Cost Effective ERP Software - 5 Secrets to Stretching Your IT Budget
SAP Solutions for Small and Midsize EnterprisesCOST-EFFECTIVE ERP SOFTWAREFIVE SECRETS TO STRETCHINGYOUR IT BUDGETYou want to support a grow-ing business with valuablesoftware and IT support, butyou have limited budget andresources. Outdated appli-cations and countless inte-gration challenges leave youlittle time to provide the kindof strategic IT support thatcan help move the businessforward.How to do more with less?One approach is to “usetechnology rather than morestaff to get the job done,” atrend noted in a recent IDCexecutive brief.1 What youneed is an infrastructure thatruns the business – whetherthat means offering supportacross time zones or com-plying with new accountingregulations – while drivingprocess efficiencies.Finding a solution to fit your budgetrequires evaluating a range of deploy-ment options, including on premise, ondemand, on device, and hosted. Start-upcosts can range from a few hundreddollars per user per month for a sub-scription to a few thousand dollars toimplement a basic business intelligence(BI) solution. Growing in popularity areoutsourced on-demand solutions. Youpay a monthly fee that includes softwareapplication use, hardware infrastructure,database, backup and security, support,and updates. For software as a service(SaaS), the vendor handles manage-ment, monitoring, and maintenance ofhardware, database, and software infra-structure – so be sure to check each po-tential vendor’s reputation and reliability.According to IDC, “SaaS can providelower-cost, efficient choices for building,testing, and deploying certain applica-tions and software services, and itoffers new go-to-market choices overtraditional managed services.”2Finally, ask each vendor for an up-frontprice for solution plus implementation –or ask about a package that includessoftware, hardware, and services. Thiseliminates surprises and ensures thatyou stay within budget.You need a flexible solution that canadapt and scale as your business grows,even without additional IT staff or re-sources to support it. And you need thisworld-class enterprise resource planning(ERP) software within your budget andtime horizon. In short, you need an af-fordable and flexible ERP solution thatcan be implemented quickly, adoptedrapidly, and maintained easily.Working with a tight IT budget? No needto despair. Get in on these five secretsand get the most for your IT spend.Secret #1: Consider Your Options,Then Get a Price Up FrontWhat will it cost to implement the enter-prise resource planning (ERP) solutionyour business needs to stay competi-tive? It shouldn’t be a secret. To get anaccurate estimate – and find an afford-able solution that fits your budget –you must understand all project compo-nents, including not only the solutionitself but also its implementation. A typi-cal software implementation includescosts related to licensing or subscriptionfees, implementation, testing, and train-ing. In addition to evaluating the up-frontoutlay, look for a solution that minimizesongoing maintenance, administrative,and IT support expenses. An affordableERP solution is one that can be main-tained without an extensive infrastructureor expensive IT resources.1. IDC Executive Brief, Three Truths to Guide SMBs Toward Capitalizing on the Economic Turnaround, June 2010.2. Robert Mahowald, IDC Analyst Connection, Software as a Service: A Cheaper, Faster Way to Access Applications, December 2009.
maximum productivity and performance.A single solution also reduces the needfor challenging system integration workand provides a platform for standardiza-tion, so you can review business pro-cesses across the company, identifyingand prioritizing opportunities to cutwaste, redundancy, and costs. Withbuilt-in business analytics and best prac-tices, you can improve your ability tosupport the business. Intuitive, easy-to-use dashboards and reporting help youremployees present data in new waysfor deeper insight and maximumproductivity.Secret #5: Take Advantage ofTraining OpportunitiesAnother secret for getting the most fromyour IT spend is to take advantage ofavailable training to get your employeesup and running quickly on any new soft-ware. Often overlooked and underval-ued, training is critical for reducing thetime to value of your investment.According to a report by MichaelDoane, a leading expert on enterprisesoftware and training, “On average,clients invest only 4% to 5% of theirimplementation budget on training, ofwhich about 50% is dedicated to theend users and the rest go to the internalproject team and executive awareness.Worse, since end user training is thepenultimate step before Go-Live, astage when both budgets and schedulesare stretched thin, many clients cheapout and provide foreshortened initialtraining.”4mon as they are frightening. An imple-mentation that drags on effectively elimi-nates any chance at rapid time to value.In reality, you can implement a sophisti-cated ERP solution in as little as a fewweeks, depending on your require-ments. Look for a vendor that usesbest-practice methodologies to savetime and streamline implementations.Choose a solution that can be imple-mented within a manageable time frame– 12, 