Trying to determine whether or not an ERP system solution is right for your small business can pose quite a challenge. But, if your business is overwhelmed with managing multiple departments and processes with different applications, it may be time to consider an ERP solution. One such option for businesses looking to implement an ERP strategy is a cloud-based solution.

To understand how a cloud ERP system can assist your business in managing its workflow and various processes, and which cloud-based solution is the best ERP system for small businesses such as your own, here are some factors to consider.

But first, what exactly is a cloud ERP system?

Before investing in a cloud ERP system, it’s important to address exactly what a cloud ERP system is.

A cloud-based solution, cloud ERP systems enable businesses to access software applications through shared computing resources. Essentially a Software as a Service (SaaS), a cloud ERP system allows businesses to access software through the Internet. Cloud ERP systems are a particularly good fit for small to mid-size businesses as the associated data is managed by the ERP vendor through the Internet “cloud.”

The initial costs are typically much lower with a cloud-based ERP solution than an on-premise solution as the software is hosted and maintained by the ERP provider.

Carefully define your list of requirements

When small businesses finally decide to implement a cloud ERP system for their firm, too often, they select an ERP solution based on arbitrary factors such as price, current technology trends, or flashy customization options. This often results in a business left with an expensive and bolted together solution that may not be suitable for their exact needs, industry or business requirements.

Instead, businesses should begin by collating and carefully defining the scope in which ERP software will assist their business needs. Carefully defining specific business processes enables your small business to determine the right ERP system solution that matches industry-specific requirements complete with the right tools and features to help scale your business.

Impact of a cloud ERP system

Just as vital as carefully defining the scope of your project is addressing exactly how your business will be impacted by implementing a cloud ERP solution. Introducing a cloud ERP system to your business processes will do more than just streamline data and operations. When properly implemented, cloud software solutions tend to facilitate massive changes within an organization.

For some, this could mean that job functionalities and roles will change. It could even eliminate certain job descriptions altogether. Such changes will impact the culture of your business as well as organizational management.

Without careful consideration or, more importantly, communication, implementing an ERP solution to your business processes may result in significant downtime as your business attempts to integrate ERP into its processes.

Get business-wide support

Careful considerations aside, participation and input from key stakeholders within the business are crucial to facilitating a smooth and successful transition to a cloud ERP system. If key stakeholders such as upper management are not engaged and supportive of the transition, issues may arise that can cause delay throughout the implementation progress.

Input from key stakeholders ensures effective lines of communication ensuring user adoption and acceptance are seamless. Communication is key to eliminating barriers to entry for your new ERP system. This is a critical moment to ensure your new ERP solution successfully integrates with existing legacy systems.

Check references

Integrating an ERP system to streamline and drive revenue growth within your business will require a significant investment. So it’s important that you ensure your business has aligned itself with the right ERP provider. To do this, your business will need references.

When selecting an ERP provider, request a few references from the vendor to inquire about the provider’s services. Alternatively, colleagues throughout your industry may be able to recommend an industry-specific ERP provider that has the experience your business needs. Checking references is the ideal time to find positive and negative feedback regarding the vendor in question.

Growing a business is never easy. But if you’ve successfully managed to scale your business to the point in which it requires a cloud ERP system solution, then be sure to perform the due diligence necessary to adopt the right ERP system for your business needs. Take your time to choose the correct implementation partner and you’ll empower your business to grow with confidence.