Smothered in ERP? There's an easier solution
Many mid-sized consultancies and advisory firms are tied up by inflexible enterprise solutions. But it really doesn't have to be that way.
For many of us, our daily work is dictated by bulky IT solutions, built to manage the A-Z operations of giant corporations doing everything from shipbuilding to retail.
These solutions were conceived in the 1990s when it was thought clever to build monolithic do-everything-solutions.
And when usability was not the main focus of the software companies.
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If you work in a company with between 50 and 700 employees, there's a good chance you're also working in one of these expensive ERP/enterprise solutions.
It's also likely that both you and many of your colleagues won't find the solutions particularly accessible or user-friendly.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Best-of-breed software vs. ERP systems
Today, there are combinations of IT solutions that are more agile and user-friendly, linking business functions better and solving individual tasks in a much more focused way than the big ERP solutions.
This approach to IT solutions is called best-of-breed software and can be seen as a response to the problems that followed the arrival of ERP monoliths on the software scene in the 1990s.
In this article, you can learn more about best-of-breed software and its advantages over traditional ERP solutions.
And you also get two suggestions for alternative software combinations that could make operations easier for your business.
What is best-of-breed software?
Best-of-breed is software that aims to be the best at solving a limited problem - not trying to solve all problems.
For example, a really good time registration system. Or a system dedicated to contract management. Or an email client like Gmail.
Because best-of-breed software does not try to solve all user needs, the systems integrate with each other. A bit like a jigsaw puzzle, you can build your own software environment.
The only difference is that you - or your team - decide which pieces to include.
You can also say that best-of-breed provides many solutions for many different people in your company, which specifically fit the needs of each person/job function.
In contrast, ERP solutions are based on very few needs, which many people then have to adapt to.
8 benefits of best-of-breed software
- Best-of-breed solutions can be better at solving tasks because they are designed to solve only those specific tasks.
- Individual users or teams can choose what systems best suits their needs. This makes it easier to use. And it ensures that more people actually use the system you invest in.
- It's cheaper than large ERP solutions, and it doesn't have to be tailored to your business - which is expensive. Even though you have to buy several solutions, the total cost is nowhere near that of an ERP solution.
- Always updated. Many ERP solutions are not updated because it is expensive. With best-of-breed, your solution is always up-to-date because updates can be pushed out to all users without customization.
- You're not tied to one vendor dictating your IT landscape.
- You can switch systems at your convenience if one solution doesn't work. In this way, you future-proof an agile business that is not locked into one system/vendor.
- You are less dependent on indispensable super users who become bottlenecks, may fall ill or change jobs.
- You don't need IT consultants running around all the time tweaking your system.
Can you streamline your internal processes at the same time?
Enterprise solutions also have in common that complex (and for most users, somewhat cryptic) processes are often required to operate them.
For example, expense management in several enterprise solutions is a lengthy affair, where you need to enter a lot of information without you getting any value back. Or receipts need to be uploaded in one place, moved to another, and used in a third.
Because enterprise solutions are often not perceived as user-friendly or transparent, and because employees cannot click around and find the answers in the system themselves, a lot of time is spent on training and help using the systems.
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If you take the plunge and go for a combination of best-of-breed solutions, you can avoid some of the complex internal processes that don't create value for you.
A good exercise is to make a list of workflows and then find those that only exist because the system dictates it.
You might be able to tidy up a bit and make everyone's working day more manageable with the change.
2 examples of best-of-breed combinations
Need an overview to get started?
We have put together two examples based on the needs of consultancies and advisory firms to:
- Track time & expenses and manage projects
- Manage salary
- Accounting and invoicing
- And finally, gain insight into the business in updated dashboards
Combination 1# - Microsoft Business Central, Visma DataLøn, Microsoft Power BI and TimeLog Software-combination #1
This mix could be a good option if you want a solution mix that gives you the best of all worlds.
With Business Central, Microsoft has created a modern financial solution attracting more Navision users to the platform. Visma DataLøn offers a lot of automation of the accountant's payroll administration and provides a lot of help and expertise in guidance on legal issues around payroll.
With TimeLog, you get a flexible solution for time tracking and project management that gives you daily control over projects and time. Payroll time is automatically sent to DataLøn, while you can quickly create invoices drafts that are transferred to Business Central.
You can get the visibility you need to manage your business in Microsoft Power BI. TimeLog's open API easily lets you send all your time data here.
Combination 2# - Danløn, Visma e-conomic, GoSimplo and TimeLog Software-combination #2
Danløn is a payroll alternative that helps you make HR administration smarter in one platform.
Like TimeLog, Danløn integrates with Visma e-conomic. Therefore, you can handle all invoicing from the projects you run in TimeLog, as well as VAT reporting and payroll expenses in e-conomic.
If you find Power BI a bit complex and want a simple business overview, GoSimplo is a good alternative. It pulls data from TimeLog and cuts reporting down to the essentials you need.
Piece together the solutions the way you want
The above are just examples of what an IT landscape outside ERP could look like.
They can be combined in different ways, and many other great solutions might be perfect for your business.
Here you can see all the systems TimeLog integrates with.
You can put it together as you see fit, but we're happy to help.
Get a no-obligation (free) consultation where we'll map out your needs and design a hybrid solution.