What ERP in the Cloud Means for Small Business

Once upon a time, only large multi-national companies needed ERP software. This is no longer true – many small and mid-size businesses now also benefit from this technology.  An effective ERP solution can level the playing field and allow small and medium-sized businesses to compete with much larger organizations.  And, the emergence of the cloud is yet another step toward making this powerful technology available to those who otherwise may not be able to afford it.

A recent Microsoft survey indicated that businesses with 50 or fewer employees are rapidly adopting cloud technology – everything from business-class email to payroll and accounting systems.  Small and mid-size companies face unique challenges, and choosing an ERP solution in the cloud can help address many of these.

1. Faster Deployment
Young companies today are pushed to become profitable as soon as possible. In the Days of Yore, start-ups could rely on venture capital and loans, but that’s not as prevalent as it used to be – today, lenders need a clear understanding of their ROI from the beginning.  A cloud-hosted ERP solution can be deployed quickly, allowing businesses to start reaping the benefits of the solution sooner.  By streamlining and connecting internal processes such as finance, sales, marketing, invoicing and others, organizations can work more efficiently and gain a competitive edge right from the start.

2. Limited Budgets
The cost to implement and maintain an on-premise ERP solution is often not feasible for small businesses.  Limited budgets must be carefully spent, and “doing more with less” is usually a common theme. Over a period of 5 years, the total cost of ownership for Microsoft Dynamics GP in the cloud is less than the on-premise version for most companies. It’s difficult for many small and mid-sized businesses to afford the up-front costs of an on-premise ERP solution.  Wouldn’t you rather invest this money in business-critical activities that can increase profits?

3. Security and Data Management
For a small company, the cost of maintaining hardware and backing up data can be daunting.  With the cloud-hosted option, you can focus on getting the most out of your new ERP system and growing your business, instead of worrying about these tasks. Cloud hosting providers like OmniVue conduct regular server maintenance to make sure your data is secure.  You still maintain complete control over access to confidential information, thanks to the Role Tailored Client available in Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV

4. Disaster Recovery
Business continuity is essential for all organizations, but it’s extremely important for young companies who can’t afford any downtime. With an ERP system in the cloud, it’s easier to get back up and running after unforeseen interruptions, since disaster recovery services are included along with back-up.  When choosing new technology for your business, it’s important to consider a solution that is accessible via the cloud, because you will be able to recover data more quickly than from a physical database.

5. Growth and Scale
ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV are well-suited for many different types of organizations, small and large. They can accommodate fledgling entrepreneurial shops as well as large, established manufacturing plants.   As small businesses become larger or fluctuate in size, cloud-based applications can easily scale to accommodate growth – users can quickly be added or removed as needed. 

Conclusion
While traditional on-premise ERP solutions are still a good option for many businesses, the shift to the cloud has many advantages especially for small to medium-sized organizations.  The business case for this is evidenced by the fact that many smaller companies are adding cloud-based solutions to their application portfolio.  Even with limited resources and capital, cloud-based applications can provide fundamental business services to young companies at a fraction of the cost.

Author Jeff Pyden

Jeff Pyden is President and CEO of OmniVue, which he founded in 2003. For more than 20 years, Jeff has been following his passion for improving business execution and efficiency through technology.