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What to consider when selecting and implementing an ERP system

Selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (aka ERP) software is a huge pain for many businesses. That’s largely because of the inherent costs and logistical challenges that it poses.

You’ve got to consider all of the licensing dollars, maintenance, training, time, and more that goes into making the switch. It’s a common concern for business. Nearly 50% of companies are soon planning (or have already started) to acquire and upgrade their ERP system.

To make the implementation as painless as possible, you’ll want to ensure that you do your homework on selecting the right software ahead of time.

Lucky for you, you’re reading something that can help you out.

Here’s what you need to know before you implement your new ERP system.

Consider your organization’s needs

ERP software can vary greatly in terms of software capabilities.

Keep in mind your needs, both in the present and the future. The last thing you’d want to do is spend on a system that is a bad fit for your business. That goes for both overkill (too many features that cost a lot and aren’t relevant to your business) and underkill (limited features that save money, but can’t fulfill your needs).

Did you know? According to Panorama’s ERP report, the most common reason to implement ERP was to improve business performance.

Additionally, you’ll want to look into ERP software that’s relevant to your industry and company needs. It’s always a plus if you’ve got the tools that are custom-crafted to answer your unique issues.

Key takeaways:

  • Define the scope of the project and your organizational needs
  • Study the capabilities of potential ERP software to prevent a bad fit
  • Seek out a system that works within your vertical

Consider the flexibility and ease of use

You’ll be relying on your ERP software a whole lot. Choose a system that both has the features you need AND offers an intuitive user interface that works for your staff.

Pragmatically, that means having customization options that present the exact data that specific people need to see – and nothing else. If you need to create weird workarounds and frustrating loopholes to get work done within the ERP system, you should look for a better fit.

Additionally, make sure that your ERP system fits the needs of the modern business. It’s extremely beneficial to get a system that’s cloud accessible so you can work from wherever you are. That’s also true for mobile compatibility, which is quickly growing in adoption and usage in the ERP space.

Key takeaways:

  • Test out the ERP software first to see if it’s easy to use and intuitive
  • Ensure that it’s customizable to your needs
  • (Optional) See if it’s mobile and cloud-friendly and accessible

Consider the long-term ROI

Remember that ERP software is a means to an end – that is, growing your business and becoming more profitable than before.

While the immediate costs are something you should definitely consider, also keep the total cost of ownership (TCO) in the back of your mind. If your ERP system can evolve to fit your growing needs, you’ll find that the TCO is well worth it overall.

It’s easy to go overboard with costs. In fact, 64% of ERP projects go over budget.  That’s why it’s important to calculate the tangible ROI math of your ERP software. We like Acumatica’s calulator for that purpose.

Key takeaways:

  • Determine not just the initial costs, but the overall costs of the ERP software
  • Partner with an expert to help you determine ROI and TCO

To help with understanding the costs and implementation feasibility, it’s always a smart move to partner with an ERP systems expert. The value that they add comes in handy when determining which ERP platform is best for you in terms of capabilities, costs, implementation, and more.

Scalability and flexibility with ERP solutions

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a miracle of the modern workplace. In essence, it unites your company’s accounting, human resources, product development, manufacturing, marketing and other departments. It lets those divisions instantly share, store, organize and utilize a common repository of corporate and customer information via a standard or customizable user interface.

Today’s ERP software makes it easy to make data-based decisions. With its flexible tools and powerful features, you can track employee performance, make cost projections, craft budgets, plan schedules, calculate ideal price points and figure out how many products to ship to stores, among many other crucial operational tasks.

In addition, this software can automatically generate reports and fill out paperwork, ensuring that you follow all compliance rules and requirements.

With this software, everyone can work more efficiently and accurately to deliver and share timely documentation and analysis.

Whether you prefer on-premise or cloud-based ERP, if you choose the right vendor, you’ll have excellent onsite support whenever you need it.

If you’re in the market for ERP software, you’ll probably want a platform with these features.

1. Learning capabilities

When your ERP software has machine learning capabilities, it will figure out over time how to make itself more useful to everyone.

For instance, if your ERP program realizes that your accountants often seek a certain data point, it might display that number as soon as it’s updated without being asked. It can also identify and recommend best next actions based on expert user activity and recurring processes.

