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Standalone business software vs ERP

Single Integrated Business Management Solution vs Dedicated Standalone Software

There are hundreds of different types of business management software applications on the market, and it can be difficult to determine which is right for your particular business. These software programs can be divided into two main categories: 1) dedicated standalone software (software with a single purpose like accounting or CRM etc.); and 2) single integrated business management software (aka ERP software, which integrates all of, or the majority of, the functions covered by various standalone software solutions).

Here we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option and how they can be applied to your business.

Standalone business software vs ERP

The struggle of multiple standalone software packages. Image Credit

Dedicated Standalone Software

Dedicated standalone software applications are those that are designed to address a specific single aspect of business operations, such as accounting, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM) etc. Each application is dedicated to just one area of your business, so it delivers focused, highly detailed reports about that segment. A variety of specific functions allow you to manipulate the data as needed to obtain the information you are looking for. Because these programs focus on a specific department, it is easy to find the data you need without having to sift through information from other areas or struggle with reports that don’t tell you exactly what you need to know. Standalone software often offers more in depth reporting capabilities and advanced functions than you would find in an integrated ERP solution.

However, standalone software programs do have their drawbacks. They are designed to be used on their own and often do not integrate well with other standalone software products. This can make it difficult to compare and correlate data across different departments (for example comparing invoicing to accounts paid, or checking the status of orders against client communication in the CRM), as you may need to export data to another software program or to Excel to manipulate and align data from various sources yourself. Not only is this time consuming but it also leaves a wide-open gap for human error.

Single Business Management Solutions

With a single business management solution, the data for all of the departments within your business is all stored in one program. The different integrated aspects, add-ons and plugins of the program are all designed to work together seamlessly, so it is easy to generate reports and comparisons that encompass the entire workings of your organisation. The data in the reports is automatically generated in a way that is easy to understand and gives a full overview of the state of the business at a particular point in time or over a specified time period. Employees from various departments can access information from other departments without the need for complicated conversions and data manipulation.

The main drawback of using a single business management solution is that the reporting and functionality in each area of the software does not go into as much detail as with a standalone software program. However, it’s equally important to note that the functions and reporting features offered in integrated software generally tend to be satisfactory to meet the day-to-day needs of the majority of businesses, and those advanced functions found in standalone software would likely go unused for most if not all of the year.

Which is better? The verdict is…

For a business with a heavy focus on a specific area, like sales or finance, a dedicated standalone software application will provide the detail necessary for that specific department. On the other hand, a business with a more general outlook will appreciate the simplicity and ease of use that a single business management solution provides. The majority of businesses fall into this second category, so single business management solutions offer them the functions and reports they need without weighing them down with too many extraneous functions.

At Horizon Business Systems we offer MYOB Exo and MYOB Advanced software, which is one of the leading integrated business management solutions used by Australian companies. MYOB can incorporate many functions, including finance, payroll, customer relationship management, point of sale, job costing and many others. We can also custom develop additional add-ons for MYOB Exo to integrate any other departments or functions required by your business that are not covered in the current software range. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

The “Goldilocks” principle: Which ERP size is right for your business?

goldilocks

We know that growing companies need business management software that can be adapted to the way you do business, rather than the other way around.   So keep in mind Goldilocks and the three bears product offerings as ERP’s can simply be viewed as too hot (big), too cold (small)… and look for one that’s “just right” for you!

Don’t always think that the biggest (and most expensive) will always be the best for you.  As a growing business, you need to make every dollar in the investment in your ERP system count.  Often the large-scale ERP’s are an over-investment in the time, money and needs of your business and an under-investment in the system’s flexibility to actually fit your business.

Many large-scale ERP software solutions discourage or refuse to alter programming to allow customisation to fit your business, so you could find that your very expensive solution does not work with how your company actually does business.  It’s also worth noting that large scale ERP’s are not as quick to adapt to new technologies (think mobile/social trends) as mid sized versions.  This is simply because large corporations/government entities that use the “big system ERPs” are rarely the type to be at the forefront of changing technologies as their own internal processes are more regimented.

