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Taryn Cromie, HansaWorld South AfricaTaryn Cromie, HansaWorld South Africa

As the owner of a small or medium company, you’re probably well aware of the growing need to have an integrated business management solution and a Web presence as an integral part of your service offering. This is especially true if you’re involved in the sale of products – whether to end-customers or to trade.

The good news is that enterprise solutions which were once alarmingly expensive and limited to big businesses are today affordable to a far greater cross-section of companies. That certainly applies where enterprise resource planning (ERP) is concerned. Today, even single-user businesses can download and install a system that meets their immediate needs, yet provides a base on which they can grow to as many as 500 users or even more.

It is important to choose a system that provides certain key functionalities. Look for a solution that is userconfigurable. You can download self-installable solutions, which form the basis of what can grow to become a complete ERP system. These solutions feature easy-to-use set-up wizards, which will guide you through the process of establishing a single user account system.

These ‘beginner’ ERP solutions include the ability to integrate a professional Web shop later on, share information electronically within the company, and create a corporate Web site. Even at entry level, these solutions can provide the basis for an e-commerce system that can be accessed from anywhere, that integrates e-mail and online chat, and provides conferencing for sharing documents, publishing news or participating in discussions.

A good fledgling version of a full-scale ERP solution will provide the ability to add further modules and components as business needs dictate, including, for example, a quotation module, customer relationship management, warehousing, logistics, and many more options.

Implementation of a “mini” ERP project by a business owner without significant technology knowledge may sound a little like science fiction, but technology advancements have made sci-fi a reality in many areas, including making ERP accessible even to the SME.

About the author: is sales manager at Hansa- World South Africa.