Another important parameter to keep in mind is ease of use when it comes to your business software. Now, ease of use can mean lots of things and it’s primarily related to the website design but at a more fundamental level it’s also about to what extent the tool can actually get out of the way and let you get things done.
A good example of that not happening is finding yourself either away from the computer or the office and a client or a supplier asking you for specific information that you can only find by looking it up in your system.
Up until relatively recently you would have to make a note, put the asker on hold, look up their information and get back to them - perhaps as late as the next day, if not more. And by then the prospective client might have lost interest or found something else or the supplier might have delayed shipping an item and so on.
Well, not anymore. These days we’re able to cut down on such downtime and bring the request and its resolution much closer - while at the same time making it all much easier.
It’s all about the business software running online (or in the cloud or as a Software as a Service). This means it’s not installed on a particular machine in your office but rather on a server somewhere on the internet and as such you can access it from anywhere you happen to be when a request reaches you, provided you have an internet connection handy.
So, for example you may be at home looking after the kids and also keeping an eye on your business' inventory levels from your desktop at home. Or you can be at an errand somewhere waiting at the queue when a customer calls to ask for a particular item - you can look it up on your mobile and get back to them without waiting to return to the office.
Or better yet, you can be down at your warehouse and processing orders immediately straight from your iPad without having to go back and forth at a desktop at the other end of the floor. Here’s for example how megaventory looks on the iPad
Business software does not need to have a dedicated tablet or smartphone application or sometimes not even a dedicated mobile version. As long as it’s accessible online you should be able to do all the tasks you need from your tablet or your smartphone - after a brief or no learning curve.
Take for example undz.org, a Canadian underwear ecommerce business and a megaventory client with offices in Montreal, Vancouver and New York shipping 250K underwear items in just a year. That averages out to shipping one piece per 2 minutes! It’s not an easy task to reach that scale of business if you haven’t solved issues of accessibility to your business at the best level possible.
“The simple fact of having access to my work desk from anywhere is a must....”
Another example of a megaventory client is tmdesigncorp, a wholesale screen printing service in Rochester. Although a single-location business, given they work wholesale they have often requests from their clients regarding their own customers and little time to lose to address the request. The ability to have readily available a clear image of the state of their inventory is invaluable to delivering results on time.
“When a client calls I can open inventory from any location that has Wi-Fi”
Overall, going for a business software solution on the cloud means being mobile, always on and ultimately more efficient. It is not an exaggeration to say that an online ERP approach is fundamental in fulfilling your business’ potential.