ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning has gained popularity all over the world and ERP systems are the backbone of any modern organisation. But ERP systems aren’t solely restricted to large organizations and they are also used within the small businesses. Small scale industries, in accordance with the definition, have less than ten million employees and they require ERP systems that can manage the small volume of business. In other words ERP doesn’t have to be confined to big and reputed businesses only.
In Malaysia, too, many small scale industries have ERP systems. They’ve developed their own ERP system and although there are many similarities and differences between these two systems, there are also some significant differences. The government of Malaysia has taken plenty of time in deciding the future course of organisation charting and it’s because of this same reason that the government is trying to develop its own ERP system. There are two 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 big 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 forth. Many experts feel that if ERP software is to be employed by the tiny businesses, then it would be better to use open source ERP software that has many benefits like multi-tenancy, open development environment, higher scalability, minimal cost, access to new extensions and so forth. However, the consumers of such open source ERP applications has to be certain about the licensing agreement, they can’t just run the system without any approval or other legal responsibility. Despite the fact that there are many 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 employing a telecommuting staff who will act as an intermediary between the organization and the ERP software. In this manner, many benefits are obtained by the business concerning cost saving, decrease in travel and time, productivity improvement, availability of latest software upgrades etc.. However, you can’t afford to hire such employees whose charges will be three times more than the cost 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 businesses have made their web portals in an attempt to enhance the online image of the company. In cases like this, the system has to be obtained from remote locations and may be operated from either a laptop or mobile device. Such systems need a whole lot of customization and so the cost will be bit higher. However, it will supply you with the basic features of a traditional ERP system without the high costs and without compromising on the essential functionality. All the modern ERP packages come with several other features which make them attractive to many companies.
There is another option available to organizations if they would like to save money and yet can get all the necessary features of ERP software. In this case, they can opt to use Windows servers for ERP system or hosted software from third party sellers. This will enable them to use their existing network infrastructure for accessing the ERP software without any extra expenditure.
Even if you’re planning to buy ERP software from third party vendors, you should make certain that the expense of implementation is minimal. This is one aspect where many companies get into trouble. When they buy the software, they believe that it will be installed in their entire infrastructure with no additional costs. In fact, many companies find out to their cost disadvantage later when they need to spend a lot on ERP hardware, software and other maintenance expenses. So, before buying any software from vendors, make certain you don’t fall into this trap.
Enterprise resource planning software is an integral part of any company today. If your organization is still running without one, now is 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 cost 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.