Kiwi SMEs looking to streamline and scale can benefit by replacing their mismatched legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems with the end-to-end, scalable, Microsoft 365 Business Central.
Out with the old . . .
It’s Friday morning and you’re keen to see the latest financials, but there’s traffic on the highway – and when you finally reach the office, you find that the accounting software has fallen over (again) and the IT department can’t fix it without third-party intervention. What’s more, your boss is pushing for that sales analysis you’d promised her last week, but it requires so much manual inputting and error-checking that you know you’ll be doing it over the weekend.
A fictional scenario – but it’s near the bone for a great number of Kiwi businesses that are hamstrung by legacy ERP systems, with their laborious manual processes, and need for constant costly updates and relicensing. Staff waste precious time switching between ‘silo’ systems, such as email, CRM, accounting software, documents and spreadsheets, leading inevitably to error-strewn data entry and messy duplicates. Often, too, these legacy systems are onsite only; remote access is a distant dream.
. . . and into the cloud
Now that Covid has accelerated our shift towards remote and hybrid working – and the corresponding need for cloud systems – many firms are seeking solutions that provide improved business flow, faster and better decision-making, lower overheads, and better employee and customer experiences. While also offering remote access for homeworking staff.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) is an all-in-one ERP system to manage all of your business needs. It is founded on the principle that you need only ‘one source of truth’ – your data is input only once and is then instantly accessible to all departments: management, operations, accounts, sales and marketing, service, and more.
Because BC is cloud-based, users can log on from any device, anywhere, and its seamless integration with apps and other platforms, such as Office 365, means no more switching between silo’ed systems.
"We were looking for an upgraded ERP solution capable enough for our complicated operations, in the cloud. Microsoft 365 Business Central is that solution. We have everything we need in one tool."
— CEO, specialty manufacturing
In 2020, following the first global lockdowns, Microsoft commissioned a Total Economic Impact™ study of Business Central from Forrester Consulting in the USA. Drawing on multiple case studies, it presented a composite profile of a firm of around US$15m turnover and 250 staff. While this is larger than the typical Kiwi SME, the study’s findings bear consideration.
Like our fictional company described above, the study subjects suffered multiple pain points with their original systems: silo’ed and duplicate data, manual processes, insufficient and untimely reporting, security issues and so on.
After migrating to BC, the study subjects noted multiple marked improvements.
Some of these were quantifiable. They could put real dollar figures on an improved flow of operations, a substantial reduction in the need for third-party reporting, and substantial reduction of costs relating to licensing and maintenance (including a reduction in IT staff).
All these factors gave the composite subject a return on investment of 162% over the three-year study period. Most of this derived from a reduction in staff hire, and improved operational flow.
And there were other improvements – not so easily dollar-quantified, but all adding up to a better employee experience (thanks to simpler interfaces, faster and more efficient working) and better customer interactions (such as near-instant response to queries and quote requests), which translated into stronger brand loyalty.
Staff gained greater confidence from real-time reporting and insights; crucially, too, they found it easier to work remotely and flexibly.
“We recently completed our migration to Microsoft 365 Business Central a few months before COVID hit. If we had not, it would have been very bad. People in accounting would have to come into the office, or we would have to set up VPN connections. It would have been a lot of money in a time when we don’t have as much money. A financial hardship for our business, a mental hardship for our employees.”
—Director of IT and operations, direct marketing
Scalable – like your business
Microsoft 365 Business Central is ideally suited to small- to medium-sized businesses in New Zealand, not least because it is scalable, with a choice of full versus team licences that enables your business to buy only the functionality that it needs – whether that’s finance and accounting, or, say, manufacturing and warehouse management as well. Licensing can be scaled up – or down – as required, meaning you can respond quickly to changing circumstances (such as lockdowns).
Let’s rerun that scenario we kicked off with. For a start, you can pull over at a café and log into BC on your phone. You call up the financial figures directly. Next, you pull out the real-time sales analysis on Power BI and run through it before sending the salient points to your boss via Outlook. All without leaving BC, and all before your coffee cools.
Ready to find out more about Microsoft 365 Business Central?
Let Olympic help give you more information, book your discovery call below today.