2. Complete mobility

No matter where your staff members are, they should be able to safely access your ERP interface. And it ought to be user-friendly for all smartphones and tablets.

With secure mobile access to your corporate systems, your sales reps and other employees can enter pertinent updates and statistics from customer meetings, conferences, hotel rooms, flights and remote offices.

3. Customization

It should be simple for you and your team to customize your ERP solutions. As soon as you log in, you should see the charts and tools you need in your user portal. Meanwhile, items you rarely or never use can remain hidden, along with data restricted to other users or departments.

Simply put, if your ERP can adjust to accommodate the needs of each role and department, your team will perform their unique duties more effectively.

4. Social media integration

Just about every company relies on social media platforms for marketing and even customer interaction and feedback. As such, it’s helpful if your ERP software automates and streamlines your social media programs and activity to ensure consistency, compliance, and collaboration.

With the right process in place, each department can even use the interface to submit photos, videos and messages for sharing approved content.

Furthermore, your ERP analytics can tell you which posts get the most response and even evaluate the responses for more insightful decision-making. That way, you can keep posting the best kind of content for your audience and your company.

5. Scalability

Whenever you see an influx of new customers, you want to know the cause and the effect. It might happen because your business appears on the news or a major website, or because you introduce a hot new product. Whatever the reason, it’s vital to have ERP software that not only adjusts to meet changes in demand but also helps you make the appropriate adjustments in the relevant areas of your business.

That is, your ERP program should be capable of processing as much new data as your company feeds it. And you must be able to add as many new users and mobile devices as necessary. If your ERP can’t handle a sudden flood of info, you’ll have to buy and implement new software, an expensive and time-wasting prospect.

With the right enterprise resource planning solution, your operations will remain flexible as you grow. Similarly, you’ll always be responsive to market changes and trends, since your ERP will help you make choices based on customer preferences. With adaptability so often comes prosperity

4 ways Acumatica brings your operations to the future

Modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is designed to use a single system of integrated applications to manage the many functions and processes of the business. But how can your unique business benefit from something like this? Modern ERP solutions are used by businesses that are looking for a more integrated, centralized management system. Organizations that have to manage a lot of staff, inventory, or customers could all benefit from an ERP. For this reason, modern ERPs are used by a number of very different industries, including healthcare, construction, nonprofits, and even hospitality.

Acumatica is the fastest-growing provider of cloud-based ERP for small and mid-sized businesses (SMB). When it comes to choosing a contemporary ERP, here are 4 ways that Acumatica can transform and update your operations.

Improved productivity

There are some tasks that you have come to expect will take a significant amount of time. Tasks like generating reports, tracking timesheets, and monitoring payroll are necessary but time-consuming. They also tend to bring down employee morale. Acumatica has apps designed to simplify each of these processes, and in doing so they can save you time. In some cases, these tasks can even be automated. This frees up valuable employee time and increases your organization’s productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

People working efficiently with computers in a group

Another benefit of Acumatica is the ability to go mobile. All of the apps can be used on mobile devices anywhere you have an internet connection and, because the ERP is cloud-based, your data will always be there when you need it. This enables you to stay connected to the office no matter where you are. If employees are working in the field they will still have immediate access to whatever they need. Even if you don’t work in the field, mobility is definitely still a huge benefit. It allows you to check in while traveling, while in line at the bank, or while taking a meeting down the hall from your office.

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Related reading: An introduction to the management suites of Acumatica

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Faster analytics

One of the most frustrating and time-consuming requirements for any manager is the process of compiling regular reports. Waiting for people to turn in their monthly numbers, or attempting to pull data from numerous sources can be frustrating and slow. Acumatica records and stores all your data as it’s entered and lives in the Acumatica ERP suite of apps. This means that when it’s time to pull a report, you can do so in real time without having to go to a lot of different sources. Acumatica reporting also allows you to schedule reports ahead of time, and to customize your reports to the specifications you need.

Acumatica ERP also offers a lot of extras, with great features like the ability to customize reports with your logo, the option to customize reports based on roles, and a host of choices for exporting and sharing reports with others. This allows you to use these features in the way you want and take your reporting to a whole new level.

