As digital transformation gathers pace, and cheaper and easy to deploy cloud solutions hit the market, having a dedicated end-to-end solution for business management not only becomes more feasible, but a necessity to stay competitive. Chris Nichols, Microsoft Dynamics Consultant at Columbus UK, explains the features SMBs should look for in an effective business management solution.
Why would SMBs look to change their current business management systems?
Many SMBs simply outgrow their existing system. They are either too inflexible to scale in line with business growth, or incapable of supporting an increasing number of users. A solution that can onboard additional users without incurring major expenses and scale to handle larger volumes of data becomes a ‘must-have’.
Software vendors see the opportunity for SMBs to level the field
Many software vendors are beginning to tailor their ERP solutions specifically to fit the needs of SMBs. One of the most recent examples on the market is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, which introduces more advanced functionalities focused on unlocking greater insights and minimising deployment costs for these smaller businesses.
SMBs can now embed Business Intelligence
By directly embedding BI tools such as Power BI into CRM, sales and marketing systems, these decisions can be made in real-time. There’s no more time-consuming spreadsheet analysis to identify patterns and trends. In the case of Power BI, users can harness pre-set Microsoft reports that provide visualisations of datasets and specific insights – or create their own.
IoT is no longer far-fetched for SMBs
Take a typical SMB manufacturer as an example. By fitting IoT devices to machinery on the factory floor, employees can monitor equipment conditions, up-time and operational efficiency. Then by feeding these data streams into a BI suite such as Cortana Intelligence, this data can be analysed to identify areas of inefficiency, predict when machinery is likely to break down and schedule maintenance accordingly.
Eliminate growing pains at the click of a button
Scalability is one factor that simply cannot be ignored for SMBs. To this end, subscription-based models are a popular deployment choice. By simply allowing new users to be added and removed at the ‘click of a button’ and assigned varying levels of membership, there is no risk of overspending on licenses.
Step into the cloud
Cloud hosted business management solutions take the need to deploy, manage and adapt infrastructure away from SMBs, allowing them to focus on day-to-day operations and serving their customers. The burden lies with the host to ensure over 99 percent uptime for operations. Cloud based delivery also expedites deployment, minimising the risk of disruption to ongoing business operations.
Limited budget should not limit SMB potential
For SMBs on limited budgets but with the desire to embrace digital transformation, a subscription-based business management solution delivered from the cloud offers a no-risk approach to transitioning away from spreadsheets and disjointed financial systems.
The time is now
To keep pace with digital transformation and maintain that competitive edge, businesses should be looking to avoid multiple systems that each address a specific business area. That means working with an implementation partner that helps tailor the chosen end-to-end solution to meet specific business needs, mapping business processes and workflows. The right deployment will give small and medium-sized businesses the platform they need to exploit disruptive technologies, avoid business disruption, compete, grow and succeed.