Top ten IT strategies for SMEs, number ten: ERP

Read the last instalment in our series on how small businesses can save many and boost sales by thinking differently about IT.

Enterprise resource planning is an integrated system companies use to manage business functions such as finances, materials, and human resources. Although it’s traditionally been a tool for larger organisations, it is now becoming increasingly popular in mid-sized companies.

There are plenty of packages available, from Sage, Infor, SAP – all of which can be fairly labour intensive to run. However, on-demand platforms such as NetSuite are making ERP more accessible to SMEs.

“Here you pay a subscription per user for access to enterprise class technology which reduces the cost of entry for small organisations but allows access to all the benefits; inventory control, scheduling, costing,” said Bob Tarzey, analyst at Quocirca.

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I was very interested to read your Top Ten Tips for SMEs recently - all very valuable points for small businesses trying to get the most out of IT. However I found it surprising that disaster recovery wasn’t included in the Top Ten. Data Loss and the unavailability of key business systems costs European businesses approx €17 Million a year, and when small organisations are impacted by such events many don’t fully recover. It is reported that some SMEs can even go out of business from downtime. It is therefore imperative for SME’s to design and deploy systems and processes that will help them survive in the event of a disaster.