One advantage big business usually has over SMBs is the ability to buy whatever the software they need all at once so that it's it fully integrated into one organized system. Small businesses, on the other hand, tend to have tighter budgets and buy software as the need arises.
They typically end up with a piecemeal effect. The various programs work individually, but they aren't integrated so there's less efficient data sharing and communication between various departments.
SAP wants to address that issue and today announced that the latest version of its SAP Business One will offer new features including integrated materials requirement planning (MRP) and enhancements to its CRM capabilities.
On the MRP side, companies will be better able to oversee and control business, forecast customer service, manage material planning and create custom scenarios. The CRM improvements include a fully integrated calendar for scheduling sales, service and meetings.
Companies will also be able to track and report on sales activities. Plus, the software integrates with Microsoft Outlook letting companies synchronize scheduling, contacts and tasks.
According to company spokesman, Jim Dever, SAP wants to provide SMBs with a single software solution so that they no longer have to manage many different, unrelated applications.
"For the first time, SMBs will find all the software they need in one program. This will provide connected visibility across the whole company" says Dever.
"For example," he continues, "let's say your sales team has a deal in the works, but closing it would mean exceeding a company-set price limit. Business One lets you set alerts. Entering the sale into the program would activate an e-mail alert, and the person who can approve the sale receives an e-mail and can respond in real time. No more managing after the fact."
Dever points out that the latest version of Business One is not meant to have A-Z functionality for every business. "It provides the core tools they need, he says. "Independent software vendors (ISVs) will be able to create versions with capabilities specific to particular vertical industries."
Choose Your Database
The new version of Business One lets you work with the database platform of your choice, including these new additions:
|Visualize your sales pipeline: SAP Business One's CRM features are designed to allow you better track and chart your sales leads.|
• Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE)
• IBM DB2 Universal Database (UDB) Express edition
• Microsoft SQL Server
SAP Business One is geared for SMBs with 10 250 employees. The license costs $3,750 per user. Existing customers will receive the upgrade as part of their standard maintenance agreement.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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