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.
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.