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Instead of generic, industry-agnostic ERPs that are based in accounting and lacking insight into your unique industry needs, the cloud has made industry-specific ERP for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) both available and affordable.
Your business needs are different from those of businesses in other industries. Trying to use a one-size-fits-all ERP solution is more difficult than fitting the proverbial square peg in a round hole, and requires much more work to make it fit.
Here, we explore five major reasons why purchasing an industry-specific solution can be one of the best decisions you make for your business.
If you choose a general ERP offering, you will need extensive software customization to meet your industry-specific needs. IT consultants will study your business and the industry on your behalf (and at your expense) in order to determine the customizations necessary for your process requirements.
This can be a massive undertaking with months or even years of advance planning needed to explore time, budgets, and company resources. Customizations typically require multiple iterations and several attempts at implementation, which are often frustrating to employees and customers. Industry-specific solutions offer a much shorter time to implement and are virtually plug-and-play.
However, if you buy the right ERP software, there’s no need to customize it. That’s why, in Panorama Consulting Group’s 2023 ERP Report, over 34% of companies implemented their software with no customization.
Your industry-specific ERP solution is the key to implementing proven, up-to-the-minute best practices. Niche software developers are current with industry standards and evolving practices, so your software facilitates your business operating as efficiently as possible. Even in top-performing organizations, the switch to an integrated business management solution often results in streamlining and automation that yields a leaner organization with greater productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
Reporting capabilities with an industry-specific solution are also developed by leading strategic minds in the industry to provide actionable business insights to guide your decision-making and investments. You will often find a list of turnkey reports used by industry leaders in your vertical, as well as the ability to refine existing report templates or create your own.
Industry-specific ERP vendors are business consultants, not merely salespeople and IT professionals. When you have a question about specific software features or problems using system capabilities, your contacts can provide valuable expertise to help you get the most out of your investment. When your employees need help implementing new best practices, the vendor can provide guidance through in-person training or online resources.
There is no need to explain how certain features are used in your industry in this relationship because your contacts are likely successful industry veterans and experienced problem-solvers. In crunch time, having a partner who can work with you and who is an expert in your software and your industry, is one of the best benefits of a vertical-specific solution.
Industry-specific business management solutions offer capabilities that align with specific job functions and business processes. They also enable SMBs to update to today’s best practices, while integrating all business functions into one comprehensive solution. Employees share information in real-time across all business modules so they can all work with up-to-date information.
If you choose an ERP developed by a vendor that provides active leadership in industry organizations and intimately knows your vertical, customer-centric functionality is built-in. Vendors develop modules and features, including CRM and reporting, with years of expertise in your needs, expectations, and pain points. If your customers have specific requirements in order to do business with you, need certain types of approvals, or have to comply with industry and government regulations, these functions are all built-in. Generic solutions offer none of these features.
Your business capabilities and needs will evolve – in most cases fairly quickly – once you implement your new ERP solution. A cloud-based platform devised for your industry will offer the ability to start with the modules and features you need today and adopt new capabilities and advanced technologies as your business grows. The cloud environment enables you to add capabilities incrementally and at the lowest possible cost on a subscription basis. System updates are handled by the vendor, and are typically seamless, with little or no business interruption.
With an industry-specific, completely integrated ERP to automate and streamline your business while providing vertical-specific insights into your operations and your market, you can reach a new level of performance.
Learn more about ERP functionality and how to determine your unique business needs when you download the "How to Determine Your ERP Needs” guidebook.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 27, 2021 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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