However it IS well worth obtaining your ERP product from an established organisation so that you can be assured that the product will continue to be developed and supported, or that the company won’t just one day ‘disappear’ into a puff of smoke (or cloud!).

So are we back to basic software then?  Well, no – you are most likely reading this as you’ve reached the end of the capabilities of a smaller ‘off the shelf’ version which have not been designed to fit the needs of a growing company or provide for the complexities of mid to large sized enterprises.  You would also be aware that customisation of smaller products is not worth the investment as there will still be gaps in the product’s capabilities and reporting.

Therefore, what is the solution if:

  • You want to work with a trusted and established ERP system provider
  • Out-of-the-box systems don’t fit in with your business processes
  • Customisation is too expensive

Your solution:  MYOB EXO addresses all of these issues

As an ERP software solution, MYOB EXO offers the security of a well known software provider that is a world leader with continued product development and an established network of implementation and support through it’s partners.  However, as a mid to large sized product offering, MYOB EXO is still flexible enough to adapt to new market trends (mobile / social etc) and is customisable to suit individual business processes and needs.

MYOB EXO the perfect solution.

  • MYOB EXO has the been developed by MYOB – a long established world leader player in the ERP market
  • MYOB EXO has an established network of highly accredited, locally based partners for implementation, training and ongoing support.  A must if you would prefer your staff to be working rather than constantly searching for ‘help desk’ answers to system issues in online forums!
  • EXO is highly customisable and integrates to almost any business set up or processes.  From manufacturing to retail, mining to service-based; EXO is a proven management tool across every industry.
  • Customisation is possible and can be deployed in weeks.  Partners, such as Western Australia’s Horizon Business Systems, have an inhouse Development Division for development and customisation to individual business processes or existing systems – so if you can imagine it (and they have yet to build it), it can be developed for you!
  • It costs a fraction of other big name ERP systems like SAP / Oracle but offers high level management functionality with a higher degree of flexibility.

One of the best parts about MYOB EXO is that you can add functionality with plug-ins as your business changes and grows. Each module within the software has a different task – whether it’s payroll, invoicing, tracking customer relationships, managing stock levels, etc.  The software is modulative so you only pay for what you need.

For more information and to see MYOB EXO in action, contact Horizon Business Systems today.

5 Reasons you NEED to invest in a Business Management System

investquoteWhen a business is just starting out, using several different programs to manage business function isn’t a big deal. As a business expands, however, the costs to both time and efficiency can begin to add up. Effective business management software helps businesses address their scaling growth and operations by keeping things simple.

Let’s look at 5 ways companies can benefit from an investment in a business management system.

1. Simplicity keeps things moving smoothly

With a modern, high quality business management system, companies are able to access everything they need to know about their business easily and efficiently. With just a few clicks, they’re able to easily navigate from one screen to another, moving from accounting to CRM with ease, and more importantly, integrating these processes (more on this to come!).

2. Keeping costs down is just good business

When you’re new to the business world, you can often find free cloud-based programs that will meet your needs. As your business expands, however, finding an all-inclusive (and free) solution becomes considerably more difficult. Many programs are free up to a point, but then require you to pay if you’re invoicing, selling or generating more than a certain number of reports. Each individual piece of software may be reasonable, but paying for them all together can be much more expensive than one comprehensive solution.

3. Better integrated software = more efficient employees

And of course, to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to count costs not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of personnel hours spent on any project. If having multiple pieces of software causes your employees to take longer to complete tasks, then you start to lose productivity dollars. This can become especially problematic when information must be transferred from one program to another, taking up valuable staffing time (and costing you even more).

4. Avoiding errors is always better than catching them after the fact

Every time you take information from one platform to another, you introduce the possibility of errors. You either have to tolerate those errors or you have to spend even more labour on checking for them. With a comprehensive business management solution, you put in information once; the software does the rest. For many businesses, this type of automation and simplicity greatly reduces the chance for errors.

5. Accessibility rules in business management systems

The best business management systems allow you to access them anywhere. Harnessing the power of the cloud, 21st century business management platforms make sure that executives and salespeople alike have access to the parts of the system they need — no matter where they are. At the same time, great systems let your IT team make sure that no one has access to more than they need, matching access to responsibilities and confirming that information stays as secure as needed.

