5 Ways ERP Software Prepares SMBs for Sustainable Growth

Cloud Computing, Microsoft Dynamics
8 min readReading Time: 8 minutes

Large Companies Cannot Run Without a Good ERP System…and honestly, neither can small to medium businesses

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is essential for managing large quantities of data from different parts of the business. Without an ERP system, this devolves to rudimentary accounting packages and more spreadsheets than any person can feasibly manage. This isn’t even remotely efficient and it opens the door to critical errors that can cost a business millions in revenues.

Changing systems can be painful for most SMBs (small to medium businesses). Not changing systems can be deadly. By trying to avoid pain now, businesses are delaying the inevitable. And as their business continues to grow, the system that “worked” before is bound to fall apart. Without the right ERP system in place to support your business growth with smarter resources for data storage and operations, SMBs can only get so big before catastrophe strikes.

1. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It – Except When It’s Held Together with Duct Tape

That age old adage needs to go the way of the Dodo bird. Most small and medium-sized business need to suffer a lot of pain and problems before buying a new business application. It’s understandable. Buying and implementing new business software takes time away from people and can be costly. It’s wrought with political minefield’s too. The process of comparing and evaluating different software is tiresome and confusing. So why not just keep plugging away with the same old software until the pain becomes unbearable, right?

WRONG! Waiting until the pain is unbearable is counter-intuitive. The best time to implement an ERP system to replace small business accounting packages is now. You’ve identified your pain points and an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics NAV, or the newly announced Microsoft Dynamics 365 – A cloud-based all-in-one business suite that takes the best of Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM to create the ideal solution for growing small to medium sized business – will help your business avoid problems lurking around the corner.

Looking at the big picture, SMB’s that rely on small business accounting packages and distributed spreadsheets for financial management are missing out on opportunities to increase productivity. The single application solution of Microsoft Dynamics 365 combines the best of ERP and CRM to create a single point of access to reduce complexity and increase productivity. Best of all, Dynamics 365 integrates natively with your existing Office 365 business applications, allowing employees to move seamlessly between email, sales, and financial management.

But what is this worth without reporting? Dynamics 365 features the powerful Microsoft Power BI tool-set to create visually stunning and easy to understand reporting and dashboards that will help guide senior management to grow the business efficiently with reliable business intelligence.

2. See Beyond the Horizon with Powerful Business Intelligence Dashboards

Small to medium business management will typically receive reports based on periods only. It just the way accounting systems operate when reporting summary information. Period summaries help get a big picture of where the company is now and where it’s heading. Between the ends of periods, you’ll see a bit more data like open invoices and accounts payable. This makes day-to-day operations work, but it doesn’t help you see the big picture.

An ERP system puts all of this information at the fingertips of executives. Microsoft Power BI dashboards and high-level metrics are updated daily so executives have current status whenever they need it. Rather that waiting for the end of the month to make key business decisions, pertinent information is readily available and can designed to make insights and show the right information. This near instants access requires a single, unified ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365; otherwise trying to constantly update and gather information from a spreadsheets and make the necessary calculations to make a decision confidently is cumbersome and destroys productivity and morale.

3. Don’t Get Stuck Playing Catch-up as Your Business Grows

Your business is growing and with that comes more operational processes that need to be completed and as a result, more people involved in them. When using small business accounting packages, this process becomes daunting and time consuming. Before you know it, you’re wasting significant productive hours an creating financial reports instead of the tasks that make your business money.

This can be managed in the short-term, but the stress of this will catch up and long term problems await. Consolidating your software solutions by using Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the most efficient way to increase the amount of data that can be processed without creating extra work.

4. The Data You Need – When You Need It

Simplified business accounting systems are great at tracking money coming and going out. But that’s about it. Where these systems stop are typically where business resort to using spreadsheets to compensate for financial management and operation business processes.

In order for this to work, a spreadsheet is going to need data from other databases, such as a production management system. Combining financial data with customer and product data provides more depth and context than numbers alone, which makes it that much more important in ongoing financial reporting.

It is already difficult to know the true cost of business operations when all of the data is available. It’s even harder when little nuggets of essential information are scattered among different applications and databases that need to be joined produce a meaningful report. Microsoft Dynamics 365, which combines the functions of an ERP system with a CRM system can do this with ease; spreadsheets cannot.

5. Working Without the Hassle

A traditional ERP system may seem like a big deal to implement, but Microsoft Dynamics 365 is different. Built from the ground up and tailored for your specific business needs, this cloud-based all-in-one business solution is simple to setup and easy to use. The Dynamics 365 platform create a stable base for your business growth.

With an easy and intuitive platform with rich dashboards, finance and accounting people can stay on task and help with other departments. People in other departments are less distracted by constant calls for information and updates.

Even the IT department will benefit from fewer hassles. The single database solution of Dynamics 365 is much easier to operate and maintain than many distributed spreadsheets and overworked accounting systems.

Seems like a big win for everyone…

Marco D'Ercole
Marco D'Ercole
An Alumni of St Michael’s College School, York University and co-founder of 360 Visibility Inc., Marco is an industry recognized expert at building and aligning an organization’s technology with their business strategy in a cost-effective and often innovative way.
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