Making a decision to transition to the cloud is a game-changer for small companies, especially for those without strong computing and data engineering knowledge. Yet many companies stall in making the transition due to their fear of new and unknown technologies.
“SMEs need to be aware that digital transformation and cloud disruption has already started in Africa, and the only way to keep up is to not fear change and new technology, but embrace it,” says Aumesh Hurry, NetSuite Sales Director for South Africa and the SADC region.
Challenges for SMEs in 2018
In 2018, small and medium sized-companies must face numerous challenges, such as choosing the appropriate technology to run their business, a lack of assets to find credit, and difficulty in getting access to markets and building relationships with customers, amongst others.
Many such organisations also have difficulty managing their cash flow. In most cases, this is not just about reconciling the bank account. It’s about having a complete understanding of the supply chain, payment terms and many other aspects of business finance.
This understanding requires visibility and to get visibility means reading data. However, we see that many SMEs still don’t know how to handle the large amount of data across the various business functions and fail to get actionable outcomes from it. This makes it even more difficult for them to make good decisions that are based on facts.
In order to conquer these challenges and survive digital transformation, SMEs would need to seriously consider, if they have not already done so, investing in the right technology, says Hurry.
This will help them to be digitally relevant, build resilience, and be ready to reap the benefits as the South African economy recovers.
Having a sustainable solution that delivers long-term strategic success and allows the SME to adapt to changing market demand and customer conditions is key.
In the end, most organisations, regardless of their size and industry, face these same challenges though to differing degrees. However, companies who have made the leap and addressed these challenges with the right technology decisions, have a higher chance of success.
Common mistakes SMEs make in their journey to the cloud
Cloud technology is enabling organisations to take advantage of new technologies in a way that is seamless, practical, and inexpensive. But to get the most out of cloud, companies need to approach the migration correctly.
Many SMEs believe that migrating to the cloud simply means moving applications they have from on-premise hardware platforms to cloud servers. In doing this, SMEs often replicate the problems they had previously and end up having multiple systems in different silos.
Hurry suggests looking at cloud from a different perspective. “Instead of having multiple business applications from several cloud providers that serve and address their different functional needs, SMEs can run most of their business operations from a single unified cloud platform,” he says.
Migrate to Cloud ERP using NetSuite
By providing a pure-cloud scalable platform, NetSuite enables businesses to start small and smoothly transition to the cloud.
NetSuite also offers the possibility to transform the current business processes of SMEs looking to get off the on-premise software treadmill by aligning them with best practices in the industry, says Hurry.
This in itself brings a lot of value and benefit to SMEs as the investment required is relatively low while they get to leverage from the past learning experiences in the industry.
It enables them to focus on core business functions, such as finance, marketing, selling, ordering and financial consolidation, to name but a few, as they run their business.
The NetSuite ERP system encompasses cloud-based financials, CRM, ecommerce software, and business intelligence functionalities – and is engineered to scale with businesses as they grow and streamline critical business processes.
With NetSuite, SMEs are able to track and support the customer journey from early interactions to generating revenue, allowing them to review their pipeline and the effectiveness of their operations.
It also allows SMEs to manage and integrate acquisitions into their business systems, minimising barriers to entry, reducing IT cost, and helping them make the right investments across the market.
“Through our unified system, we provide companies with the right data insight to ensure revenue for business growth,” adds Hurry. “SMEs will also experience intangible benefits such as better executive reporting and business decision making, more agility and flexibility to grow and shrink, as well as security.”
With 20 years of experience, NetSuite and its partners understand the specific requirements SMEs have, and the importance of implementing cloud ERP for small organisations correctly the first time. They follow best practice and respond in real time. The proof is in their renewal rate, which is one of the highest in the market.
This article was published in partnership with NetSuite.