By Keith Fenner, VP Sage Enterprise Africa and VP Sage Middle East.
Today’s business management solutions are powerful, adaptable and quick to pay for themselves—they represent a quantum leap over the rigid ERP systems of the past with their long implementation cycles and even longer times to achieve return on investment.
Here are a few ways that we have seen the market evolve over the past five years.
1. Implementation cycles are much shorter
An ERP installation for a medium sized or large enterprise could take up to a year to complete in the past, and it could take six months or longer to install even the basic features such as financials. Today, you can get a cloud-based business management solution up-and-running in around a month to six weeks.
For example, our new deployment methodology, Fast Start, enables medium-sized enterprises to deploy a preconfigured Sage X3 solution with the financial and distribution modules in just 21 man days (six weeks total). It fast-tracks the deployment of a solid, integrated enterprise backbone and gives you the freedom to plug in modules for extra functionality later - as and when you need them.
2. The cloud reduces the upfront investment and ongoing operating costs
Many medium-sized businesses hesitated to embark on ERP projects because of the costs, many of them hidden. There’s the investment in hardware infrastructure and software licences, plus ongoing support and implementation costs. It’s simpler and more affordable with today’s solutions that charges you per-user, per month.
Solutions should also include consulting and implementation as well as all software upgrades over the lifecycle of the business management solution. Customers can benefit from a single, transparent price for the software, the infrastructure costs (it’s hosted in our cloud data centre), implementation and training.
3. Today’s business management solutions connect you to the digital world
Unlike the slow and rigid ERP of the past, today’s business management solutions support modern ways of working. They are made for an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data technologies.
At the same time, they still offer traditional ERP benefits such as integration of processes and systems across the enterprise, a single view of corporate data, and the ability to improve process discipline.
These systems deliver the clean, intuitive and mobile user experience today’s workforce demands, and also scale up to cater for massive data volumes.
4. Return on investment is provable and predictable
Organisations used to see the returns from ERP deployments as uncertain; in the best-case scenarios, they would expect it take to years rather than months to start reaping a return on investment. Not the case anymore – for example, a Forrester Consulting study this year revealed that a composite organisation of Sage X3 users achieved a 177% ROI, $1.7M from cost savings over three years and an expected payback period of only five months.
Many users of modern business management solutions, in our experience, achieve up to 60% revenue growth, increases in productivity in the region of 40%, and efficiency gains of around 60%. These gains come from automating processes, gaining real-time insight into business information and integrating business processes and data across the business.
5. Business management solutions are suitable even for smaller companies
ERP used to be for big companies and the larger end of the mid-sized business sector; now, there are business management solutions that scale from as few as eight users to thousands of users, enabling business builders of all sizes to reinvent and simplify business processes.