A Fresh Look At ERP Brings New Growth To Small And Midsize Businesses

Michael Schmitt

Life for small and midsize companies can be so busy, overwhelming, and stressful that they need the best and most-reliable allies to support the business each day. From the employees you depend on to the suppliers and partners you trust, everything and everyone must act and operate with considerable efficiency.

Growing companies are not willing to risk the potential disruptions that can come with implementing new technology. But as the business grows, it’s impossible to justify business management software that provides only basic functionality when the company is missing out on opportunities, experiencing unexpected disruptive events, and losing customer loyalty.

In an analyst connection interview, IDC’s Ray Boggs, vice president of Small and Midsize Business Research, and Mickey North Rizza, vice president of ERP and Digital Commerce Research, recently agreed, “the stress posed by the increasing pace of change in the competitive environment is encouraging firms to rethink their use of management and reporting resources. And the same holds for business growth as firms move to the next level of size, complexity, and performance obligations.”

Is your business system supporting or constraining your growth?

For many small and midsize businesses, expansion is a goal that promises long-term prosperity and brand loyalty. But at the same time, the further the company branches out to reach new markets and regions, the more complex and risk-prone operations become.

A business is only as efficient as the technology used to manage it. Large volumes of data must be processed quickly. Specific reporting is required to comply with industry or regional regulations. And to get a better view of performance, opportunities, and risk, all information and processes must be unified into one core system.

With a digital strategy built on an intelligent cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, small and midsize businesses create sustainable growth by tying processes, data, systems, and employees together end to end. Real-time insight and smarter employee-centric and customer-centric practices are injected into every aspect of the company. And flexible deployment of new digital interfaces and relentless improvement of business systems become significant competitive advantages.

Such a pervasive ERP backbone helps growing companies overcome common challenges – from the rising cost of IT and the need for tighter security controls to demand for the latest technologies – by enabling seven fundamental capabilities:

  1. Accelerated information processing across the entire business network
  1. Increased automation to reduce process bottlenecks and eliminate manual input and approvals
  1. Improved task prioritization based on value creation and need for exception handling
  1. Lowered complexity by providing complete, contextual information
  1. Smarter, quicker collaboration that fosters productive and intelligent cooperation
  1. Business and operational optimization based on process flexibility, real-time analytics, and full-scale visibility
  1. Innovative processes that adapt to how people work and engage with each other

Invest in an ERP built for now and for years to come

Implementing or upgrading an ERP system may seem daunting. But running a business without a strong foundation for growth can significantly hamper the performance of existing and new operations.

New market forces are creating pressure for greater speed, effectiveness, and response to change. Customers expect higher levels of service, customization, and insight. And more importantly, small and midsize companies need to understand trends as they emerge and take advantage or mitigate them before the competition. Technology that cannot deliver these capabilities can profoundly restrict the ability to address the needs of customers with new business models, products, and services, which can vary regionally and culturally.

Whether your business is becoming an integrated global company or a more distributed organization with regional subsidiaries, a digital core enabled by an intelligent, cloud-based ERP platform should be a vital part of your growth strategy. You will not only establish processes and operations faster and easier in new locations, but also gain the real-time visibility and decision-making power to consistently guide the business in the right direction.

Find out the answers to five common questions that small and midsize companies ask about ERP systems. Read the IDC analyst connection brief, “Small and Midsize Businesses Put ERP at the Center of Digital Transformation Strategies,” featuring IDC’s Ray Boggs, vice president of Small and Midsize Business Research, and Mickey North Rizza, vice president of ERP and Digital Commerce Research.


About Michael Schmitt

Dr. Michael Schmitt is the global leader of SAP Business ByDesign and responsible for the definition and execution of the overall ByDesign strategy aligned with the SAP Cloud and SME strategy. SAP Business ByDesign is SAP’s upper midmarket cloud suite solution and an essential part of SAPs entire cloud business. The orchestration of the different cross board area teams involved in SAP Business ByDesign – this includes sales, pre-sales, customer care, marketing, partner ecosystem, professional services as well as development, operations and support - is also within his area of responsibility.