilities to monitor business operations. Additionally, cloud-based ERP can provide external focus to improve customer service and generate new sales leads through applications such as customer relationship management (CRM). Because cloud-based ERP solutions can be deployed in a variety of platforms and configurations, they reduce initial costs and provide reasonable cost of usage. Yet this flexibility in platform configuration also provides a clear path for future evolution of systems support.

As the business grows and becomes capable of supporting an increased IT infrastructure, cloud-based systems can be brought in-house to be internally hosted. Alternatively, they can be configured in a hybrid arrangement, with some systems in a public cloud and others in a private, internal cloud. This flexible growth path means that initial ERP investments continue to provide a positive return.

But which cloud-based ERP system should you choose? The first choice needs to be between “open source” and “proprietary” software solutions. While open source software has advantages in terms of cost and availability, it is also very new and has potential support and security issues. At this point, open source is not a viable alternative on which to run your business.

Among proprietary cloud solutions, look first at a vendor’s track record. How long have they been in business? What has their year-over-year growth rate been? Remember that you are selecting a vendor for a long-term relationship. Your vendor will provide new and enhanced functionality that your business will need as it grows. Select a vendor with a good track record, a solid financial position, and the potential to grow with you.

Next, look at functionality. Select a vendor whose product has the core modules you need to run your business. Do you need manufacturing support? Do you need lot traceability? Next look for features such as multi-currency support, multi-warehouse support, and varied pricing capabilities. These are features your business may not need today, but you probably will someday as your business grows in terms of size and new markets.

Finally, look for a vendor that has a global reach, with overseas offices and partners who are prepared to help you succeed wherever your business goes.

For more information on Acumatica and its services, please click here.

By Jon Roskill

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics
Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Through the Looking Glass: 2017 Tech and Security Industry Predictions

Through the Looking Glass: 2017 Tech and Security Industry Predictions

2017 Tech and Security Industry Predictions As we close out 2016, which didn’t start off very well for tech IPOs, momentum and performance has increased in the second half, and I believe that will continue well into 2017. M&A activity will also increase as many of the incumbents will realize that they need to inject…

2017 Brings DLP Technology and IoT’s Weaknesses to Light

2017 Brings DLP Technology and IoT’s Weaknesses to Light

DLP Technology In regards to data loss prevention (DLP), in the last five years many companies rushed to implement DLP solutions without taking the time to first identify the data that should not transit egress points. Most of these rushed implementations have not been successful. Security analysts, in particular 451 Research, have been recommending that…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

The Five Rules of Security and Compliance in the Public Cloud Era

The Five Rules of Security and Compliance in the Public Cloud Era

Security and Compliance  With technology at the heart of businesses today, IT systems and data are being targeted by criminals, competitors and even foreign governments. Every day, we hear about how another retailer, bank or Internet company has been hacked and private information of customers or employees stolen. Governments and oversight organizations are responding to…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…