SMBs Beware!!!

by Praveen Kurup    Jan 30, 2007

Indian SMBs have now started deploying standard enterprise applications like ERP, CRM and data analytics packages. While a significant number of these are fresh deployments with minimal applications running in their existing setups, quite a few are also migrating from older custom-built environments.

The primary reason for this migration is not just the features available in these standard packages. Indeed, this is not the biggest advantage cited by most of the early adopters.

What seems to be the main driving factor is the overhead involved in extending the feature sets of their in-house apps. In fact, most of them find it difficult to maintain the existing feature sets itself.

Another commonly cited problem is the effort required in culling critical data and sending across reports to their ever expanding customer base, which includes overseas customers with mature IT systems.

While moving on to packages applications might get the development headache off the SMBs, it can put them in some very awkward situations unless they take adequate precautions at the onset of the deployment.

To begin with, SMBs should not take all that the SI / vendor says for granted.

Insist on a pilot; ensure that critical processes are up and running (albeit in a scaled down mode) in this phase. See how quickly they can migrate sample data sets into the new system.

Do not buy into the “best practices” argument. Evaluate what is best for you. In fact, most implementations, even in larger enterprise settings, involve significant customization, sometimes upto 80%!!

And, most importantly, do not take the “connections / interoperability” issues lightly. As far as possible, ask the implementer to demonstrate interoperability with other platforms and applications, at least the ones that are prevalent in your business ecosystem.