Web-Based Business Management Software Best Choice for Growing Businesses
By: Kris Nickerson
With the plethora of business management software solutions available today, how does a small- or medium-size business owner decide where to invest his or her resources? According to Michael Emaus, CEO of eEnterprise (www.eEnterprise.com), a division of NetSuite's global reseller Skyytek Worldwide, there are basically three choices: custom applications, client-server applications, and on-demand Web-based applications. "The cost benefit analysis leaves no doubt that on-demand solutions provide the greatest integration and cost efficiency for growth-oriented enterprises," he says.
"Customized software that is designed either in house or by developers for a specific business is extremely costly, in terms of development and hardware, and for maintenance," says Emaus. He notes that, more importantly, such applications are not designed to adapt as the business grows, and so business owners are saddled with costly upgrades. "Small- and medium-sized businesses simply don't have the resources to develop and maintain custom applications," Emaus adds.
Client-server applications, which are typically licensed to a business, are also problematic. "Invariably, business owners are faced with the challenge of having several different applications that can't 'talk' to one another," says Emaus. Without seamless integration, owners have no way to, for example, cross-reference accounting and customer service data or company information and e-commerce. "This results in a hodge-podge solution that doesn't give an enterprise the information it needs to grow," he adds.
Growth is one of the two primary differentiators between Web-based on-demand business management software applications and its cousins. "On-demand solutions such as NetSuite represent a paradigm shift in the way business owners manage their customer, vendor, or partner base," says Emaus. "NetSuite is not an application that 'supports' an existing business, but rather is one dedicated to 'growing' a business. Because it has four fully integrated components, it's both highly scalable and highly customizable."
The second major differentiator between NetSuite and other business management software options is that it is all functionality is available virtually instantaneously. "When we talk to business owners, we don't have to spend their time or resources talking technology," says Emaus. "NetSuite has taken care of that. Instead, we can talk about the individual company's business goals, growth potential, and workflow."
Lastly, the total cost of on-demand over a five-year period is substantially less than either customized or client-server applications. "Business Owners who think of on-demand as their most efficient, most productive, long-term employee" concludes Emaus, "have the most success. In the past, business owners have not been able to consider Information Technology as a profit center. NetSuite makes it possible, but you have to rethink everything."
© 2006 Kris Nickerson. All rights reserved.