Are there alternatives to ERP systems for small business in professional services?

This is the second part of a series on ERP systems compared to Abak. Read the first part here.

The ERP is a key element in running a business, and thus, an instrumental part of its success and its development – provided that it is perfectly suited to the needs of the company and has been subject to rigorous implementation steps, taking into account human factors, technical and organizational.

The question here is whether a small business would benefit from a solution best suited to its needs and its resources. Are there such alternatives? A solution that would broadly meet the specifications of an ERP, but not its intrinsic constraints:

  • Duration of implantation
  • Technical complexity
  • Customization
  • Cost.

There is at least one. Abak is a multifunctional business management solution. It allows the management of clients and projects, sets budgets for each project, assigns personnel to perform tasks, automates billing and improves project management through multiple financial reports. In its breadth of functionality it is similar to an ERP, as shown in the comparative table below.

To know more about Abak’s business management features, contact us!

Modules ERP Abak Notes
HR management: time bank x x
Timesheets, expenses x x
Management of employee records x x
Client Management x x
Project Management x x
Resource allocation x x
Budgets x x
Financial project management x x
Application of hourly rates x x
Billing x x
Transfer to accounting x x
Transfer to Payroll x x
Document Management x x
E-mail Integration x x
Purchasing Management x 0 Not required for Abak
Inventory Management x 0 Not required for Abak
Maintenance x 0 Not required for Abak
Subcontractor management x x
Supplier Management x x
Work Orders x x
Multicurrency x x
Project performance management x x
Workflow management x x
CRM x x Abak: Partial with datebook, notes and custom fields
Flexibility of customization x x Variable specifications for ERP, ergonomic for Abak
Quality management x (x) Abak: partial project profitability tracking, standardization of data entry process
Decision making process long short to medium
Implementation duration long short
Initial testing required non required
Customization required unnecessary
Acquisition cost high highly competitive
Financial risk medium non-existent
Training long fast
Technical support heavy medium
Inter-modular flexibility medium high Abak can change accounting system
Mobility variable in progress

To know more about Abak’s business management features, contact us!

Abak or ERP?

The ERP:  An Essential Management Solution

ERP solutions (Enterprise Resource Planning) are now an indispensable tool in the organization of a company. Ensuring the pragmatic management of internal processes, the ERP system contributes greatly to increase the profitability and productivity of the enterprise.  The ERP offers many features and positions itself as a centralizing element; a communication link between different software (CRM, payroll, accounting, etc…) and thus eliminates data redundancy, multiple data entry and errors or inconsistencies between different management systems in place within the company.

The Other Side of The Coin

The process of choosing a solution, its gradual implementation of the solution, testing, and customization have an impact within the company, both in terms of personnel and processes. The time required for the solution to be fully operational alone represents a significant challenge for the company, especially for small business.

Alongside these considerations, there is the financial component, not a negligible element. ERP systems are generally expensive. The introduction of an ERP system, in addition to its price, generates significant associated costs:

  • Time to choose the solution
  • Time and effort for implementation
  • Customization costs
  • Test phase costs
  • Training costs
  • IT infrastructure costs

While many companies are fully satisfied with their ERP system, others, however, find themselves ‘stuck’ in a lengthy and costly implementation process. In some cases, company leaders must face the facts: the implementation of the solution is a failure, and a waste of time and money.

The implementation of an ERP system is not only the installation of an IT solution. Whatever the chosen solution, a constant challenge is time. Business leaders must indeed be patient and plan the implementation of its ERP over several months before it is fully operational, sometimes after multiple adjustments.

Don’t miss the second part of the series: are there alternatives to ERP systems for small business?