Enterprise resource planning has undergone many developments since it was first devised. However, of all the developments, the most groundbreaking has to be the move to cloud based ERP solutions.

Traditional ERP required a huge up-front investment in new computing hardware, interconnectivity and software. Once the systems were set up, businesses then needed to invest in IT support to ensure that the systems continued to operate correctly.

This investment was only possible for bigger businesses that could identify exactly how introducing ERP would benefit the workflow. Small businesses could not afford such complex computer systems and therefore were less able to compete.

Cloud based ERP solutions are hosted on internet servers. Each business is given an account on the server that is used for monitoring and reporting. Data can be input via internet-based applications and websites, and reports can be accessed via any standard web browser.

Project Management

Businesses are no longer required to commit to large IT investments, and this allows smaller companies to benefit from the same automated business solutions that larger rivals use.

Managing projects

Project management software and ERP solutions are often aligned, making it much easier for small business owners to effectively run new projects.

Business development and growth is usually only possible by means of analysing, testing and streamlining processes, and ERP solutions are ideal for this purpose.

ERP software can be used to boost project management productivity by digitising information. This is one of the biggest benefits for small businesses because it provides a faster and more efficient way to log and report daily tasks. A successful project needs to be well managed and this means accurate and timely reporting.

Other benefits of ERP

ERP solutions also provide business owners with a simple way to monitor business health when away from HQ.

Most ERP products are modular based, meaning that companies can order only what they need. ERP covers a wide range of functions such as financials, human resources, CRM, production and procurement.

For many companies, adopting a cloud based ERP solution means that their business is essentially cloud based. The latest ERP packages can provide most of the administration needed to run a business; very little needs to be done directly within an office.

This is allowing businesses to become more mobile and also reduce costs; many businesses spend a large percentage of their turnover on office rent.

Rapid business growth

Cloud based ERP also accommodates rapid business growth. Because the cloud-based infrastructure can already host many large businesses, when a small business grows rapidly there is no risk that IT limitations will hinder expansion. In fact, more efficient IT systems may actually help with growth by allowing a company to be more responsive to market conditions.

Some business owners are concerned about data privacy with cloud based ERP, but developments in internet security mean that data is as safe in the cloud as it is when held on company computer hard drives.

Secure networks

Cloud based solutions have the added advantage of acting as a secure off-site back-up in case of emergency. Should an office be damaged by fire or flood, or have computer equipment stolen, confidential data will be secured.

Serious fire damage often results in businesses being forced to close down, especially when products and client information, orders and invoices are all destroyed. When data is secured on the cloud this risk is greatly mitigated.

With new online ERP services every business can now take advantage of this new generation of business technology.

By Marcela