Simplified inventory management

A major challenge for growing companies of all kinds is tracking and monitoring inventory. Acumatica tracks inventory in real time, improving customer service and profitability. Inventory is easily tracked end-to-end through the system, from purchase to stock to sale. CRM integration enables you to convert sales opportunities into sales orders without having to re-enter pricing and other information. Inventory replenishment recommendations based on historical analysis help to minimize costs and unnecessary inventory. Details like these contribute to the streamlined operations that Acumatica offers as well as to improved customer service.

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Related reading: 5 signs you need an ERP system

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Preview of Acumatica Software
Photo: Acumatica

Streamlined operations

Improved productivity, faster analytics, and simplified inventory management are just a few of the ways that Acumatica will bring your business into the future. What it all really boils down to, though, is the ability to streamline your operations. When you are able to operate in one platform to manage the mission-critical activities for your business, you save time, money and energy – and reduce stress. This makes things easier and more efficient for you and for your employees. And, just like other cloud services, Acumatica is scalable and customizable to your individual business and needs so you don’t have to invest in more than you really need.

6 reasons to upgrade to a modern business application platform

For years businesses have been stuck using inefficient methods to manage everything from operations and processes to IT. These methods include things like computer processors, spreadsheets, and basic email. When it comes to collaboration, they can be confusing and frustrating.

If this sounds familiar, there’s a good chance you have outgrown your processes. The good news is that there are a variety of business application platforms and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions available that can transform the way you do business.

If you’ve been considering an upgrade, now might be a good time to make the change. In fact, we’ve compiled six reasons why it’s definitely worth the effort to upgrade to a modern platform.

adaptable puzzle

Adaptable

Modern business application platforms and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are designed to be fully adaptable. So as your business changes, you can keep up with modern trends and easily address client requests. Also, since most platforms are Cloud-based, they also keep you connected to your business anytime, anywhere, allowing your business platform to adapt to your needs and your busy schedule.

Scalable graph

Scalable

When it comes to growth, scalable services are critical for your business. With modern business platforms, you only pay for the platform and the services that you need now, not what you might need later. So as your business grows and changes, you can scale the platform and services to match your growing needs rather than replacing the solution when you outgrow it.

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Related reading: Comparing ERP to on-premise

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Reliable

Choosing a reliable modern toolset is crucial to this new stage of your business management, as is reliable customer service. Finding a reliable platform will not only improve your processes and reduce errors, but it will increase your ability to help your customers and ultimately add value to your business as a whole.

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Related reading: 5 signs you need an ERP system

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Manageable

The ability to manage and track your inventory is a basic need for most businesses. Switching over to a modern business application platform makes this much easier, more efficient and overall more cost-effective. When you know the true status of your assets you can position your company for growth, improve customer service, and plan ahead for the future.

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Flexible

Every industry has a unique set of requirements. There are a number of different platforms designed with this in mind. Some platforms, such as Acumatica Cloud ERP Solutions, offer a range of options that are uniquely tailored for several industries, to help you address your challenges and reach your ultimate company goals. This creates a great starting point for you and limits the amount of initial customization required to get things set up just the way you need them.

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Related reading: The difference between accounting software and ERP solutions

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Customizable

One of the greatest assets that modern business application platforms and ERPs bring to the table is the ability to customize the platform to your individual business’ needs. You have worked hard to build your business over the years. When you’ve done everything from designing spreadsheets to creating letterhead, It can be hard to let go of some of the fruits of your hard labor. With customizable platforms, you don’t necessarily have to let go. Many modern business application platforms offer the possibility of deep customizations to suit your specific business needs. This allows you to incorporate some of your personal documents that you’d like to continue using to avoid customer confusion.

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Related reading: ROI of your ERP system

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Final thoughts

If you think you’re ready to upgrade to a modern business application platform or ERP, you can begin right away. Although it might seem overwhelming, it will have a lasting impact on your business for years to come. To get started, we recommend the following process:

  • Assess your needs – Start by assessing your current business needs. Are you looking for financial management? Customer support? Project management? What are you looking to accomplish with this new platform?
  • Budget – How much can you afford to spend on this? Don’t forget to account for implementation, training, and ongoing costs.
  • Research your options – Now that you have a budget in place and you know what you are looking for, you can begin your search. You may want to use an external vendor to help with this process if your budget allows for this. If not, be sure to take your time and really review all of your options.
  • Narrow down your choices – Try to get your options down to a top two or three. These are the ones who you will ask for a detailed proposal from. Talk to them in detail and be sure to ask all your questions.
  • Make a decision – Make an informed decision based on the proposals submitted and move forward.