8, or 4 weeks. You want a solutionthat gets you up and running quickly,providing the valuable insights neededto realize your growth and profitabilitygoals.Secret #4: Document andDrive EfficienciesHistorically, one of the primary roles ofIT has been a driver of cost efficiency –within IT and across the business.Through IT automation, standardization,and process efficiencies, you can re-duce costs while improving productivity.For your employees, automated routinebusiness processes save time and freeresources for higher-value projects. ForIT, standardization means you spendless time on system maintenance andmore time implementing innovativefunctionality. But if your company hasdisparate systems running differentparts of your operations, you may bespending too much time troubleshootingand maintaining integration points – andnot enough looking for opportunities toreduce costs and improve productivity.A single, integrated solution simplifiesyour IT infrastructure and makes iteasier to align business functions forSecret #2: Pay Only for WhatYou UseAnother way to stay within a tight bud-get is to start small, limiting your initialinvestment, then adding functionality asyour business expands. For this pay-as-you-grow strategy, you need a solutionflexible enough to expand as you grow –highly configurable and comprehensivesoftware that adapts quickly to yourbusiness, without the need to buy orintegrate additional software. For exam-ple, you might need a solution that cansupport International Financial ReportingStandards (IFRS) and U.S. GAAP simul-taneously yet also support additionalcurrencies and languages as you enternew geographic markets. Or you mighthave pressing customer relationshipmanagement (CRM) issues that requireyou to implement ERP with CRM func-tionality; later you may want to add BI.Look for a solution with modular design,which makes it easier to start small,focusing on your most pressing needs,then adding users and functionality asyou go. IDC research confirms thisbenefit for on-demand solutions: “Forsmaller organizations, SaaS is particu-larly appealing because it allows cus-tomers to pay for what they use anddeploy applications quickly with less in-house staff and fewer related costs.”3Secret #3: Implement QuicklyIt’s no secret that the longer the imple-mentation, the more it will cost. Youcan’t afford a lengthy or expensive ERPimplementation. Stories of multiyearsoftware implementations that explodeboth budgets and timelines are as com-3. Ibid.4. Michael Doane, Your Users Are Stumbling and Your Business Is Suffering: How cutting SAP Training could make bad times worse, June 2010.2
does that mean for you? Better use of ITresources, increased solution flexibility,and rapid implementation. In short,better software, better support, and farless stress.From licensing agreements to monthlysubscription plans, SAP has a solutionto fit your budget, timeline, and objec-tives. Use one of the following afford-able SAP solutions for small businessesand midsize companies to solve impor-tant problems today – and position IT tosupport your company’s future:• The SAP® Business One applicationgives you software for key businessactivities, eliminating the complexityand expense of integrating multiplesolutions. It can be deployed quicklyand requires minimal maintenance.• The SAP Business ByDesign™ solu-tion is delivered on demand, givingyou powerful SAP software withoutthe need for a costly IT infrastructureand staff – all for a low monthly fee.• SAP Business All-in-One solutionsgive you sophisticated applicationsand state-of-the-art technology thatcan be adapted easily to fit changingbusiness needs. The SAP BusinessAll-in-One fast-start program simplifiesevaluation and implementation forquicker time to value and lower totalcost of ownership.• SAP BusinessObjects™ Edge BI soft-ware is a comprehensive BI solutionspecifically packaged and priced formidsize companies.For more information about SAP solu-tions for small businesses and midsizecompanies, visit www.sap.com/sme.Get the Best ERP Software WithinYour BudgetYou want world-class ERP software thatis affordable, flexible, and quick to imple-ment and adopt while driving further ITefficiencies. SAP offers a range of ERPsolutions for small businesses and mid-size companies, allowing you to spendless money and IT effort on implement-ing and managing solutions.Each complete and integrated SAPsolution comes with the functionalityyou need to run your business. WhatTo maximize your return, leverage thecombination of course offerings, con-text, and delivery options that meetsyour budget, enables readiness, andhelps your organization move from vi-sion to realization through applicationproficiency.Whether you need standard project-team training, customized courses, orcertification, you need a vendor thatoffers a comprehensive portfolio of ap-plications and technical training as wellas education services designed to trainyour employees rapidly and efficiently.SAP offers a range of ERP solutions for small busi-nesses and midsize companies, allowing you tospend less money and IT effort on implementing andmanaging solutions. Each complete and integratedSAP solution comes with the functionality you needto run your business.3