ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning has gained popularity all over the world and ERP systems are the backbone of any modern organization. But ERP systems are not just restricted to big organizations and they are also used within the small businesses. Small scale industries, as per the definition, have less than ten thousand employees and they need ERP systems that can manage the small volume of business. In other words ERP doesn’t need to be confined to large and reputed organizations only.
In Malaysia, too, many small scale businesses have ERP systems. They’ve developed their own ERP system and although there are many similarities and differences between both of these systems, there are also some major differences. The government of Malaysia has taken a lot of time in deciding the future course of organization charting and it’s because of this same reason that the government is attempting to develop its own ERP system. There are two different types of ERP system – ERP based on Microsoft Windows platform and ERP based on the Java platform. But the choice between these two systems depends on the local scenario of the company or the requirement of the company.
Microsoft Windows ERP software has been widely acclaimed and is used by almost all large and medium scale companies across the world. Though a number of companies have switched to Windows because it provides better compatibility with many third-party programs and so on. Many experts feel that if ERP applications is to be used by the tiny businesses, then it would be better to use open source ERP software that has many advantages such as multi-tenancy, open development environment, high scalability, minimal cost, availability of new extensions and so forth. However, the users of these open source ERP applications has to be sure about the licensing arrangement, they cannot just run the system without any consent or other legal responsibility. Even though there are lots of benefits of using such open source ERP applications, it’s expensive compared to Microsoft Windows ERP software.
The second choice is to use either Blackberry software or Apple iPhone-based smartphones for accessing the ERP system from a remote site. This can easily be achieved by hiring a telecommuting staff who will act as an intermediary between the organization and the ERP program. In this manner, many advantages are obtained by the business in terms of cost-saving, reduction in travel and time, productivity improvement, availability of latest software updates etc.. However, you can’t afford to employ such employees whose fees will be three times greater than the expense of a Windows ERP software.
Another alternative available for many companies is to use web-enabled ERP software that is not installed in the computer system on the local level. A number of companies have made their web portals in a bid to enhance the online image of the corporation. In cases like this, the system has to be accessed from remote locations and can be operated from either a laptop or mobile device. Such systems require a lot of customization and so the cost will be little higher. However, it is going to provide you with all the basic features of a conventional ERP system without the high costs and without compromising on the required functionality. All the contemporary ERP packages include several other features that make them attractive to many companies.
There’s another option available to organizations if they want to save money and yet can receive all the necessary characteristics of ERP software. In this case, they can opt to use Windows servers for ERP hosted or system software from third-party sellers. This will enable them to use their current network infrastructure for accessing the ERP software with no excess expenditure.
Even if you’re planning to buy ERP software from third-party vendors, you need to make certain that the cost of implementation is minimal. This is one aspect where many companies get into trouble. When they purchase the software, they believe it will be installed in their entire infrastructure without any additional costs. In fact, many companies find out to their cost disadvantage later when they have to spend a lot on ERP hardware, software, and other maintenance costs. So, before buying any software from vendors, be sure you don’t fall into this trap.
Enterprise resource planning software is an essential component of any business today. If your company is still running without one, now’s the right time to equip yourself with one. As a business person, you need to weigh the benefits that have an ERP system against the expense of implementation. If you think the total cost of implementing an ERP is lower than the cost of buying the software, you should definitely buy one for your organization.