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Big company ERP versus SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) ERP

By Joseph Timmins

 

A popular misconception about ERPs is that they are only for huge corporations.  After all, the word “Enterprise” implies such and connotes a Fortune 500 image. But ERPs are really about getting control of your business.  And, don’t all businesses need control? 

ERP systems – like SAP Business One – are increasingly being deployed in the SME space.  And, often with high success! Consolidating data and having robust business process will benefit every company, no matter the size.  So in well run SME companies, accountants execute transactions, executives review reports, analysts monitor costs and revenue and owners gauge the performance of their business.  All in their ERP’s. So you might not be too small for an ERP system. But, deploying an ERP will be different in contrast to a large ERP project.  In this blog, we review some of those differences.

Huge Consulting firm vs. Local Value Added Reseller

In big companies – internal implementation teams and large consulting partners (like Accenture or PWC) are often used.  Many of the project participants are full time and often are specialists.  Many of the sites are multi-national.  For SME’s, the same need for a well-run project is there, but the approach is different.  VARs (Value Added Resellers) are typically involved.  Often VARs are local, know the software and understand what it takes to deploy it.  VARs typically work in much more personal, smaller teams.  VARs understand how to deploy and how to properly involve your team. A good VAR is teaching you to fish – with the best outcome being your self-sufficiency and ownership of the new ERP.  In choosing a VAR you must not only consider their overall experience, but how well they understand your business and your people….  People, who play multiple roles and are only able to commit part of their time (versus 100%) to executing the project. 

With help of your VAR, your team will focus on the following to deploy your new ERP:

  • Project Preparation – Understand objectives of the project and how it will be executed
  • Business Blueprint – Look at critical business processes and how those will work in the new ERP 
  • Project Realization – Convert required data, train and enable users
  • Final Preparation – Plan to ensure cutover to new ERP is ready
  • Go Live – Move to new ERP and manage

The truth is plain: smaller companies, less employees who wear multiple hats. With limited resources and time, this means that the implementation has to work for you.   You should rely on a VAR who is familiar with such an environment and has proven they can deliver. Make sure the approach is not too rigid and not adaptable. With smaller teams there’s frequently a need to be flexible and take things at a pace that works best for the customer. Make sure that your ERP system has flexibility and enables you to make changes.  You’ll need this to best fit your operations during the initial ERP deployment, but also as you grow.  And make sure your VAR is giving you options that work well for your business and your people.   Your VAR is someone you’ll want for marathon, not the sprint.

If you are a small to medium business and you are ready to consider an ERP, connect with us today. 

 

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