5 Signs You Need an ERP System

Keeping your business running smoothly requires using technology that supports automation and quick communication. For that, there are ERP systems that can help you achieve these goals.

But before you dive into the world of ERP, you have to know when it’s time to jump.

Here are 5 signs that will tell you exactly when you need an ERP system.

1. Your core business processes are struggling

From accounting to sales, you need to ensure your core business processes and their respective departments are efficient. But if your core departments aren’t using tools that boost their efficiency, they can struggle to operate at optimal levels.

It’s not just internal processes that suffer – it can also adversely impact the customer experience.

Related: What Does an MSP Actually Do?

On the other hand, ERP systems give you the power to facilitate operational efficiency. You can implement ERP systems that can help automate processes and provide a quick way for teams to monitor progress using a streamlined dashboard all from one database.

With a workflow improvement, you can supercharge your efficiency and make your customers happier than ever before.

2. You’ve got limited access to company data

The ability to access crucial information from your company anywhere at any time is essential for all employees that work in the field. It’s especially true for salespeople who invest several hours of the day in negotiating deals and providing in-person sales consultations to business prospects.

However, if your sales team lacks mobile access to company data, then you’re limiting their potential to nurture their leads. As remote work becomes an increasingly popular way of business, it’s important to have mobile functionality so that your team can access all the information that they need.

Related: 8 Business Benefits of Having Managed Services

You can get this done by taking advantage of an ERP system that leverages cloud technology. For instance, your sales team will be able to track the status of a sales order while on-the-go from their smartphone device or tablet using a mobile powered-ERP system. That helps them save time and make better decisions based on real-time information.

3. You’re using several software programs for different reasons across different departments

When your sales team finalizes a deal, your accounting team should be updated with the information as soon as possible so they can keep track of each expense for the month.

But if both departments are inputting and gathering information from different software programs to fulfill different tasks within each business process, then your operational efficiency will tank.

Why?

Because each software program lacks direct communication. Moreover, updating and upgrading each software program can be time consuming. Conversely, an ERP system allows you to streamline your business processes and enhance operational efficiency thanks to its ability to work on a software platform that’s integrated using a single database.

4. Your IT support is too slow

When you have several departments using a variety of software applications, it can transform support for IT-related issues into an ordeal. Your organization will require more staff members and resources to constantly address problems with each individual program.

If you’re not careful, you can end up stretching your IT support thin, causing extended downtime, and even affecting your overall less productivity.

Instead, an ERP system can help simplify IT support by helping IT managers assess issues from one central location. This helps to facilitate quick and agile operations and increase business productivity.

5. You can’t scale with current systems

If you want to grow your business, you have to use the tools that will help you get tasks done in innovative ways. But if you’re using legacy software systems that take a long time to complete tasks, it can hinder your business growth.

Related: 5 Ways Managed IT Services Help Growing Businesses

With ERP systems, you can easily scale your business. You have the option to buy the resources you need and customize the system to evolve as your business does.

Have ERP questions? We have ERP answers

Whether your accounting is struggling or you lack mobility, you have to understand when it’s time to get an ERP. By knowing the signs, you can help streamline your business processes to enhance operational efficiency and your overall profits.

Meet The AppSolute Experts

The team at AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC includes some of the most talented and skilled business and IT experts in the industry. Many of our employees have experience in business, accounting, project management, and other areas in addition to software and technology. This experience offers unparalleled insight into the unique needs of our clients. Not only can we guide you to finding the best technology for your company, we can provide the support you need to ensure your systems remain aligned with your business needs.

