The most popular ERP features and what small businesses miss

December 3, 2015
December 3, 2015 TM Group

The most popular ERP features and what small businesses miss

A small business needs an ERP partner to help navigate multiple software features.

ERP solutions have a multitude of features and work in a variety of industries and there is no one way to use them. A company can integrate an ERP solution simply and quickly by focusing on the specific features it needs for success.There’s a potential problem to consider with this strategy, however. Does this approach mean small businesses are missing out on important features available in their chosen solution?

CIO shared the results of a Morgan Franklin Consultation Survey that found 54 percent of businesses don’t have a strong understanding of the features offered by their ERP systems. Companies that implement ERP solutions with short-sighted goals for success may miss out on helpful features that could boost productivity and eliminate redundancies. Before making a purchase, small businesses should do their research and reach out to an ERP consultant about how their organization can realize optimal ROI from ERP features.

Common ERP features
At this point, ERP software has a reputation in most industries. The majority of business professionals no longer view ERP software as a tool utilized solely by accountants and warehouses, but there are narrow perceptions of common utilization.

Some ERP software designers recognize this limited consumer scope and produce bare-bones programs for small businesses. Find Accounting Software performed a study to determine which ERP features were offered by various brands. The report divided ERP functionality by company department and discovered several important services missing from programs.

Many designers cling tight to the belief that accountants are the core audience for ERP solutions and offer the most functionality for finance. Most software programs provide basic tools like general ledger, order creation and job costing, but not every solution features multi-currency and fixed asset management. Very few ERP systems offer tools for progress billing and fund accounting.

As the study focused on different departments, it found even more performance features missing. The only operational ERP service every product analyzed offered was inventory control. Most programs had tools for receiving and work order management, but only about 50 percent had field service, project management and quality control features. The sales tools commonly hosted ordering and invoicing, but very rarely could they configure details about products and e-Commerce activities.

What companies will need in the future
If small businesses shop for ERP solutions with only one or two goals in mind, they will probably find many options, but may limit future functionality. It’s a great idea to know exactly what the business needs right now for success, but it’s also essential to find a flexible system that adapts to new ideas and can help businesses overcome future challenges.

IT Toolbox suggested small businesses need to focus on e-Commerce when selecting a modern ERP solution. Companies may need systems that can process orders from multiple channels and keep an eye on finances for numerous operations. ERP solutions should help small manufacturers stay competitive as more businesses start to crowd the market. Features like quality control and project management will become increasingly important as more consumer options present themselves.

While small businesses should focus on specific pain points during implementation, keeping an eye on future trends and demands prevents the need to scrap old solutions. Companies can get the most out of their investment by finding solutions that offer maximum performance for the price.

Fully informed implementation
Small businesses need to do their research before making any serious investments. When in the market for an ERP solution, companies should begin with their primary goals and plans for future experiences.

Finding an ERP partner willing to listen to a company’s needs and hopes is important. Companies should find an ERP provider their employees feel comfortable talking to, so they feel motivated to continue the relationship and explore functionality. A lasting partnership is especially advantageous as the company succeeds with early features and wishes to implement further changes or modules.

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