Finding the Right Business Management Solution

There are a variety of great business management systems on the market, including MYOB EXO. The system comes with a variety of modules that meet the needs of most businesses as they scale from single person companies into larger businesses. In the end, the best business management systems also allow for simplified customisation at their core.

When a company invests in a cohesive business management system, they gain the ability to see a complete picture of their operation. They can see which factors, internal and external, are affecting the business and changing how the business operates within the marketplace.

When you have a clear picture of your business’s overall functionality, you can make the necessary adjustments to keep things operating smoothly. This type of simplified management improves productivity, helps to contain costs, and keeps your day-to-day operations as simple as possible. When you are using half a dozen different programs to manage your enterprise needs, getting that holistic picture is virtually impossible.

Choose a business management system that lets you get that complete picture. That way, your business planning and marketing development can be on-point and useful as you move forward.

Would you like any more information?  Contact Horizon to see how we can help your business achieve!

Which ERP solution is right for you? Cloud or Onsite?

Selecting the right ERP system for your business does not have to be a complicated process, but you should consider the pros and cons of each option for your business – onsite or cloud-based? There is rarely only one solution for every business, and it does help to discuss the specifics of your situation and your goals with a professional ERP specialist (for current clients, or if you’re a new customer email sales@horizonbiz.com.au).

cloudvsserver

A cloud-based ERP system can only be accessed online, and requires little maintenance – which is usually included in your monthly cost but its efficiency is dependant on the speed and costs of your company’s internet provider. An onsite ERP is one that your business hosts on a server on the premises, and maintenance is up to you and your IT team.

When you’re choosing between an onsite ERP or a cloud-based one, there are several factors you’ll need to keep in mind. Remember that the right system for you will work with your business as it grows.

  • Consider the cost of each option. Cloud based options are considerably cheaper upfront than onsite ERP’s but are ongoing.
  • Consider the reputation and plans for development of the software provider. Do you know of and trust the company name?
  • Consider installation and support – is this local (ie; can people come to you to help your team with updates, configuration and training) or is this only provided online/overseas/interstate?
  • Remember that you’ll need to update and upgrade your software
  • Consider the system you already use, how your staff use this and what would work best with it
  • Consider the size of your business and how it could grow
  • Have a plan for natural disasters
  • Consider the start-up costs and necessary work
  • Consider the speed and accessibility you’re looking for

COST OF ONSITE ERP VS. COST OF CLOUD BASED ERP

Generally, for an onsite ERP, you’ll have a high investment cost in addition to maintenance and upgrade costs, while a cloud based ERP requires a monthly subscription based on a package that you choose. However, you will need be dependant on factors such as internet speed for repetitive processes. For example, inputting invoices.

With an onsite ERP, you are responsible for the cost of the server and hardware, maintenance, the software, IT personnel to maintain both hardware and software, and more. However, this investment does become more cost effective in time with most large systems paying for themselves within a two to three year period. Also, the speed of your server will, for the foreseeable future, outpace your internet processing speed. This is particularly important if the majority of your business accounting activities take place onsite. You will also need to consider what other software applications you use in your day-to-day business. It is easier to ‘bolt on’ products to an onsite ERP system plus if you use other industry specific software (for example CAD) that needs a server anyway, the costs of maintaining a server will still exist.

If you choose a cloud based ERP, your regular ongoing costs may be higher, but the monthly subscription rate will include the cost of maintenance, hardware, software, and whatever the plan you choose includes. One of the major benefits of Cloud is the access to information from anywhere – great for your on the road Sales Team, work from home staff or Directors.

REGULAR UPGRADES AND UPDATES

When you host an onsite ERP, you are responsible for your own maintenance, including having an IT team to update software, install new hardware, and ensure that the settings are appropriate for your business. Both onsite and Cloud systems will need access to a dedicated team that understands how to configure the system to your needs.

As part of your monthly subscription for a cloud based ERP, upgrades and software updates should be taken care of for you. Your service provider should ensure that your business always has the newest version, and that the settings are customised to your business needs.

