Scalability is a term that often pops up during talks about enterprise resource planning (ERP). Despite its frequency in such conversations, some organizations thread the subject lightly. Protecting software investments, however, call for a deeper understanding of this concept.
With over a hundred software options available, finding the right solution proves to be a challenge. Instead of going through them all, some businesses settle with the first ones offered—and that shouldn’t be the case.
From a practical perspective, the search should not stop with just finding the right solution. The ideal scalable software should not just meet your requirements. Rather, it should protect your investment in the long run.
But where do you start?
Defining Scalability First
Software scalability refers to a system’s capability of handling an increasing amount of work and accommodating growth. Operating system giant Microsoft offers another and more relatable definition: “the ability of a system to meet your business needs.”
Scaling a system means upgrading existing hardware or adding another one without implementing many changes to the application. It is also a crucial factor in ERPs; this quality shapes the growth of businesses through streamlined operations and maximized productivity.
Scalability and ERP: The Great Question
Should you set the bar high in terms of scalability success?
While investing in the right scalable software will not immediately catapult your organization to greater heights, it spares you from the following:
- Rejecting opportunities for growth due to limited software capabilities
- Spending beyond the budget to cover for unprecedented ERP system shortcomings
When it comes to evaluating scalability for ERP, answer this question first: “Can my ERP handle the changes that come with growth?”
To answer that question, keep in mind that scalable ERPs should have the following capabilities:
- Effective account management. When businesses grow, so will the customer base. Good ERP systems can handle the drastic increase in accounts. If your software has a limit on data entries, inaccessible to users, or incapable of real-time updates, keeping up with business growth will be a challenge.
- Updated information. Outdated business solution compromises growth. CIOs and business owners will have a difficult time forecasting sales and communicating closed deals if the ERP fails to keep up. Scalable software should produce real-time reports and keep businesses updated often.
- Accessible on all platforms. Can you access the software on smartphones and other gadgets? If not, you limit opportunities in a mobile workforce. ERPs should work on any device for it to be scalable, providing mobility and flexibility for you and your employees.
The Scalable Option?
When selecting a new ERP system, you have plenty of options. Two of the top go-to solutions are cloud-based and on-premise software.
Some firms choose to be traditional by working with on-premise software. Providers locally install this software on your company’s computers and servers. All you need is a licensed or a purchased copy to operate seamlessly and with more control for security.
The cloud, however, may offer better scalability as well as flexibility.
Recently, cloud-based ERP options gained popularity, especially with small- to medium-sized businesses. This option, hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed through browsers, reduces internal IT needs and accommodates growth. Unlike on-premise operations, you need not buy and deploy new servers.
Evaluating ERP scalability can make or break your business’s potential for growth in the future. Selecting the right software can be overwhelming; fortunately, you do not have to make the decision alone.
Panorama is an independent consultant you can trust with ERP concerns. Your business is our business—we help your company blueprint current processes and foresee your future state. In the case of scalability, our team can assist in determining how much you will need and how to measure it.
Take the scalable ERP talk seriously. Let our consultants offer an unbiased outside perspective in your software selection. Talk to us today and see your business grow with the right ERP solution.