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As a startup company, where should investing in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution fit into your long list of priorities? Your business has limited resources, but you also need to hit the ground running in order to inspire confidence in investors, stakeholders, and employees.
An agile, flexible, and scalable cloud-based ERP system developed for your specific industry may be the ideal solution for your venture at this time, especially if you have launched your product or service and are nearing 100 invoices per month. But before you decide, here are ten important considerations.
An ERP solution designed for your specific industry incorporates operational best practices across your business, by default. This makes it easy to get started and to train your employees in both the software and your processes, which are both aligned with industry best practices for optimum efficiency. The right ERP solution also provides a foundation as your business juggles all of its operations and need for regulatory compliance.
The structure of many cloud-based ERP solutions allows you to start with core business processes and add modules and features as your business grows and evolves. Look for a system with modular configurability so that you can add the features you need when you need them.
Developing operational infrastructures and information networks from scratch are time-consuming practices that once doomed many startups to failure. One of the greatest reasons to invest in ERP for startups is the immediate incorporation of streamlined processes that enable your team to focus on strategic business objectives and core projects, rather than administrative tasks
The right business software solution will not only establish streamlined operational practices but will also automate many of your company’s day-to-day and administrative functions, so that you can accomplish more with a small staff.
ERP software acts as a central data repository that automatically populates real-time data across all business units, modules, and forms. This ensures that everyone working for your organization, as well as partners and stakeholders, has access to the same up-to-date data, whether they are in the office or in the field using mobile devices. This eliminates excessive emails and phone calls, as well as mistakes in human data re-entry.
Tracking down data, forms, and historical information from disparate, disconnected systems is an extraordinarily inefficient business practice and one that startups can ill afford to make a habit. ERP gets you off to the right start with the ability to oversee the entire business, from accounting to inventory and other operational areas, all from one portal. It also enables you to monitor key performance indicators from at-a-glance dashboards and generate customized reports at the touch of a button.
Startups often struggle with identifying all of the expenditures that influence the costs of operations. With the interconnected modules of an ERP solution, you have comprehensive access to all of your costs so that you can set and manage your budget effectively from the outset.
At-a-glance dashboards, advanced analytics and reporting features, complete business integration, and AI/ML tools are among the business intelligence features of ERP that will empower you to make more informed decisions. When your competitors are armed with these advanced tools, you can ill-afford to be without them.
Well-designed, intuitive software reduces the amount of time you spend training employees and getting them up to proficiency. The easier systems are to use, the more efficient your team will be in the long run, so look for intuitive design and software that minimizes task times.
Cloud-based ERP solutions offer economies of scale, including the ability to deliver robust security to smaller businesses, including startups. Security features are built-in and continually updated so that you don’t have to spend time or resources on protecting your data.
A final consideration is the reputation of the ERP solution vendor among your industry peers. Ask the people you know and trust in your industry which solutions they prefer and why before you narrow your search and begin talking to software vendors.
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