New versions for onsite ERP systems may require assistance by Support or a consultant – which is great if you have access to a local team.

All updates (think of Apple!) tend to come with fixes and potentially their own issues. This is less of an issue when an onsite ERP where versions can be ‘tweaked’ without having to wait for an online fix/update.

SPEED AND AVAILABILITY

As part of their service, cloud based ERP systems are usually as fast as your plan provides, and they are made available at all possible times. Generally, this should include a backup plan included for natural disasters, updates and upgrades, and any downtown will be scheduled at a natural low traffic time.

Maintaining your own onsite ERP system means that your own IT personnel will manage speed and availability of your system. In order to fully protect against natural disasters, you will likely need two separate servers with matching data in two different locations. As your hardware gets older, upgrades will be necessary to maintain the speed you want.

CONSIDER WHAT FITS YOUR BUSINESS

Whether you choose to host your own ERP or use a cloud based one may depend on the system you are already using. For example, if you don’t have a server, or a place to house one, a cloud based ERP might be more feasible. Do you have the IT team to maintain an onsite ERP? Choosing a cloud based one may make their jobs unnecessary.

Consider each of the items in this list based on the current size of your business, and the rate at which you’re growing. The investment required to house your own ERP system may or may not be worth it, depending on your business.

How to successfully implement a change of Accounting Systems

Your accounting system effectively documents all the activity in your business and provides critical information to make good business decisions. If you’ve outgrown your accounting system and you’re moving to a new and improved model (like MYOB Exo!), it’s absolutely necessary that the transition is as seamless as possible so no information falls through the cracks.

To successfully transition to a new accounting system, you need to consider these factors:

CHANGE MANAGEMENT

A smooth transition starts with preparing your staff for change and guiding them through the process. First, communicate why your firm is moving to a new accounting software system. While the transition might require a lot of work on behalf of some key staff members, explain that your business will benefit from the new system in the long run.

Once you’ve explained why you’re making the transition, train your staff to implement the change. Schedule some time and verify that your current accounting procedures are documented. Work with your software provider to create a plan of conversion. Ensure that all stakeholders (accounting and finance staff, operations, senior management and even sales if your accounting system is linked to your inventory or job costing functions) are involved in planning the conversion.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS

Your company has processes that are unique to its particular industry. A retailer, for example, accounts for inventory. On the other hand, a manufacturer must account for raw materials and work in progress. You need to consider your unique business processes and how they link to your accounting structure in order to implement a smooth software conversion.

TEST YOUR NEW SYSTEM

Ideally you should have a transition period in order to test the new system is tracking data in the same way as the old system and avoid missing anything out. Run a set of transactions concurrently through your current and new system and review the results to ensure they are accurate.

Consider a denim jeans manufacturer for example. They decide to run transactions through their new system, at the same time, they process data through their existing (live) system. If their new software is operating properly, they should get the same accounting results as their current system produces. In this case, that means that the same dollar amount of denim is moved into production using both accounting systems. Both programs also post the same number of units, the same sales intake, same profit figure etc.

A FINAL SET OF TRANSACTIONS

Before you implement your new system, generate a set of adjusted financial statements at the end of a particular period. That “clean” set of financials will be your starting point for a new system. At the end of October, for example, you print a trial balance and post your accounting adjustments. Once you’re satisfied with your adjusted trial balance, you generate October financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, etc.).

GOING LIVE

Say you decide to go live with your new accounting software on November 1st. You’ve communicated the November conversion data to your staff. Each person in the organisation has provided his or her input on the implementation process. Your staff has a new operations manual and has trained on the new software.

At various points after software implementation, you analyse the results that are generated by the new software. You use your October 31st accounting data to ensure that November accounting activity is posted correctly.

These tips can help you have a smooth transition to your new accounting system.

WORK WITH AN EXPERT

Consider working with an accounting software expert to help you with the implementation process. We are available to talk through your particular situation with you and provide advice to help make your software switchover seamless. Contact us at (08) 9328 1678 or via our contact form and we’ll get in touch!

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