Since the beginning of the pc-based accounting/ERP system industry, reasons for looking at and buying new software have changed with the increase in knowledge of the end user and various changes in the business climate.
Looking back to the late 80’s and 90’s (pc-based accounting software started shortly after the first PC’s were introduced in the early 80’s), the main reason at that time was to automate manual process (normally accounting applications such as general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll). Due to lack of automation within small and medium sized businesses, it took many years for companies to move from manual to automated, computer-based systems.
Of course, 1999 was a big year in the software business as many feared the Y2K issue that computers across the world would fail dealing with the change from 1999 to 2000. Many upgrades were done on systems to make them current.
After the Y2K dud, many businesses looked at what else they could do with their systems and focused more on distribution and manufacturing and less on back office accounting. Inventory control, order entry, purchasing and manufacturing were the key issues in selecting a new system.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) was growing at this time as large companies were getting lean by requiring suppliers to accept purchase orders, send shipping notices and invoices electronically instead of by paper.
In the past five years, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) as been the hot topic as companies seek to understand the complete relationship with the customer/prospect from lead generation and qualification to quoting and order entry to customer service and profitability.
As new business needs and customer demands have surfaced, companies traditionally went in search of software to resolve them. Accounting software, Excel spreadsheets, CRM and databases were purchased and created to meet the need. As businesses grew, managing these systems have become time consuming and inefficient. Today, most of the businesses we assist with system selection are looking at taking all these independent and non-integrated systems and finding one system that can handle all aspects of the business including prospects/quoting, order entry and production, inventory management/purchasing and back end accounting/financial reporting.
While the needs of businesses have changed, so has the power and flexibility of software to meet those increasing demands. When the recession hit in 2008/2009, many businesses were forced to get lean with personnel and increase their use of technology to do more with less people and continue to do so today. Ever increasing reliance on process and technology and less on people, technology has become more important than ever to efficiently meet customer needs and provide increased profitability for the future success of the company.
Don’t be afraid of investigating solutions to your defragmented software… unless you are satisfied with double data entry, wasted work hours and applications that are not being used to their full potential. Solutions exist and can be tailored to your exact needs. It all starts with an evaluation of your software usage and needs. Today looks like a good day to get that started.