ERP for Small Business

Posted: 9/10/2009 11:27:49 AM
Having overseen a multi-million dollar installation of SAP, he called Qrimp, "ERP for Small Business."
As Qrimp approaches 400 installations, it feels great to see how many businesses and people we are helping. At the same time, there's still a lot of pain out there in a world where people are buying the wrong software.

I just read an article at Computer World UK called, "Why ERP is still so hard." It's painful, here are some quotes from the article.
Of course, ERP applications can change. But it'll cost you. In customizations. In change and process management. In upgrades. A typical company, notes the CFO study, will spend an average of $1.2 million each year to maintain, modify and update its ERP system.
That's after spending $3 Million to $17 Million to implement it in the first place.
Oracle, for instance, will heavily discount license pricing upfront but will, rest assured, make that up on the backend - from its 22 percent maintenance and support fees, on which it does not negotiate.
I knew when I started my business, I wanted it to run on great software, a robust and flexible platform that could grow and change as my business grows!

So before I got started on my next venture, I started on the software. I saw the benefit that software brings to organizations. All companies of even modest size need software, but it's expensive and can be difficult to maintain. I wanted to solve those problems first so I knew I could manage any information I needed to quickly and easily.

So I ask myself, "Why is ERP so hard?"

I think it's hard because technology is hard. Writing software to manage an entire business is difficult. Everyone wants something different. ERP software is generally written once and sold to many businesses and every business is different. It takes changing of minds and business processes to adapt to large ERP installations.

With a rapid application development platform like Qrimp, the software can be adapted to the business, rather than requiring business and people change -- change the software. Mold the software to the business. On the Qrimp platform, we can build and customize an entire ERP suite of software designed to meet exact business requirements in less time and at lower cost than it would require to purchase and customize an existing packaged system.

Never say Never

The article continues the discussion of hard software.
CIOs, too, can play a starring role in limiting costly customizations, by educating and imploring business managers and users why customisation, in the long run, is often not the better route. But that task is never easy.
I wouldn't say that is true. I think every business is different and every business needs different software. If you don't customize the software, you have to customize the people. You have to change your entire business to suit the software, when it should be the other way around. Adapt the software to the business. Retraining your people to a new business process, takes time. It's a big distraction. Even simple things like changing the names of things can make a big difference.

One of my acquaintances was working for a company about to roll out a popular CRM system and she told me, "I don't have time to learn it. I'm too busy -- we're all too busy. We have to change the way we do everything to use this new software, it's easier to keep it in Excel." I cringed when I heard that. A lot of software decisions like this are made from the top down, just like software is built. In cases like these, slick sales men and women convince the management to buy the software and employees resent it. They know the project is doomed to failure, but no one listens. They think it's easier to adapt their business to the software than to adapt the software to the business. That was true in the past, but not anymore.

The problem with ERP software is that the underlying infrastructure, the code that runs it, is so hard to write. It takes years to write the code to manage an accounting process and then the ERP companies take that same code and sell it to all their customers. If they want to customize the functionality, they have to rewrite the code, which takes months or even longer. Some ERP roll-outs take years.

Qrimp is different

With Qrimp, we build software that runs entire business in just a matter of months -- from scratch. We build the software to match your business processes and your people. It doesn't take years to write software anymore, it takes a couple hours. It sounds too good to be true. It's unbelievable, but what I can't believe anymore is that people are still building software systems the hard way. It's software, why is it so hard?

You can't customize traditional ERP, because upgrades break it

One of the best features of Qrimp is that upgrades don't break your software. The first enterprise system, built on Qrimp almost 3 years ago has been upgraded multiple times and it still works flawlessly. No data has been lost, no additional maintenance time has been spent unbreaking the system -- Qrimp just works.

Traditional ERP breaks, because it was written top down. The ERP company sees a problem like accounting, HR or supply chain and they write a bunch of code to solve the individual problems. Then they piece all together after the fact. But that's the wrong approach.

Qrimp was written from the bottom up

Qrimp is a platform. We spent the first years of R&D building a flexible platform, exactly so that it can be customized. I knew when I architected the system that it was going to have to be agile to support the changing business requirements of a growing company. This is where traditional ERP fails. The ComputerWorldUK article says a lack of flexibility is why many ERP packages fail:
"Companies grow and change, acquiring new business lines and divesting themselves of others. They open new facilities or consolidate operations, add partners or outsource functions, centralise or decentralise the back office. Reporting requirements increase as regulatory bodies heighten oversight and as companies expand across borders.... In short, businesses change, and as they do, so do management's information needs."

Traditional ERP fails, because it can't change. Qrimp was designed to change. That was the #1 priority when building the system -- enable changes to the software.

Hard software stifles business

Business changes and adapts. You don't want our software to be a ball and chain, you want it to be flexible and move with you. Even adding a new menu or changing a column, or adding a column with traditional ERP can take weeks or months. It has to be rolled out and tested and integrated and recompiled and all sorts of other things that most users of the system don't know about or care about and really, why should they? They need to do their jobs and they need to be able to store and track the information effectively.

I love Qrimp, because it grows with us. As we start new ventures, build new websites, attract new customers, implement new features, Qrimp just keeps rolling right along.

If you'd like to learn more about how Qrimp can enable your business to grow, build more revenue, adapt to change and be more agile, please Contact Us! We want to help.