Cloud ERP: The smart Choice for Small Businesses and Midsize Companies

This kind of system can probably be found in large companies as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. These complex software solutions manage merchandise management, accounting and many other business processes – no transaction, invoice or customer contact goes past this system.

Is an ERP System Worthwhile for SMEs?

Does it also make sense for small businesses and medium-sized companies to introduce an ERP solution? 

And does ERP software really make everyday business easier? 

Thomas Priemel, ERP consultant at Quantox Technology, shared the most important answers.

Thomas, what does an ERP system actually do?

To put simply, an ERP system – at least a good one – maps all processes in a company, digitizes and simplifies them. From purchasing through accounting to controlling – all data is clearly available in one software.

And what is the difference between ERP and merchandise management systems?

A merchandise management system contains only a part of what happens in the company: namely purchasing, warehousing and logistics as well as sales. In other words, it controls the movement of goods. In some cases, this is quite sufficient. However, it can quickly become confusing if other software is also in use at the same time.

An ERP system manages not only goods, but all resources in the company – resources, finances, and of course personnel. This has the very important advantage, which is that the vast majority of tasks can be performed with the same software – and employees do not have to be familiar with several systems.

For which company size is ERP software worthwhile?

Small companies with a small number of employees can often get by without ERP software – at least that’s what they think. But it can quickly happen that individual employees are busy all day looking for documents, writing invoices and sorting receipts. So, when the manual administrative workload becomes so great that there is no time left for profitable activities – ERP software is worthwhile. 

Another example: a young company on the verge of its first growth spurt – it is not primarily a matter of saving costs and time but of finding a scalable ERP solution that can grow with the company as its core.

What are the advantages of a cloud ERP solution?

Probably the biggest advantage of a cloud ERP solution like Haufe X360 with Saas (Software-as-a-Service) is that companies can simply use the software without having to provide their own expensive servers or IT team. The cloud software runs via apps or web browsers and can thus be operated on almost all end devices. It is always up-to-date, without anyone having to worry about updates. The data can be edited together in real time anywhere, in the company as well as in the home office. 

In addition, a good cloud ERP solution is easily scalable at any time – simply add new products, new customer data, new employees or business processes. The computing power for this is in the cloud. The automation of business processes is also very simple: workflows are available for many standard processes and can be individually adapted. Last but not the least, the costs are transparent and predictable, because companies only pay for what they actually use.

Which ERP systems are suitable for small businesses and midsize companies?

When it comes to ERP systems, many people immediately think of the big, well-known providers. But these are often too complex and costly, as they are usually oversized. The large providers also often do not offer suitable support for small customers. 

For some industries, there are specialized niche products from small software forges, such as for freight forwarders. However, these often leave little room for maneuver if the company does not operate 100 percent as the software envisions or if innovative offers and e-commerce are added. 

My recommendation for small and medium-sized companies is introducing a cloud ERP system from a partner that brings both experience and fresh ideas. At Quantox, we have very good experiences with the cloud ERP solution Haufe X360 as a certified partner. This means that we always advise, implement and support even small companies with a dedicated contact person. If required, we can even implement our own individual features for customers via our software developers.

What about security and data protection with cloud ERP?

Some companies have reservations about cloud solutions – after all, the data is not physically located in the company. However, cloud providers like Haufe offer a plus in terms of availability, data protection and security. This is because the servers are located in a data center in Germany, which, in addition to an uninterruptible power supply, has thorough access controls, fire protection measures and security systems. If one server or data center fails, another takes over – and backups are no more than eight minutes old. 

The cloud solution is 100 percent DSGVO-compliant, ISO 27001-certified and meets all current compliance requirements. Most companies cannot meet such standards for data security and data protection with their own IT – not to mention the IT staff for operation and maintenance. This is also the reason why more and more companies are saying goodbye to “on-premise” solutions, i.e. software on their own servers, and using SaaS instead.

How long does it take to implement an ERP system?

When the keyword ERP implementation is mentioned, some people think of months-long projects with gigantic costs – and entire departments that are unable to work for weeks at a time. In this respect, I can reassure small and medium-sized companies. A project lasting several months might still exist for huge enterprise installations on newly acquired, company-owned servers in corporations. On the other hand, cloud ERP software is usually up and running within two to three months while during the implementation phase, the company remains productive almost continuously: the actual changeover takes no more than one month.

How does the implementation of a cloud ERP software proceed?

As an experienced partner, my team and I implement a cloud ERP system step by step, but quickly. First, we analyze which functions are needed and get an overview of all processes in the company. When all this has been agreed, we create basic data such as units of measurement, currencies, invoice and order types, and master data such as articles, customers and suppliers in the new system. 

Afterwards, we adapt the workflows and interfaces to other systems and software solutions while seamlessly transferring all data from existing systems. In parallel, we train the employees on Haufe X360. And you’re ready to go.

Good advice for SMBs who have concerns about cloud ERP software?

Introducing a cloud ERP system sometimes sounds like more effort than benefit. But once the solution is in place – it offers a host of new opportunities. By automating standard processes such as the processing of supplier invoices, there are many simplifications in everyday business and the people in the company are happier when they can devote themselves to more exciting and challenging tasks. 

As a result, it often pays for after just a few months. In addition, there are different funding options depending on the federal state and the company. We would be happy to provide you with a few helpful tips.

Simplify business processes with Haufe X360 and Quantox!

The 360° business software Haufe X360 combines numerous functions and advantages in one solution. By combining classic ERP core functions with industry-specific and interface-based extensions, you are able to map all business areas on just one platform. As a certified implementation and sales partner of Haufe X360, Quantox will be at your side during the introduction of the cloud-based ERP solution. Our experienced ERP consultants will accompany you along the complete consulting and implementation process and beyond. Let’s Talk more about Haufe X360 at our no-obligations initial consultation and demo.