On the other hand there are products that have disabled unnecessary functionality and sold to small companies at discounted price. You can choose one way or another. Lets review pluses and minuses:
1. Small Business Accounting products. The pluses here are simplicity in implementation and low cost of ownership. It is also easy to find AR, AP and accounting people who are familiar with application if you want delegate these duties. Minuses might be related to proprietary DB platform (the way not to pay royalty to DB software vendors), difficulties in designing managerial reporting (in Crystal for example). Also if you have ambitions to grow your business in the near or midterm future then you will have to switch to something more suitable for midmarket firm. There might be migration tool or data conversion project. In both cases you should expect consulting cost. And also you need to consider that user interface in the future ERP will be different meaning that you have to pay for user training
2. Scaled down Professional ERP products. In 1990th large ERP software vendors such as Oracle and Great Plains Software were fighting for upper midmarket and Fortune 5000 type of accounts. But at the end of the XX century market was probably satisfied and the idea was to go down to smaller businesses and offer them the same application where part of the functionality was greyed out or in other words disabled. Great Plains Software Dynamics was the base for Small Business Manager/Financials. It was still Dexterity application but user interface was simplified and modular principle was deemphasized. SAP decided to choose different approach. They acquired application which was built for smaller organizations from scratch. It was renamed into SAP Business One
3. SAP B1. Initially it was architected in Israel with the emphasis on small and mid-market companies with several people in AP, AR and Accounting. This actually means that it is one step above small business accounting products. This product should allow growth up to maybe hundred users and even expansion internationally as it is available in foreign languages. Lets review recommendations for entrepreneurs on the strategy including future growth
4. SAP BO Starter Package. Here you should see the price comparable to such competing SBA packages as QuickBooks or Peach Tree. Starter Package has limits. The number of named users is limited to five. You will not have such features as MRP, Budgeting, Picking and Packing and others. You cannot modify interface via Software Development Kit. But when you are small all you need are probably General Ledger, Accounts Receivables and Accounts Payable plus maybe Inventory management. All of these are available in Starter Package
5. Future Growth. Lets assume that in five years from now you have to have ten users. Plus you need to automate such processes as MRP (inventory replenishment), add custom integration with EDI channel or ecommerce. All you need to do is switch to full version and enter new reg key. Interface will stay similar meaning that likely it is no cost associated with user training
Lets take and answer several questions from our internet auditory:
Q. We were reading ads in Chicago, Atlanta, New York and other major airport where message was about SAP as software for Fortune 500 companies. This publication is talking about the option for tiny firms running business from home office or maybe even garage..?
A. Ads in airports are probably targeted to top managers of publicly owned companies. Please call SAP office or search Google with keywords SAP Small Business Accounting and you should be able to get proof that it is about people like you
Q. We understand that B1 is good option for our company. Currently we are on Great Plains DOS 9.2. We contacted several consulting firms and they indicated that we will need data export, massage and import into SB1 project. Estimations seem to be high and the level of uncertainty is also high. What would you do in our situation?
A. SAP B1 and Dynamics GP are competitors where we would like to say good words about both of them. It might be a good idea to migrate from GPA DOS to Dynamics GP 2010. In this case you should be able to keep all you master and historical records
Q. We are trying to choose between SAP BO and Microsoft Dynamics GP. We expect to have five users but we need SDK customization options, MRP and Crystal managerial reporting (Customer Statement, Sales Commission and Bill of Lading). What is your advice?
A. Dynamics GP is very popular here in the United States and it has huge selection of add-ons through ISV channel and modules supported by Microsoft directly. Customization and integration tools here are Dexterity and eConnect. Dex is proprietary and it is not friendly to generic programmer. SB1 SDK has code samples in C# and VB which makes it friendly for MS Visual Studio developer. We would recommend you to continue your homework and add additional decision making parameters. Dynamics GP cost of ownership in our opinion is a bit higher. eConnect could be comparable to SDK as it is also Software Development Kit with code snippets in C#, C++ and Visual Basic
Q. We might be a bit out of synch with the auditorium as we have technical question. We hired developer to program integration with PHP/Linux hosted ecommerce shopping cart. He was probably not familiar but indicated that he is enthusiastic about technology and ready to do the job. Six month after we got project in limbo situation. We are experiencing poor performance (we have to wait minutes to open the form) and buggy results
A. Sorry to hear your story. This publication is not intended to be technical or recommended for programmers. Looks like you need second opinion. Please feel free to email us additional details or call us for consultation. See numbers below
Please call us 1-866-304-3265, 1-269-605-4904, [email protected]. We have local presence in Chicagoland, Southern California, Atlanta Georgia, Southwest Michigan, Houston and Dallas areas of Texas. We serve customers USA and Canada nationwide and internationally via web sessions and phone conferences (Skype is welcomed). We are working on Brazilian ERP consulting market in Sao Paulo since 2004
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