So, you’ve decided to invest in an ERP system, but now the next question is, which one should you choose? At Neuways, we mainly work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – we believe it is simply the best option for SMEs to centre their systems around.
We caught up with our Senior Business Technology Consultant, Mike Scammells, to find out why he is such an advocate of the Business Central revolution.
Flexibility to expand and grow
One of the great benefits of Business Central is that it comes in two flavours, Essentials and Premium. They’re mostly the same software, but with Premium you can do complex manufacturing and run service desk type functions among other complex processes that you cannot do with any other product.
As far as Business Central is concerned, all businesses have different requirements but the systems can adapt to each business’ needs. Whether you have five people and you’re selling services, or if you’ve got several thousand people within your company and you’re manufacturing complex products, you can adapt Business Central easily.
Whether it’s a cardboard box or a car manufacturer it doesn’t really matter, I think the good thing about Business Central is you can buy a license and it costs you circa £50 a month to run it or you can buy 5000 licenses and it costs you significantly more – everyone is catered for.
Microsoft offer a genuine monthly subscription to its service that make it a flexible ERP system for businesses to use. If COVID-19 had changed how a business worked, temporarily or permanently, then businesses have the ability to say, ‘Next month we need less licences for that department and more for this area of the business’. They’d be able to change subscription easily, which is what businesses need at the moment, the extra flexibility to change and react to the world.
Many of the older ERP companies have annual subscriptions that are far more rigid. They tend to only let you increase your licenses as opposed to decrease, which does not give companies enough flexibility in the world we live in – other companies are racing to keep up with Microsoft.
Enterprise Resource Planning doesn’t describe exactly what an ERP system is. When we talk about ERP systems in the present day, we are really discussing a whole suite of applications that are fully integrated, so they all share the same data. This describes Business Central and its connectivity with the other Microsoft applications perfectly.
For example, when a warehouse takes in a delivery, an employee will receive the items and say, ‘Yes I’ve got these’. The system updates the inventory information upon scanning the item, which tells Finance, ‘This is an asset that you are in possession of’, and these goods are ready to be shipped or sold. The information is shared in real-time and helps to provide one whole view of your business at a point in time. That’s ERP.
The recent addition of Business Central integration into Microsoft Teams, is further indication of the endless number of ways Business Central can be viewed and useful to a business. The ability to clearly see and share information from the ERP side of things to those in the business should not be underestimated.
Familiarity and Security
Within Business Central there are some modules companies don’t immediately see the use for. The options they provide to push businesses forward to achieving their objectives and goals, mean you can start off small and simple, before building up a more complex business system.
If you start with one of the common ‘so-called’ ERP systems that you see advertised on TV, they are quite basic. They’re easy to get started with, but they are basic and there’s no scope for expanding into a bigger, more agile system in the future, so if you start with one of those and your business grows, you have no choice but to move ERP systems – your ERP system is the lifeblood of your business, so that’s a difficult and disruptive move to make.
Business Central literally doesn’t care where you are, it’s irrelevant. Operating a modern cloud-based ERP system remotely is pretty straightforward and provides ultimate flexibility for the business to react and capitalise on external forces.
They are designed to be used in a way that gives flexibility. If a customer that specialised in packaging was expanding quickly and they wanted to be able to move to a bigger warehouse or location, then Business Central helps that process as nothing will need to change to accommodate that.
So, why Business Central?
I would always recommend Business Central to companies, regardless of sector or size because it is so flexible and can be made to be bespoke to whatever a business’ requirements are.
The other fantastic advantage of Business Central is it is a Microsoft product, so it is familiar to end users and integrates with all the existing programmes a company and staff are used to using – reducing implementation hurdles is the key to a successful ERP implementation