ERP, Enterprise Resource Planning has gained popularity all over the world and ERP systems are the backbone of any modern organization. But ERP systems are not just restricted to big organizations and they’re also used within the small-scale industries. Small scale industries, as per the definition, have less than ten thousand employees and they need ERP systems that can manage the small volume of business. In other words ERP does not have to be restricted to big and reputed organizations only.

In Malaysia, too, many small scale industries have ERP systems. They have developed their own ERP system and although there are many similarities and differences between both of these systems, there are also some major differences. The government of Malaysia has taken plenty of time in deciding the future course of organization charting and it is due to this exact same reason the government is attempting to develop its own ERP system. There are two types of ERP system – ERP based on Microsoft Windows platform and ERP based on the Java platform. But the choice between both of these systems depends on the local scenario of the company or the requirement of the business.

Microsoft Windows ERP applications has been widely acclaimed and is used by almost all large and medium scale companies throughout the world. Though a number of companies have switched to Windows since it provides better compatibility with many third-party programs and so forth. Many experts feel that if ERP software is to be used by the small businesses, then it would be better to use open source ERP software that has many advantages such as multi-tenancy, open development environment, high scalability, minimal cost, access to new extensions and so forth. However, the consumers of these open source ERP applications has to be sure about the licensing agreement, they cannot just run the system with no consent or other legal obligation. Even though there are many advantages of using such open source ERP software, it is expensive compared to Microsoft Windows ERP software.

The second option is to use either Blackberry software or Apple iPhone based smartphones for accessing the ERP system from a remote site. This can easily be achieved by hiring a telecommuting staff who will act as an intermediary between the company and the ERP software. In this manner, many benefits are obtained by the company concerning cost saving, decrease in time and travel, productivity enhancement, availability of latest software upgrades etc.. However, you can’t afford to hire such employees whose charges will be three times more than the cost of a Windows ERP software.

Another option available for many companies is to use web enabled ERP software that is not installed in the computer system on the local level. A number of companies have made their web portals in a bid to enhance the online image of the company. In cases like this, the system needs to be obtained from remote locations and can be operated from either a laptop or mobile device. Such systems need a lot of customization and hence the cost will be bit higher. However, it is going to supply you with the basic features of a conventional ERP system without the high costs and without compromising on the required functionality. All the contemporary ERP packages come with various other features that make them attractive to many companies.

There is another option available to organizations if they want to save money and yet can receive all the required features of ERP software. In this case, they can opt to use Windows servers for ERP system or hosted applications from third-party vendors. This will enable them to use their existing network infrastructure for accessing the ERP software without any extra expenditure.

Even if you’re planning to purchase ERP software from third-party vendors, you should ensure that the expense of implementation is minimal. This is one aspect where many companies get into trouble. When they buy the software, they think that it will be installed in their entire infrastructure with no additional costs. In fact, many businesses find out to their cost disadvantage later when they have to spend a lot on ERP hardware, software and other maintenance costs. So, before buying any software from vendors, make sure you don’t fall into this snare.

Enterprise resource planning software is an essential component of any business today. If your organization is still running without one, now’s the ideal time to equip yourself with you. As a business person, you want to weigh the benefits that have an ERP system against the cost of implementation. If you think the complete cost of implementing an ERP is lower than the cost of buying the software, you should definitely buy one for your company.