Why ERP integration can mean big insights for small business

As proud partners of FinancialForce, a leading customer-centric ERP solution, we’re often asked whether small businesses should even consider adopting an ERP system. Surely anything that starts with the word ‘enterprise’ means ‘not applicable for small business, right?’  But thanks to the growth of cloud software solutions such as Salesforce and FinancialForce, which are increasingly affordable and easy to use, ERP integration and associated solutions are opening up to businesses of all shapes and sizes, allowing them to benefit from the same levels of insight and all-round savviness as their bigger competitors.

ERP can help weed out inefficiencies, boost productivity, and generally help you make better business decisions.

Here are four reasons why all small businesses should be thinking about an ERP system of their own.

So what does ERP stand for?

Once you look beyond the off-putting initials, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a humdinger of an idea. Wikipedia defines it as: “The integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology.” Put more simply, it means using tech to get a clear view of what’s happening in your business at any given moment.

And you don’t have to be a German car-maker to realise how doing this can help you weed out inefficiencies, boost productivity, and generally help you make better decisions all the time.

1. Scale-Up Rapidly with ERP Solutions

Imagine your salespeople do so well that you’re struggling to keep up with the demand they’re creating. “Nice problem to have, isn’t it?” says Tim, Cognition24’s Managing Director. “But small businesses relying on manual processes to fulfil orders are likely to struggle with larger volumes when they get a sudden growth surge.

“ERP systems are good at reducing the impact of things like this. By automating certain time-consuming tasks, like entering data onto spreadsheets, it means your people can focus on higher-value activities while making sure none of your multiple balls in the air gets dropped.”

2. Faster Business Decisions

 ERP systems gather and deliver real-time data that can be applied to a range of business activities, such as marketing, accounting or general management. “But the most important thing,” says Tim, “is that they allow you to make the really big decisions quickly and with all the facts at your fingertips.

“For example, your system might help you to spot an issue that’s holding back performance or productivity. As soon as you do, you can react rapidly to solve it, in the full knowledge that you’re making a call based on accurate, up-to-date information – and then move on to the next challenge.”

3. ERP helps Regulatory Compliance

Constant changes in government legislation can be a big pain in the proverbial for small business owners, many of whom don’t have large teams of accountants or lawyers to help them keep up.

“Hands up who feels nervous when they hear someone say GDPR or GAAP?” asks Tim. “The good news is, an ERP system gives you a better handle on regulatory compliance, especially with the tricky stuff like data security and financial accounting. The software keeps everything in line while ensuring your data is accurate – and if you do hit a problem, you’ll be able to trace it back to the source.”

4. ERP Integration = streamlined systems

A well-installed ERP system will allow different information systems in your business to be streamlined into one. This means that anyone with permission can access and share relevant information in a few simple clicks, removing the need to export or re-submit data that could lead to mistakes.

“Thanks to this, you can drive greater transparency across the business, move people away from mundane data-crunching tasks, improve data accuracy and generally give your business productivity a shot in the arm,” says Tim. “And who wouldn’t want to do that?”

So, maybe it’s time to ditch your fear of the acronym and start thinking about ways your business would benefit from some of the above.

Talk to us about ERP Integration

Financial Force helps businesses rapidly translate demand into new revenue models, run more predictable business operations, and increase customer lifetime value. Unlike other ERP applications, FinancialForce extends the value of your Salesforce applications (e.g. CRM, CPQ, and Einstein) by seamlessly unifying sellers, professional services teams, and traditionally back-office professionals. Running your business with customers at the centre empowers you with highly actionable and holistic insights at every step of the customer lifecycle, ultimately driving business growth.  Contact Cognition24 to find out more or watch a demo here.