Take a moment and meet our team:
Founding partners: Bruce Baron, David Hoffman, and Eric Grasman
Bob Nowatzky, Sage X3
Susan Chase, Senior Systems Analyst and Project Manager
Viktor Zelenko, Senior Consultant
Michael Ehrlich, Director of Network Services
Vincent Mantia, Senior Network Engineer

The AppSolute team of experts will partner with your business and guide you toward choosing the modern technology you need to support your growing enterprise. Our approach starts with learning how you do business, we discuss common disruptions or challenges that you currently face, and your goals or mission for the future of your company. With this information, we can then offer several options for onsite or cloud solutions that address both your challenges and can support your goals. Once the technology is chosen, our team can deploy the new system, train your employees, and provide as much follow-up support as you need. We also offer guidance or support with routine maintenance and software updates to keep your new technology working at peak capacity. Our experts also provide help-desk support, custom programming, system security, and other software support services. You are just a phone call or email away from receiving the information and guidance that you need, when you need it.

Contact the consultants at AppSolute when you are ready to upgrade your business solutions, replacing inefficient, outdated systems, with modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. We will be happy to set up a meeting to discuss how today’s technology can improve productivity, boost profitability, and support continued growth.

By AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC, New York Based Microsoft, Accumatica and Sage Partner

The Difference Between Accounting Software And ERP Solutions

Businesses rely on accurate financial management and many describe finances as the very lifeblood of the company.  Many decisions are based on current financial figures, which is why reliable accounting software is such a necessity.  However, over time basic accounting software no longer fits the bill, so to speak, and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution makes more sense.

Entry-level accounting software, such as QuickBooks, can work successfully for a time.  These solutions offer basic financial management activities such as monitoring income and expenses, populating bank statements, and paying bills.  You may be able to create invoices and print financial reports; however, there isn’t much more you can get out of entry-level accounting software.  A secondary problem often presents itself some time later – basic software can only handle a limited volume of data and a limited number of users.  With growth, your business generates more and more data that can quickly bog down the software, making it difficult to process data and reports.  Additional delays can occur as employees have to wait to enter or retrieve information needed to make important business decisions.  Before basic accounting software begins to stifle growth, make the change to a stronger business management solution.

You can manage all of your business operations with a modern ERP solution including financial transactions, supply chain and inventory, manufacturing and distribution operations, human resources and payroll activities, and other core business processes.  You can enter, access, and analyze data with greater efficiency when it’s located within a single, centralized solution.  In addition, data is seamlessly shared between processes. For example, you can create a proposal or contract for a customer and turn that data into a purchase order, and later, an invoice.  This and other time-saving automations reduces the time spent handling data and improves the productivity of your team.  Powerful ERP solutions also offer business intelligence and reporting features that make it easier to identify trends, uncover ways to control spending or reduce waste, and further improve business processes.
As your business grows, you need more than basic accounting software.  Choose a solution that can provide the insight you need to make data-driven decisions, improve productivity and profitability, and support superior customer service.

Contact AppSolute for more information about making the switch from entry-level accounting software to modern ERP.

By AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC, Microsoft, Accumatica and Sage Partner out of New York

Welcome to the AppSolute Blog

Greetings and welcome to AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC and our new blog.  AppSolute is a New York based firm that provides business management software and complementary technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in the tri-state area as well as around the world.  This blog site will provide valuable insights, tips and tricks, and additional guidance for companies interested in upgrading business systems or getting the most out of today’s business solutions.

AppSolute is a full-service provider of technology-based software for companies that are interested in improving productivity and profitability by replacing outdated software with modern business solutions.  We are a certified Microsoft, Sage and Acumatica partner, each of which offer powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Our team of experts include project managers, programmers, system analysts, network engineers, and certified public accountants.  With a depth of knowledge in both business technology and the unique pain points experienced in many industries, our team can deliver knowledgeable, relevant support when providing a needs analysis, implementation planning, custom programming, help desk support, and other IT services.

Our goal is to provide businesses with the technology that they need to be successful and the support services that keeps these solutions running at peak capacity.  To support these services, we have added a blog page to our website.  Our blog posts will include helpful information about Microsoft, Acumatica, and Sage business solutions, relevant industry insights, and other IT information that you can use to strengthen your company and business processes.

Modern business technology has come a long way in recent years.  Today’s ERP and CRM solutions are no longer out of reach for the small and mid-sized businesses that compete with larger corporations.  Microsoft, Acumatica, and Sage solutions are affordable, intuitive, and can provide the control and insight you need to grow your business.   Contact the experts at AppSolute for additional information about the business solutions that can support your corporate goals and drive growth.

By AppSolute Consulting Group, LLC, Microsoft, Acumatica, and Sage Partner out of New York